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Warakirri College opens in Campbelltown

The new campus opens its doors to young students looking to complete their Year 10 and Higher School Certificate (HSC) studies and offers a safe, inclusive and progressive environment for growth.

Warakirri College’s new Campbelltown Campus is now officially open! Along with newly set up classrooms, offices, huge student kitchen and beautiful areas for relaxation, we have nearly 50 students currently enrolled. 

“The school is much more than the building,” says Carolyn Blanden, Principal of Warakirri college. “It is our students and our staff whose dedication, contribution, initiative and collaborative efforts have brought us this achievement.” 

“We see Warakirri Campbelltown as an asset for this community. It is a place that is welcoming, safe and engaging for young people who want to complete their secondary schooling but need a small, individualised, flexible learning environment,” Mrs Blanden added, welcoming all the parents, friends and representatives of the community organisations who joined the celebration. 

She was joined by Rhonda Thearle, the new Head of Campus of Warakirri Campbelltown, who previously worked in Independent schools and served as the former Head of the ALESCO school in Wollongong. Having worked with disengaged young people dealing with challenging life circumstances, Rhonda’s leadership experience will prove to be tremendous asset to the College in its the new campus.

The opening was officiated by Campbelltown Mayor, Cr. George Brticevic who spoke about the benefits for the community in the Campbelltown area. “The best thing about the school is that students who would otherwise be disengaged from school get to develop their skills and complete their secondary schooling in a positive environment. Thanks to the efforts of Rhonda Thearle and the committed staff and faculty here, young students have the best opportunity and state of the art facilities to realise their dreams.” 

Rob Campbell, Chairman of MTC Australia who represented the Board and staff of MTC described how large traditional schools sometimes have difficulty in helping disengaged and disadvantaged students to get the education they need and desire.

“Not every student learns the same way,” he said. “Some like to work with their hands more, others may prefer to learn through language and literature. A small school can be more responsive to individual needs of each student. Warakirri College aims to help these students get the best possible learning platform in a caring, collaborative environment. It fosters the existing skills of students and gives them the best possible chance.” 

The school is recognised by the government as a Special Assistance School, one of 40 such schools in NSW.

“When you think of independent schools, usually the picture that may come to mind is that of large sandstone private schools with all the frills and trimmings,” says Caraline Cloke, representative of the Association of Independent Schools, NSW. “The truth is, a large number of independent schools typically have less than 300 students, providing great diversity and choice of opportunity to students and their families, supporting them in their different needs.” 

The students are just as excited at the prospect of having these facilities and find the care and attentiveness of the teachers and faculty a welcome change from mainstream schools.

Chloe Graham, Student

“I like it a lot better here because the classes are much smaller. There are not too many people in my class so I’m not getting distracted as much,” says Chloe Graham, a year 11 student who had a difficulty fitting in, in her previous school as she suffered from anxiety.

“Here, when I get nervous, I know I can talk to a teacher and they will let me leave the room for a little bit, so I can take the time to calm myself or go speak to a counselor. The teachers here care a lot more, like they want you to benefit personally.”

Many of the students come in from different sources. Another year 11 student, Nicholas Simpson, came to Warakirri college through Opportunity Hub.

Nicholas Simpson, Student

“When I first came here, I assumed it would be a behavioural school, but it’s not really,” he says. “A lot of the kids here are very social, not at all aggressive. This school builds our confidence and self-esteem. I had anxiety and used to be really shy before but when I came here, people really understood me and I made a lot of friends, and my anxiety just eased away.”

Nicholas likes Math and English, but he also enjoys working with his hands. He is keen to complete his education and become a boiler maker. “It requires a lot of concentration and hard work. It calms me down.”

Evelyn Ricketts, Student

“I heard about this school from one of my mom’s friends who tagged her on Facebook and that got us researching about our options,” says Evelyn Ricketts, another year 11 student who feels the school has helped her develop her public speaking skills tremendously. She sees herself studying social sciences after graduating or perhaps becoming a nurse who can help teenagers dealing with mental health issues.

She has positive words of encouragement for other young students dealing with challenging situations. “If you’re in school and don’t feel okay or have mental health issues, you can feel excluded. But you should know that you are strong, and you can choose other pathways feel happy and motivated.”

The name ‘Warakirri’ means ‘to stand and grow’. The college is committed to supporting young people in achieving their goals by developing their skills and boosting their confidence, and offering them every opportunity to reach their potential.

We welcome students and their family members to explore our campus. If you wish to schedule an appointment to speak with our staff, get in touch with us at (02) 9914 3250.

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