When you talk with former NGC student Jasmine, you immediately recognise that this young woman has creativity and compassion in spades!
As a NG Central alumni and our 2020 School Captain, she was an excellent role model for her peers and continues to exemplify our school values to this day. But Jasmine says she didn't always have the drive and determination to chase after her goals. Throughout her early years in a mainstream high school, she often struggled to understand the work set by her teachers. It was easy to feel discouraged because she couldn't access additional support and sometimes felt forgotten amongst the many other students.
After coming to NG Central at the start of Year 10, Jasmine felt a real transformation in how she was able to learn, as she began to recognise the academic potential that was right at her fingertips.
"At my mainstream school, it was tough to feel motivated when I wouldn't understand the assignments. But NGC was so different from the beginning. I liked the smaller class sizes because you could easily ask questions. The way they broke up the day with excursions and hands-on activities made it easier to stay focused. Most of all, the teachers and support staff were doing their best to help you learn. It always felt like they really wanted you to achieve your goals and were cheering you on."
Jasmine made rapid improvements in her classroom learning, which culminated with sitting for her English, Maths and Retail HSC exams! But it was Photography, Video and Digital Imaging where she really came alive. With a natural talent behind the lens, Jasmine enjoyed learning new techniques, heading out to interesting sites and snapping portrait, landscape and still-life shots.
One of her greatest achievements in 2020 was her entry into Mental Health Art Works!; an inaugural photography exhibition for people whose lives have been affected by mental illness. Using creative expression is not only healing on a personal level, but it invites the community to engage with mental health issues in ways they may not have previously. Excitingly, Jasmine was awarded 1st Place in the Young People category!
"I was very proud of my entry for the Mental Health Art Works! exhibition, which showcased all the positive and negative comments you can deal with as a young user of social media. Social media definitely has a massive impact on how we feel about ourselves and our mental health, so I thought it was an important conversation in a creative way."
Jasmine also benefited from NG Central's focus on vocational education and training, selecting Retail as her HSC V.E.T subject of choice. She was able to learn about cash handling, customer service, floristry, and hair and beauty skills in our onsite salon and participated in work experience with Chemist Warehouse in Gosford. During her 5-day placement, Jasmine learnt about stock and merchandising, even getting the chance to make her own display.
Another opportunity Jasmine grabbed with both hands was becoming one of our 2020 School Captains. Despite COVID interruptions, she was very proud to take up this responsibility and helped facilitate multiple gatherings, including the end-of-term Presentation Day. The way Jasmine performed her role was testament to the strong relationships she formed with her peers and teachers.
After struggling with making friends at her previous school, she found a strong support network that she still keeps in contact with today. Similarly, when some tough life events meant that she had to relocate to Sydney during her HSC year, Jasmine was able to lean on the help of NGC support staff, including the school counsellor.
"If you had asked me before attending NGC if I would graduate Year 12, I would have laughed! It was such a big personal achievement for me and I couldn't have done it without the help of the staff. I received so much help from everyone (even if it was not about their specific teaching subject) and that encouraged me to keep striving to do my best."
Jasmine now has her eyes set on the future, as she continues to seek out retail employment in Sydney. In the meantime, she is assisting at her mum's accounting practice and trying her hand at business administration. We have no doubt Jasmine will tackle this next life chapter with the same enthusiasm she has shown throughout all her years at NG Central.