The Auracle – Volume 38, December 2019

From the Principal’s desk

The final edition of The Auracle for 2019 comes with my sincere thanks to students, parents, staff and our many corporate partners, for the part each of you has played in ensuring Aurora v0.5 was a great success.

This year has been one filled with many wonderful achievements and, once again, it is with admiration and great pride that I reflect on the many successes of individual students, but also on the collective successes of the college and its community. Be assured that the years ahead hold even greater promise, as we provide access to a growing range of curriculum opportunities for students in rural and remote NSW.

As all educators know, a common characteristic of great schools is the high expectations they have of their students. Each of the Semester 2 prize winners listed here have responded magnificently to the high expectations their teachers have of them, and they have produced outstanding results.

Annual prizes were awarded for academic achievement and for success attained via the college’s merit system. Prizes included the:

  • First in Course Award – the recipient achieved first place in the subject in his/her cohort
  • Academic Excellence Award – the recipient achieved first place in the subject in his/her class
  • Academic Achievement Award – the recipient showed sustained application and effort in the subject
  • Principal’s Award for Academic Excellence – the recipient achieved an aggregated top ten place in their cohort
  • Galaxy Medal – the recipient showed ongoing commitment to achieving academic excellence in all subjects
  • Stellar Award – the recipient received the required number of Astra awards through the school merit scheme.

On 2 December, partner schools received certificates and/or medals for all prize winners. I would like to thank our colleagues for presenting these awards, as intended, at the end of year presentation assemblies across the state. Congratulations, to all our bright lights!

This week, we said goodbye to a number of staff who, for a range of personal and professional reasons, will not be returning to Aurora in 2020. I would like to acknowledge and thank the following staff for the many contributions they have made to our school: Sharon Davis (Science); Erika Dayaganon (Agriculture); Amy Dennis (Science); Michael Kelly (Science); Karen Wallwork (Science); Karen Bellamy (Mathematics); Amanda Manson (Mathematics); Sandra Sievers (Mathematics); Gregor Newton (English); Karla Olmos (English) and Zoe Smith (English). I know I speak for the entire Aurora College community when I wish our departing colleagues all the very best in their future endeavours. Remember, Aurora College is part of our shared professional legacy and each of you can be proud of your contribution to the state’s first virtual school.

As we prepare for the year ahead, I am pleased to report that Aurora’s remarkable growth continues. The new school year will commence with approximately 400 Aurora students, shared with 114 schools across rural and remote NSW. To put these numbers into perspective, this represents an increase of approximately 180% on the number of students enrolled at the start of 2015, our first year of operation.

To accommodate the increase in enrolments in 2020, a state-wide expression of interest process concluded recently with the appointment to Aurora of 14 new members of the teaching staff. I would like to congratulate and welcome to Aurora College: Cathy Crouch (Mathematics, Lisarow High School); Marnie Etheridge (English, Kanahooka High School); Renee Hall (Science, Forbes High School); Gillian Halstead (English, Canowindra High School); Raymond Happ (Geography, Coonamble High School); Kerryn Ibbott (Physics, Sydney Boys High School); Alison Lee (Mathematics, Denison College of Secondary Education, Bathurst High Campus); Raymond Montalban (Software Design and Development, Arthur Phillip High School); Courtney Rintoul (English, Willyama High School); Anne Vogelnest (Economics, Ulladulla High School) and Jason Webb (Science, Northlakes High School). Joining the casual teaching staff at the coordinating office will be Meutia Goodwin (Mathematics) and Alicia Townsend (Science). Welcome, colleagues!

To give the majority of our students the opportunity to take part in orientation activities at their home school, Aurora College classes:

– for SECONDARY students in the:

  • Eastern division commence on Friday 31 January 2020
  • Western division commence on Friday 7 February 2020.

– for PRIMARY students in the:

  • Eastern division commence on Monday 3 February 2020
  • Western division commence on Monday 10 February 2020.

Coursework will not commence until students in the Western division start the school year. Students in class before Friday 7 February 2020 (Secondary) and Monday 10 February 2020 (Primary) will undertake an orientation and revision program with their Aurora College teachers. Students in the Western division are welcome to join their Aurora classes earlier, if their home school program allows.

This week, all students and their parents will receive an email from me with important information about 2020 classes, teachers and timetables. The email will also contain information about key members of staff at your home school, including your Aurora College Coordinator and Science Practical Teacher (where applicable). Please carefully review this information before the start of the new school year.

To all our families and friends, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2020.

Chris Robertson | Principal

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Deputy Principal’s report

Thank you for another wonderful and productive school year.  So many things have been accomplished once again this year, the OC pilot program being the highlight for me. I would like to welcome many of our Year 6 students returning next year and farewell those not returning. I can’t thank staff enough for their endless hours of support they have provided to our students.  Thanks and well done to an incredible group of teachers who time and time again show their dedication and commitment.

Year 7-11 lesson orientations

Thank you to Carolyn McMurtrie, Kaylene Taylor, Kathy Howard, Fiona Boneham, Greg Smith, Kate Thompson and Connor Boyko, who assisted in our orientation lessons for the new students who will be joining us in 2020. During the lesson, our new students were shown some of the various technology platforms that they will be engaging with next year, including Adobe Connect and Microsoft Teams. There were many engaged students, all excited at the prospect of communicating with teachers and peers in the virtual learning environment.

New Teacher Induction Conference

On Tuesday 26 November, our new 2020 teachers were welcomed to Aurora. In a very full week, they completed the University of NSW’s mini-Certificate of Gifted Education and were also provided with a comprehensive introduction to Aurora. Welcome to our school!


Semester 2 reports were distributed to parents and Aurora College Coordinators last week. Parents have access to these reports via their email and Sentral portal. Please be aware that all students are working beyond their stage level through a compacted and enriched curriculum.

Coordinator of the term

Jacqueline Strudwick at Coonamble High School has been awarded outstanding Aurora College Coordinator for Term 4. Jacqueline has shown to be very supportive and proactive with our Aurora students and has kept us up to date with any emerging student concerns. Congratulations, Jacqueline! We appreciate your outstanding effort and commitment.

What’s coming up next year?

The first Residential School next year for Years 6-10 students will be held in Term 1 from Monday 2 March 2020 to Friday 6 March 2020. The ‘res’ will take place at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation on Sydney’s northern beaches, only 45 minutes from the centre of Sydney and moments from Narrabeen Beach.

The Residential School next year for Year 11 & 12 Chemistry and Physics will also be held in Term 1 from Monday 2 March 2020 to Friday 6 March 2020 at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Further information regarding the residential is available on the school website under latest news.

School holidays begin 19 December 2019 for all students. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

Kathy Klados | Deputy Principal

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Opportunity Class Pilot

Our first Year 6 Opportunity Class students concluded their year with us last week. We had the privilege of celebrating their achievements in our first virtual presentation assembly. Parents, partner schools and peers logged into the live stream where students shared their reflections and were presented with their medallions.

Thanks to Ben Hillsley and Sean Will for their set up and support throughout this presentation. If you missed the live event, you can view a recording here.

Thank you to all our coordinators for your support and assistance throughout the year. We appreciate the extra time and energy required to support our partnership.

Year 5 have been researching about their town’s cultural origins to include in their short movies about themselves.

Students have been using strategic searching tools to research the history of their home town, the current population and learning about the Indigenous Traditional Custodians. Storyboards and other planning techniques such as mind maps and flow charts have been employed in the planning stages. In addition to this learning, a range of camera and video techniques have been incorporated into their video presentations.

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Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

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Residential 1, 2020

Next year, Residential 1 is set to take place during Week 6, Monday 2 March to Friday 6 March. Aurora College will be spending the week at Narrabeen, Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation. This Residential is for all students from Years 6-10, as well as students from Years 11 and 12 Chemistry and Physics courses.

Information for the Residential is now available on the Aurora College website under the latest news tab, or click here to access the information now.

Please make sure the necessary forms are completed before 31 January, 2020. If existing students require new Aurora t-shirts, orders will need to be in before 18 December 2019, to allow time for manufacturing and delivery.

Connor Boyko | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Rel.)

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Professional learning

Professor John Hattie

Our professional learning sessions online continue to grow in popularity with rural and remote school staff. The sessions are affordable, accessible and contribute to the required number of registered hours for professional maintenance with NESA. As such, we have seen the largest number of participants so far, in PL sessions this term.

On 21 November, BeYou representatives provided an overview of the relationship between social and emotional learning skills and wellbeing in children and young people, drawing on emerging evidence and current research. This session on ‘Building Resilience in Young People’ focussed on how to intentionally teach social and emotional learning skills and foster resilience in education settings. Over 200 participants heard about specific strategies they can implement to help children and young people to build social and emotional learning skills and resilience. 100% of participants thought the information was helpful in some way.

Over 300 people registered for the final professional learning session of the year, which was held on 10 December and focused on visible learning and evidence-based strategies for maximum impact on student learning. It was presented by John Hattie, who synthesized the findings from 800 meta-analysis of 50,000 research studies involving more than 150 million students and built a story about the power of teachers and of feedback. He constructed a model of learning and understanding by pointing out what works best in improving student learning outcomes. 100% of participants thought the session was excellent, very good, or good.

Kate Thompson | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning

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The most recent masterclass saw representatives from the Macquarie University Law Society (current university students studying law) share their personal experiences of moving away from home in regional and/or rural areas to attend university.

The panel spoke about their pathway to studying law, concerns about moving away from home after high school, the experience of moving from a regional/rural town to the city and useful coping mechanisms, what to expect when studying law, areas of specialisation in law and career paths.

Over 73% of students felt that participating in the session made them more confident about their academic ability or career path; and 90% of students felt that participating made them think they’d like to go to university.

Kate Thompson | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning

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Social entrepreneurship short course

In partnership with the University of Sydney, we delivered a short course on ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ over the past term. This opt-in course helped generate, build and refine business ideas with a ‘social responsibility’ focus.

Michael Porter’s ‘Double Diamond’ project management framework was used to help provide students with the opportunity to explore ideas and iterate innovative solutions, without losing their focus throughout a short and intensive program. Each student had the opportunity to work at their own pace and be extended, but also have access to the guidance and support of the course facilitator, Michael Katz.

Students presented their own Business Plan & ‘pitch’ at the end of the course, with feedback from guest entrepreneur, Adam McCurdie, who is co-founder and CEO of Humanitix (a market disruptor to traditional ticketing businesses by putting social outcomes at the core of everything they do).

I would like to congratulate the following students for their commitment and interest over the past term. Each of them has gained practical skills in creativity and innovation, design thinking and project management; all critical skills for a successful career. Well done to: Charles Jeffery (Year 7, Maclean High School); Adrian Le (Year 7, Ulladulla High School); Madelyn Leggett (Year 7, Wellington High School); Angela Tang (Year 8, Nyngan High School); Bodhi Merritt-Dow (Year 8, The Rivers Secondary College, Richmond River High Campus); Lara Grabham (Year 9, Denison College of Secondary Education, Bathurst High Campus); Daniel Castle (Year 9, Tumut High School); Ben Caughey (Year 10, Hay War Memorial High School) and Jaimee Soo (Year 10, Ulladulla High School).

Kate Thompson | Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning

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Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages

Connecting Japanese Teachers and Learners in the Outback

One of the teachers I am supporting is a beginning Japanese teacher at Willyama High, Miss Wilkinson. It was so exciting to see students in the outback enjoying learning about the Japanese culture and language. They have a popular Japan Club and a beautiful classroom covered in Japanese art, photos and posters.

It is difficult, as many of our students know, to travel to metropolitan areas to meet up with any Japanese speaking communities. Likewise it is difficult to maintain interest in learning a second language when those language speaking communities seem so disconnected from us. The more connections we can make between schools and language learners in rural and remote areas the more success and enjoyment we will all have.

It would be wonderful to see some of the students I met out there joining us at Aurora to study Japanese when they reach Stage 6. I look forward to visiting them again in Semester 1 next year!

Renetta Wolfe | Languages Teacher

Year 7 – English

In Term 4, Year 7 students learned about the world of Shakespeare and considered how the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a product of its time. They were introduced to Shakespeare’s use of language and dramatic form, learned about Elizabethan England and the themes and characters within the play. The focus questions for the unit were ‘why do we value Shakespeare’s works?’ and ‘how does context shape meaning and influence our understanding of a text?

After completing their assessment for this unit, some classes completed various creative and analytical activities where they showcased what they learned throughout this unit. One of the classroom activities involved students choosing activities to complete from a differentiated selection of tasks called a ‘Williams Model’. The questions and activities provided were thought provoking and tested students understanding of the concepts studied in the unit. Here are some tasks for you to read;

Kate Ibbott – Tolerance and Ambiguity

William Whittingham – Shakespeare – A Creative Mind or A Criminal Mind?

Another of the classroom activities was a group work task, based on staging a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a new context. Here is a sample of the work, related to setting the play in the future:

Ellie Fitzpatrick, Lydia Valdes and Adrian Le – A New Frontier

7Eng2 and 7Eng7 were tasked with the challenge to create a trailer for the latest upcoming version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream using Education Minecraft and Adobe Premier (following their masterclass at the Powerhouse Museum at Residential). 7Eng2 adapted the text into a modern day Athens with Egeus being the CEO of the family business, whilst 7Eng7 adapted their production into an anime inspired world using a Japanese theme to tell their story. Each class had to work out the entire process, assign roles, rules and a timeline for production completion. They have reflected on both their individual progress as well as group dynamics and suggested ways to work around problems through a personal learning reflection logbook. We can’t wait to see their final trailers. In the meantime, here are some of the progress shots taken so far.

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Year 8 – English

Year 8 English have been studying Shakespeare’s villains this semester in the Something Wicked unit and in our final unit of work we are currently examining the forms and features of documentary films. We have learnt about the way documentaries are made for a range of purposes and audiences and the selection of features used to make these films. A wonderful way to end the year!

Some of the documentaries we are studying include: ‘Spellbound’, ‘A Place Like This’, ‘Doc Roger: A Redfern Legend’ and BBC hoax documentaries.

The response below is an extract from a student creative writing task using the text ‘King Lear’ as a stimulus:

Edmund: I am right in what I did, even though that god had betrayed me in the end. My father loves Edgar more, though we are both his sons. He should admit he is guilty for his own sins, instead of blaming the stars. My actions have resulted in the death of my father and ultimately, myself. However, I do not feel any hint of guilt. If my father had loved me the way he loved Edgar, this would not have happened. If I was his legitimate son, would he have loved Edgar more than me?

Year 9 – English

This Term, Year 9 have been studying the stories of refugees from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan.

In the Journal of a Refugee activity, students were asked to imagine that they are an asylum seeker who has fled their country and is trying to get to safety in Australia. Students wrote a series of journal entries describing their experiences. Here are two exemplars to read:

Thomas Negus – Refugee Diary – Russia

Olivia Jackson – Refugee Diary – Ukraine

Year 10 – English

In week 5 of this term, Year 10 students began their last unit of work in English; Study of an Auteur. In this unit, students view and analyse a range of film texts from one director with a focus on the technical, thematic and contextual aspects that characterise this director’s work. The focus question for this unit is: How do directors achieve the title ‘auteur’? Why do we value the work of particular directors? Students attempted to answer these questions through the study of a chosen director.

Each class had the opportunity to study the work of a director that appealed to them. These directors include: Alfred Hitchcock; Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg. Students thoroughly enjoyed delving into the creative world of the auteur, analysing film techniques and themes as well as discussing the artistic merit of each of the films they viewed in this unit. For many students, this unit provided an opportunity to develop an appreciation for a genre or style of film that they would not ordinarily be interested in. Here are some samples of the work produced by Year 10:

Alleyne Gaut – ET

Zoe Jenkins – Rear Window

Carolyn McMurtrie |Head Teacher English, HSIE and Languages

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Outstanding VALID results

Once again, Aurora College received outstanding results in this year’s VALID 10 assessment. The VALID (Validation of Assessment for Learning and Individual Development) program provides online end-of-stage assessments for the science key learning area. VALID Science 10 is optional for schools with Year 10 students; but this year 28 263 Year 10 students completed the assessment.

We had an outstanding achievement this year as one of our students achieved one of the top 5 scores and top 30 students! Congratulations to Harry who was placed equal 4th this year. What a fantastic achievement!

The overwhelming majority of our students achieved well above expected growth in their results compared to the VALID 8 assessment and were well above the state average. We expect this year’s results from VALID 8 very soon and are excited to see how they have performed.

Congratulations also to our Stage 3 students on their amazing results in VALID 6. Of the 5231 Year 6 students who achieved a result in VALID this year, 4 of our students achieved in the top 100. They were:

  • Laurence Goossens – equal 2nd
  • Leila Pepperell – equal 4th
  • Marcus Goossens – equal 5th
  • Wyatt Russell –  equal 6th

Congratulation to our Year 6 students and their teachers: Claire Houston and Lisa Pearson.

Fiona Boneham | R/Head Teacher Science and Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

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Big Ideas – ANSTO 2019

Harry and Maria with Ms Boneham

In November, along with our supervising teacher, Ms Boneham, we were flown to Sydney by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to their Lucas Heights campus. There we participated in ANSTO’s Big Ideas Forum – a congregation of 18 students and 9 teachers ready to learn about the nuclear reactor and other scientific instruments housed in Lucas Heights.

To be selected for the Big Ideas Forum, two students from the same school needed to jointly submit a video on a question they had that in some way was related to STEM. We made a video discussing hydrogen fuel cell technologies and how they could be integrated into our society – to lessen the need for burning fossil fuels and obtaining energy by less environmentally friendly means. We then theorised about how it could be done, proposing ideas of our own.

At the Lucas Heights campus we were given a tour of the area and the nuclear reactor before being allowed onto the floor, where various instruments perform neutron scattering. We were also given a tour of three of four particle accelerators housed on site and a talk from a scientist from France’s International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an international nuclear fusion experiment that Australia has been involved in. We made biodegradable plastic in a professional chemistry lab (which would biodegrade at 60 Degrees Celsius); conversed with four researchers on site who work with Neutron scattering; met six of the eight post-graduates who were on placement for two years; visited ANSTO’s cyclotron in the heart of Sydney, where we were given a tour and an explanation of how it works and what it does; visited the Museum of Sydney and the Museum of Human Diseases at the UNSW; had a tour of the Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park; and watched a movie in the cinemas.

The ANSTO Big Ideas Forum was awesome and it has helped us consolidate our aspirations for the future. It expanded our STEM horizons, showed us what science can do and opened our minds to career opportunities that we otherwise would not have dreamt of. It is amazing how much ANSTO does for the world, providing a vast chunk of the total nuclear medicine. It was also an amazing experience to meet career scientists, most of whom had Ph.D.’s.

Thank you to Ms Boneham for everything she did to get us there .

By Harry and Maria (Year 10)

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Mathematics enrichment

In Term 3, six Aurora College students tackled the Maths Enrichment program. This is a follow-on from the Maths Challenge with different levels named after famous mathematicians. The Maths Enrichment program requires the solving of several problems over eight or more weeks. It is organised by the Australian Maths Trust.

Dirichlet Level (Year 6) – 8 Problems: Esther Wenham (Morgan Street Public School) gained a High Distinction and finished in the top seven per cent of entrants nationally. Leila Pepperell (Credit – Milton Public School) and Jasper Hardy (Coopernook Public School) also gained certificates.

Euler Level (Year 8) – 12 Problems: Heidi Osgood (Credit – Bega High School) and Genevieve Bland (Parkes High School) received certificates.

Gauss Level (Year 9) – 12 Problems: Amelie Robinson (Melville High School) received a certificate.

Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad (AIMO)

Also in Term 3, Zoe Jenkins (Year 10, Tenterfield High School) became the second student in the history of Aurora College to enter the AIMO. Zoe tackled a series of incredibly difficult problems (without a calculator) over four hours. A great challenge indeed!

Congratulations to all the Aurora students who have recently received certificates from the Australian Maths Trust!

Ian Whiteway | Mathematics Teacher

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Library news

Borrowing Stars 2019

Our “borrowing stars” for 2019 were: Alice Harris (Year 9); Anna Dubois (Year 9); Hayley Fraser (Year 7); and Zoe Cowled (Year 7). Congratulations to those students on their extensive use of our digital library.

Our most borrowed book of 2019 was Library of Souls, followed closely by: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Divergent.

Instructional sessions

The past few weeks has been a wonderful time for many of our new students to be introduced to our digital library and the way it can support them in both learning and reading for leisure. Sessions have been undertaken by our Phase 2 Opportunity Class pilot students, along with Year 7 students for 2020 and students joining us in Years 8-11, 2020.

As part of transitioning to high school, current OC pilot classes engaged in lessons to undertake research about myths and legends. They were introduced to: Worldbook online; making skinny notes; identifying keywords; determining the reliability of a website; along with reporting their findings to their peers.

Summer Reading Challenge

Students at Aurora College are encouraged to keep reading all summer long, as our library never closes! Keep a record of the books read from our 24/7 digital library or from your public library, home library or books shared with friends. Use this sheet to record your reading – Astras will be awarded, along with the chance to win a gift voucher to spend at our Residential Pop-up Bookshop. Email your reading record to: by 14 February 2020.

Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian

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Connect locally, learn globally

Hello! My name is Olivia and I live on the edge of a small city/large town called Orange. It has a population of over 37,000 people and it is a pretty cool place to live and grow up in. The tourism industry exploits the fact that Orange is the birthplace of Banjo Patterson and has been dubbed the ‘Apple City’, due to the orchards and winery industries that are plentiful on the town outskirts.

What I love most about my town are the numerous bird species and the fact that there are stores for almost everything you could need. Orange also has trees everywhere and used to be pretty green before the drought became more intense.

In my spare time, I like to play instruments – mainly flute, with side adventures in ukulele and piano. I play for school and local ensembles/bands, as well as leisurely learning songs that I currently like.

I also have other various hobbies that I divide my time between, especially when I’m procrastinating about completing work. They include lyric/character art, reading, playing D&D with my friends, writing, obsessing over bands and birdwatching. My favourite birds are the Grey Fantail, the Burrowing Owl, the Kakapo and the Great Crested Grebe.

My local school is Orange High School, which has around 1200 students from Years 7-12. In my year there are around 200 students, though I never see most of them (honestly, where do they go?)

When I leave school, I have many possible plans for a career path. They branch off from many subject areas – maths, music, art, English and science. I’m interested in a lot of things, so I have no specific idea what I want to do when I leave school.

My experience with Aurora (so far) has been really good. I joined this year and I’m in Year 9. I really like it because I’m a huge introvert and having a few classes away from a large crowd of people is good. I’ve made a lot of friends at the two residential camps I’ve been to and everyone seems so nice. I like the fact that a lot of us have things in common and things we can relate with and geek out at.

Olivia (Year 9, Orange High School)

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Performing arts opportunity

This year, I participated in the work experience programs of Sydney Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare. I spent a week in Sydney for both, taking part in workshops for acting, directing, vocals and a whole host of other departments.

Throughout both weeks, myself and other students from around the country worked with each department and completed activities, which formed the basis of group presentations on the Friday. We got to see productions by the companies and meet the actors.

One of my favourite memories is our practical workshop with Bell Shakespeare’s production department, where they taught us to make fake blood. I even got to taste some of the flavoured stock (for when the actors have to put it in their mouths).

These were incredible experiences, especially considering that I didn’t expect to get into either program. Anyone interested in the performing arts should definitely consider applying.

Libby (Year 10, Parkes High School)

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Bright lights

Pilot of the Year

Recently, Trent (Year 12, West Wyalong High School)  attended the Griffith Aero Club presentation night.

Trent was presented with his; RAA Pilot certificate, RAA Passenger Endorsement, RAA Cross Country Endorsement and Griffith Aero Club’s Pilot of the Year 2019!

Congratulations Trent, we are extremely impressed with your accomplishments!



Airforce cadet

Another student reaching for the sky is Lachlan (Year 8, Mulwaree High School), who has been selected to attend a powered flying course with the Airforce Cadets at Bathurst during December.

Congratulations, Lachlan.


MyState Film Festival Winner

Morrow Taplin (Year 9, 2020, Wauchope High School) won two awards in the Tasmanian MyState Film Festival, for his film Death Wish.

Morrow was the successful winner of the ‘Best Documentary’ and ‘Best Intermediate’ age category.

His award winning film can be viewed here. Morrow is looking forward to being back with Aurora next year!



AFL Academy

Jim (Year 7, 2020, Hay War Memorial High School) has been selected to join the AFL Academy in Swan Hill. We are excited to have Jim joining us and for his future as an aspiring AFL star.


Future Bright Lights

If your child has a passion outside of our virtual classrooms, please feel free to email us a few words and an image. It is always lovely to celebrate what our students are up to in their local communities! Please email:, marked: attention The Auracle.

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Spotlight on…Cathy Crouch

Where was your previous teaching appointment?

Before I started with Aurora in Term 4, I was a Maths teacher at Lisarow High School on the Central Coast. It’s a smallish 7-12 high school with under 800 students. It’s in a lovely, leafy environment. The gardens are worked on by students during sport and they look fantastic!

What is your local community like?

I live about 10 minutes from Lisarow High School in a suburb called Niagara Park. The Central Coast is one of the best places to live because we are so close to Sydney and Newcastle, but still have that laid back coastal town vibe. The closest beach to us is around 20 minutes, but we like trying new things, so we travel around the coast to enjoy the different beaches and experiences.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?

I was originally an English and History teacher, but I never really taught it. I fell into work as a data analyst and Maths became my passion. I retrained as a Maths teacher in 2012/2013 and haven’t looked back (but I still love reading and history 😉). I love the elegance and beauty of Maths and I love sharing that with students. Maths is all around us, built into the universe – no wonder it helps us solve problems!

What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

I don’t have any of my own classes with Aurora yet, but I will next year. I have taught some classes this term and I love using the technology to communicate and connect with students far away. I really enjoy hearing about students’ lives and towns in different parts of the state.

What are your other interests?

I enjoy reading. My favourite author is Terry Pratchett – I love the Discworld series. I was devastated when he passed away in 2015. My family and I go camping quite often. We like to experience different places, up and down the coast as well as inland. My main hobby is belly dancing. I have been doing this amazing form of exercise for over 20 years! It has so many fantastic benefits, physically, mentally and emotionally. It just makes you feel good!


Cathy Crouch | Mathematics Faculty

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School transitions

Five things parents/carers can do to make school transitions easier for their young person:

1. Speak positively about the change

    • Always try to discuss the changes in a positive way as your child will pick up on your attitude towards the situation
    • Try to speak enthusiastically and focus on the positives such as the interesting things they will learn, the new friends they will make and the new routines they’ll establish

2. Acknowledge and discuss their concerns

    • If your child has questions or concerns acknowledge them, don’t brush them off with a “don’t worry, it will be fine”
    • Listen to what the concerns are then spend time discussing options and going over details – where from and what time to catch the bus, where it will drop them off etc
    • Having your reassurance is important

3. Actively involve your child in preparations

    • Include them in shopping for new school supplies
    • Plan with them their new routine for school stage and what new expectations/demands there may be
    • Have them make a list of the things they are looking forward to as well as any questions or concerns they may have

4. Pay a visit to the new school prior to starting

    • Ensure your child participates in any transition programs offered
    • Through visiting the school in advance your child will have a chance to get to know school’s layout, see what extracurricular activities they might like to participate in and meet some of their teachers

5. Help your child stay in touch with old friends

    • Losing friendships is a valid concern for children who are moving from one school to another
    • If your child had a close friend or group of friends in their last school, think of some ways to help them keep in touch after they move on e.g. look for after-school activities, such as sports or dance, which they could join together
    • Discuss the fact that they will make new friends, but that this doesn’t mean they will have to choose between their old friends and their new friend/s

(Adapted from an article by Marianne Stenger and republished on NSW Department of Education site for Parents and Carers. The original article can be read here.)

The following web sites offer some practical ideas for transitioning to High School but can also be applied to all education transition points:

(12) Top Tips for Starting Secondary School – YouTube

Cathy Groth | Wellbeing Coordinator

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From the engine room

We wish all of our students and their families a wonderful and safe holiday season. For new and returning students in 2020 here are some dates for your calendar:

  • First day for staff (School Development Day) is Tuesday 28 January 2020

Aurora College classes:

– for SECONDARY students in the:

  • Eastern division commence on Friday 31 January 2020
  • Western division commence on Friday 7 February 2020.

– for PRIMARY students in the:

  • Eastern division commence on Monday 3 February 2020
  • Western division commence on Monday 10 February 2020.

Our office will be open from Wednesday 29 January 2020.  Our office hours are 8.30 am to 3.30 pm Monday to Friday.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager


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