Celebrating the Launch and Expansion of the 2024 HSC History Extension Mentoring Program

This November the History discipline celebrated the successful launch of the 2024 History Extension Mentoring Program, a key component of our Social Inclusion Program (click through for more info). More information about the program is available. Building on the success of our collaboration with Corowa High last year, we expanded our reach with a conscious effort to support regional and rural schools. As a result, we welcomed three new partners from regional NSW: Bomaderry High, Hastings Secondary College, and Gloucester High School. In addition to these new participants, we had two metropolitan returnees—Cecil Hills High and Canley Vale High. Following our successful launch, we are excited to see how a diverse range of interests and perspectives will develop into amazing History Extension projects.

This year we hosted three separate launch days to meet the various needs of our schools. We kicked off on November 16th with the Cecil Hills students and their enthusiastic teacher, Joshua Banks, coming to the University of Sydney campus. The students met their mentors, explored classic campus spots, and engaged in unstructured discussions with our academic team. On November 22nd, we conducted a Zoom launch with two of our new regional schools, Gloucester and Hastings, located along the Central and Northern NSW Coasts, respectively. Special thanks must go to the teachers Skye Sylvester and Lucy Neville for their hard work and initiative in bringing their students to our program! Our final launch on November 30th brought together Canley Vale and another new partner, Bomaderry High School, from the NSW South Coast. This third session went well despite the challenges posed by end-of-term assessments. We want to acknowledge the flexibility and dedication of each school’s teachers, Sue Neferis and Natalie Langley, who were critical in helping this session go ahead.

All three launches were attended by our academic team—Michael McDonnell, Niro Kandasamy, and James Findlay—who met the students, teachers, and our wonderful batch of mentors. James and Niro delivered a helpful presentation for the extension students titled ‘Turning Interests into Questions,’ exploring the surprisingly difficult process of transforming general interest into a tight question for historical interrogation. After these presentations, we broke the mentors off with their mentees, who reported many productive and friendly conversations. They exchanged emails and shared resources. Now, we look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the coming months!

We have several sessions moving forward, the next of which is scheduled for February in the new year. Until then, we want to express our gratitude to everyone involved in helping launch the program this year! Most importantly, we want to thank this year’s cohort of mentors for the enthusiasm, intelligence, and compassion they have brought to the program so far.

We look forward to seeing you all in the new year!