Class of 2020 in a year of its own

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Home study: Zoe Dellaportas and her peers are coping with an unusual year’s study. Picture: Yanni

IN a year typically made up of happy memories, lasting friendships and, yes, study, the struggle towards the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) is far from normal in the time of COVID-19.

Rosebud Secondary College year 12 student Zoe Dellaportas, 17 this week, is coping like as best she can.

“The hardest part is staying motivated,” she said of her studies at home. “It’s a matter of maintaining structure.”

Luckily, her older sister Alex has been able to help. “She’s set alarms on my phone for the start and end of periods which has been a big help.”

Years 11 and 12 students have classes every day, from 9am-3pm.

Studying English, chemistry, maths methods, special maths and dance, Zoe said facetime on Google Meet allowed students to listen to their teachers and converse one-on-one.

“We can mute ourselves or ask questions,” she said.

Chemistry practical lessons will be challenging. Small numbers of students can access the school’s lab to conduct experiments – rather than blowing up the kitchen at home – but will have to spread themselves around the Bunsen burners.

Dance, also, is problematic. “I try to keep exercising,” she said. “I walk the dog and keep moving – even cleaning my room.”

But the VCE year is really only a shadow of its former self. “I really miss my friends,” Zoe said.

“At first I was upset because I was hoping that this year we would be spending time together.

“But everyone’s approach [to the restrictions] has been really good. We are making the best of it.”

Year 12 exams have been pushed back to December or even January, with general assessment tests to be held in October, she said.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 28 April 2020

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