Since he came to NGC last year, Tyler has been a natural leader. As one of our Year 12 students and a member of our Leadership Team, he is a role model for younger students and demonstrates what can be achieved with hard work, determination, support and self-belief. But school wasn't smooth sailing for Tyler before he came through our gates. He was regularly experiencing conflicts with staff and students, which left him disengaged, distracted and often unsupported in the classroom. As a result, his academic progress stalled and he also found himself getting into trouble outside of school, including contact with Juvenile Justice. After a former teacher made an effort to introduce Tyler to NGC, things started to turn around and soon, he was thriving in our practical learning environment. His performance in English and Maths has improved by leaps and bounds, which Tyler attributes to his increased engagement and the 1:1 support he has been able to access. "With so many other kids in my old class, I felt like I couldn't get help and then I'd tune out, get bored and muck up. It was like a cycle. I ended up in the back of the room doing work that was more for way younger kids. It wasn't until I came here that I started getting A's in Maths and doing Year 12 work. The size of classes make a big difference because you can sit with the teacher and there's also a teacher's aide there to help you with your work and assignments."
Tyler has enjoyed the opportunity to challenge himself through vocational education and training. His pragmatic problem-solving makes him a great fit for our Construction cohort and he has mastered a wide range of technical skills that will prove transferrable to his future employment. Right now, he is contributing to the whole-class project of building an outdoor entertaining area. Beyond his skills and work experience, we have been impressed with Tyler's maturity, as he has shown the ability to reflect on and regulate his behaviour and a willingness to take responsibility. He has benefitted from positive staff and peer role models and in turn, he is always available to talk to a younger student that might be going through a tough time. As well as regularly seeking support from our Student Enrichment team, Tyler also enjoyed an externally-facilitated program delivered by Top Blokes. This provides a safe space to discuss issues that affect young men like healthy relationships, self-esteem, peer pressure and substance use. "Since I came to NGC, I've been working on controlling my temper and not holding onto stuff. The teachers really support you with whatever you're working through. They get that sometimes when you act out, it's not because you don't care but because you might be going through something. Same with the other students - we all sort of get where everyone is coming from because most of us have had the same life experiences. Top Blokes was good because we could talk about 'men's business'; there was no judgement and we shared stuff that we were dealing with and had each other's backs." While he is committed to working hard, Tyler loves opportunities to get outside and visit new and exciting places. As one of NGC’s Aboriginal students he was a keen participant in the Cultural Ghost Tour at Barangaroo and has responded well to our 'Rewards Excursion' incentive, where students can attend an end-of-term event (like the Easter Show or a laser skirmish) if they have no suspensions and a consistent track record of positive behaviour. While he missed this kind of face-to-face interaction during the peak of COVID-19 restrictions, Tyler recalls that everyone bonded together as much as possible and that he even took part in online meditation hosted by our school counsellor to keep himself mentally strong.
When asked if he would recommend NGC to other young people, Tyler replies with a resounding yes. "Without NGC, I wouldn't be in school right now. I'd probably be in lock-up and would have left before Year 10. But now, I actually want to go to class, I'm on track to get my HSC and I'm showing younger kids what is possible. I have had a fresh start and there's no way I'm going to mess it up. If anyone else was in a similar position, I'd tell them to come to NGC because it's different to any other school. You get proper help and it's a great place to be."