Social Inclusion awards ceremony at Miller Technology High School (December).

On the 6th of December Frances Clarke, Michael McDonnell and Bridget Neave visited Miller Technology High School on behalf of the University’s Social Inclusion in Humanities Program. Miller Technology is a unique school as 40% of its students are refugees.
The attendees partook in the Stage 6 humanities awards afternoon. The essay winners of the year 11 mentoring program were Wasan Al Zuihari for first prize and Dylan Demerovich for second prize. They had investigated gender roles in Spartan society and Julius Ceaser, respectively. The winners were recognised by the department representatives, their teachers and peers. They were congratulated by Mike and Frances and awarded with bookstore vouchers. The winner for best presentation, Dylan Demerovich, gave his presentation on the life of Julius Caesar to the gathering.
Mike and Bridget followed with short presentations on the value of tertiary education, the challenges that face first in family/low ses students, and how students can find support and opportunities.
The day ended with afternoon tea and the opportunity for the visitors to talk with the students. It was enriching and challenging to learn about the life experiences and future plans of the diverse group of students. Mike, Frances and Bridget all reflected on the infectious enthusiasm and ability displayed by the students in their studies and towards tertiary education.
Unfortunately, Miller Technology has a very low rate of sending students to the University of Sydney. Tony Podolsak, headteacher of history, spoke anecdotally of students giving up places at USYD due to not knowing anyone who had gone there and a perceived lack of support they would have. Barriers like this are what the Social Inclusion unit seek to challenge with the Year 11 Mentoring Program.
A big thanks to our partners at Miller Tech, especially Tony Podolsak, who make the Social Inclusion visits so meaningful to both the students and staff involved.
For anyone interested in being more involved with social inclusion in history and becoming part of the committee for 2018, don’t hesitate to email the project manager Bridget Neave at bnea3448@uni.sydney.edu.au.
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By Bridget Neave

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