James Morlino presenting Corey Everett the award for Most Outstanding Senior VCAL Student 2015 at Federation Square in Melbourne

From Cire to Deakin – Corey’s Journey

On Monday 21st of June, one of the students from Cire Community School was presented with the award for Most Outstanding Senior VCAL Student in 2015 at a ceremony at Federation Square.  The award was presented to Corey Everitt by the Hon. James Merlino (above image) in front of a big crowd including staff from Cire Community School and Corey’s parents.  Corey said of his time at Cire that

“it was probably the most significant period in my life thus far. Both for its hardship and reward.”

Corey began his journey at Cire Community School in 2014 after being disengaged from education for more than 12 months before beginning his VCAL studies. He engaged well with his teachers while completing his Intermediate VCAL but had a lot of ups and downs as he battled through some personal issues.   Benefitting from the supportive environment at school where staff and students showed patience in trying to engage him into the program.  Corey recently reflected that

“It’s a common to look down on the VCAL program, mainly for its attraction of people who have yet to engage in their studies or apply themselves. However what some don’t see is that the program gives freedom for active students to prosper and succeed and also an alternative for the few who just need a helping hand for where they want to go.”

Commencing Senior VCAL in 2015 Corey began the year very slowly and was not a very productive member of the class, but the students and staff at Cire Community School continued to support him.  At the beginning of term 2, Corey decided to participate in an activity day called “Super Awesome Fun Day” where students worked in small groups to complete challenges.  After that day, Corey slowly built his confidence in social interactions and began producing some written work.

The change over the course of term 2 was dramatic. He became a highly engaged member of the classroom and worked well with others on a couple of community projects.  He led a photography project where students worked with residents at an aged care home to create a documentary about their lives.  Corey also helped lead a landscaping project where students mowed lawns and did basic landscaping for elderly and disabled members of the local community.

By the start of term 3, Corey was a leading member of the Senior VCAL class.  He expressed an interest in pursuing a career in writing.  Corey’s teacher challenged him to write well beyond the required standard to meet his Senior VCAL outcomes.  We also began the process of looking into university pathways.  Corey wrote extended pieces on mental health, climate change, euthanasia, the character strength of grit and wrote an excellent short story about artificial intelligence. He conducted presentations to the class on topics such as his future career goals with the aim to help fellow class mates.

Corey’s transformation from being disengaged to becoming a hard working and high achieving student was a pleasure to be a part of.  The extent of his achievement was confirmed at the Cire Christmas party where Corey presented in front of over 50 staff and shared his story.  It was a great moment to witness his mother’s pride at seeing him give such a passionate speech to this group and receive such a positive reaction from the audience.

Corey is currently studying a Diploma in Media and Communication at Deakin University.  He hopes to continue studying at Deakin and begin his Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) in 2017.  Corey has made an excellent start to his higher education with good grades across the board.

“The transformation I went through from an absent and reclusive kid to an inspired student who avidly applied himself to school and the community, was a pretty substantial change, unbeknown to me it was supposedly significant enough for a group of judges to think I deserve such an award. Must have been a slow year in student achievements.”

Despite his humility, Corey’s character development and determination to improve himself make him a well deserving recipient of this award.  Corey has developed the confidence and resilience required to set himself up for success at university and life.

From all of us at Cire Services we would like to congratulate Corey on this incredible achievement and wish him all the best in the future.

For further details on Cire Community School VCAL programs click here.

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