Year 12 of 2020 has now finished, with the official Tumut High School muck up/dress up day held last Friday.
Principal Don Dixon addressed the crowd of brightly coloured characters, encouraging them to enjoy themselves while they raised money for the Black Dog Institute.
“We very much try to send you guys off in Year 12 with this notion that you are celebrating your 12 years of education with your friends,” he told the group on Friday morning.
“It’s so important that we acknowledge the three key players in your education, it’s your friends – which are crucial – staff and your families.”
The Year 12 farewell this year will be held in the Tumut High School hall, with catering from the senior hospitality class. Due to Covid-19, parents and guests won’t be able to attend.
“We hope that day you guys will organise to go out with your family, to go out with your closest mates and maybe have a meal on that particular night.”
The school-based farewell will still be a formal dress up event.
“You’ve matured phenomenally,” said Mr Dixon. “You are not the same people that started in Year 7, you are not the same people that started Year 11 and really, you’re not the same people that even started at the beginning of Year 12. It’s just amazing how much you guys grow in the space of the last six months.”
The 65 senior students will have their formal assembly next term on Friday, October 16, but classes are complete and only the formal HSC exams remain.
On Friday, the students took part in the honoured THS Year 12 tradition of costumes and fundraising and they introduced a tradition of their own. The students created 33 awards to give to each other, voting on various categories such as: Most Likely to Become Prime Minister (Lori Webb), Most Likely to Work for NASA (Corey Crain), The One We’re Most Proud Of (Daniel Hibbens) and Most Likely to Win the Lottery But Lose The Ticket (Abbie Gilchrist).
The students chose to fundraise for the Black Dog Institute this year after classmate Ethan Day lost his life to suicide in November 2019.
Ethan attended THS until the end of 2018. Abbie Gilchrist said it felt especially important to fundraise for mental health this year.
“It’s probably something that’s a bit close to all of us in that we lost a student who was in our year, who went to school with all of us all through high school until the end of Year 10 and he was really good friends with literally everyone in the year,” she said.
“There’s other connections with everyone in the year with more personal things as well. It was just appropriate.”
Miss Gilchrist said the students have been well supported, while classmate Michelle Luff said they’re hoping to support the Black Dog Institute in continuing to reach out to rural areas.
“So the organisation has the tools to come to smaller rural towns like ours to help the wider community,” she explained.
The pair hoped their fundraising would be used towards counselling and support groups.
“I just didn’t really look at mental health as such a serious matter [before Ethan’s death],” said Miss Gilchrist.
“You don’t realise that even people that may look to be perfectly fine really aren’t. It’s just really changed [my perspective]. You’ve got to worry about everyone, not just the quiet people, everyone.”
“You don’t realise the impact that suicide can have until it’s actually a part of your life,” added Miss Luff.
After hearing from Principal Dixon and Year Advisor Jo-Ann Stroud, the group of students headed downtown to pass out flyers with information about their online fundraiser. As of Monday, they had already raised close to $4000 online and were hoping to beat last year’s Year 12 fundraiser of nearly $4500.
Donations can still be made online via https://www.teamblackdog.org.au/fundraisers/year12tumuthigh2020.
If you or anyone you know needs support with their mental health, there are multiple organisations which are available by phone and online.
Phone: 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days)
Text: 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight every night)
Online: https://www.lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat (7pm – midnight, everynight)
Phone: 1300 22 4636 (24 hours/7 days)
Phone: 1800 650 890
Phone: 1800 18 7263 (10am-10pm, Mon-Fri.)
Phone: 1800 55 1800