Year 9: the third year of my secondary education. It was certainly one of the most challenging years of my life on a social scale. It was the height of young men and women jostling for fame in the schoolyard, and seeking to get rid on anyone who got in their way.
I was however, lucky enough to enjoy a string of good teachers. My English Teacher was Ms. Philips, who taught The Hunger Games, Of Mice and Men and Looking for Alibrandi. I loved studying any book under her for she taught her class with such passion. My maths teacher was Ms. Schlegel, and whilst I still wasn’t the best student at maths, she did everything in her power to ensure I felt as comfortable as possible in her class.
My humanities teacher was Ms. Farley, one of the most passionate people on the subject I’ve ever met. I would constantly impress her and the rest of the class with my knowledge. For science, I had Mr. Blakis. Let’s just say we got up to a lot of fun, including eating Scotch Finger biscuits for a taste experiment and blowing up old Milo containers for you guessed it – the purpose of chemistry.
PE and health was taught under Mr. Braknys, and whilst I wasn’t the biggest fan of the subject that year, it would eventually become my main subject and area of interest for the rest of high school. We also had the R3 Program, under Mr. Dossor which was all about improving us as global citizens. We took plenty of excursions in that subject, especially to the city, where I unfortunately got lost one day when my phone battery died. That was so scary for a 14 year old!
My three electives that year were Cooking, Drama and Italian. Again, I had the lovely Ms. Blease, whom once again, had the patience of a saint in dealing with my dismal cooking skills. Drama was under Mr Hewitt, and I remember performing in my one and only performing arts production, a carefully written piece by another student about climate change. I’m also so proud of myself for taking that extra year of Italian, as I would eventually become quite fluent, under Ms. Monforte.
Whilst I enjoyed the academic aspect of the year, the social aspect wasn’t as great. It was very hard to fit into the social cliques that would remind someone of the film Mean Girls. However, I was lucky to have much resilience in me to not really consider the popularity contest a necessary part of my life and even if I did get bullied or teased around, I had the lowest of tolerance for it.
2016 was also the year I began my netball career, and in my first year alone, I was picked to represent the school on the boys netball team. Whilst we didn’t play the best and even copped a big spray from coach Ms. Shaw, we still made it to the next round on default. There was much stigma against boys playing a girls sport, but again I refused to be bound by ridiculous social standards.
If there is one lesson I can take out of this year, it’s that it was so important to be my authentic self. Whilst it would still be a couple of more years for this to actually kick in, it would form a vital component of my growth as a person and I couldn’t be prouder that it was my experience in a powder keg schoolyard that allowed this admirable trait to grow.