June 8th, 2021Completing Year 12 in the time of Covid
AS KIARA Clifton says, it’s been a year like no other. The Glenlyon resident, who completed Year 12 last year at Daylesford College, concedes that there are many worse off, but says she is not alone in feeling ripped off by Covid. Kiara chatted with Donna Kelly.
Donna: It must have been a difficult year to try to complete Year 12? Do you think your education suffered?
Kiara: Definitely it was difficult. I did arts subjects, like drama and acting, so that was really difficult, and I know other people who were doing science and maths and having to do it all online. It was really hard considering that we could ask our teachers questions, but they might be on another call and we had to wait, and then we could only show them our work in photos. That was really difficult because we really didn’t know how we were going. So, I feel like it probably did impact on our learning, especially the kids doing physical activities like music and drama and sport, they were all virtually impossible. Speaking from personal experience from doing drama last year we had an ensemble performance which we had try to create online and it just didn’t work. It was really, really hard and I know with some sports students they just couldn’t do their sport and just had to do the core work and wait until they went back to school in person.
Donna: When did you first realise things were not going well?
Kiara: I think the first lockdown was not great but then with the second lockdown it was ‘OK we are doing this again, so things must be getting pretty bad’ and then we had the 700 cases a day. It was a really bizarre time and quite scary because we had no idea what this virus was, where it was, and we weren’t sure if we were going to get back to school. Thankfully we did in the end, but it was a scary time to wonder if we were going to come back and do it (school) as we usually would. It was a weird and scary time.
Donna: Did the exam system take into account the difficult year?
Kiara: I think so, they did acknowledge it but I don’t remember if there was an exemption, like they will put our grades up. I am not sure if that applies but they definitely took into account we had to do it all online and it was a really hard year unlike anything else. The exams were alright, they were held at the school, usually we do them at Vic Park, but we had to do it in the gym because we couldn’t go outside (of the school). That was hard because we could hear the noise around the gym. The bells were turned off but we could hear the kids, you can’t turn the kids off. It was fine but not preferred.
Donna: Year 12 is a hard year but also one of lots of celebration. Do you feel a bit ripped off?
Kiara: Yeah, absolutely, I know I definitely do and quite a lot of other Year 12 students do as well. Not only did we not get to experience the small things like wearing the Year 12 jacket and warming up your food in your own room that no other students have access to, we also lost our senior ball, our presentation night, our valedictory dinner…my mum and I started to plan the dinner for last Friday and then we went back into lockdown. It has been really, really difficult especially with the rewarding stuff. We got a muck-up day and that was about it. And now we are still waiting for a date to do the valedictory dinner, but it is June 2021 and we graduated in December 2020. It has been a long haul to wait for what we want but with the team effort it will come together. It’s just been really hard in terms of looking forward to it for so long and then it just keeps getting taken away.
Donna: Did you have a gap year and travel planned?
Kiara: No and I personally didn’t know anyone that did have travel plans but I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have all those plans to travel to places and see things and do things. I know with me personally I was going to do a performing arts course, but I didn’t want to do that online after last year. So, I decided to take the year off which wasn’t in my plan but it’s really changed a lot of things for a lot of people.
Donna: Will you head back to uni next year?
Kiara: Yeah, I might. Personally, I want to see what happens in the uni depending on Covid. If it is all settling down by next year then probably I will. I would really like to do a performing arts course and I have seen and heard many good things out of that course. I have been eyeing off Federation University in Ballarat for a few years now, it looks really good.
Donna: I hear you have been doing a bit of acting already?
Kiara: Yes, I am doing a few bits and pieces outside school including a small kids production called Wanda’s Monster in Creswick and also doing a feature film as an extra here in Glenlyon, which is really good. It’s called Stricken and it’s an interesting storyline about people infected by fear. It’s been a full-on experience. I am probably more a music theatre person and never done screen up until now so that has been really different. In film you wait around until you are called and then shoot the same thing multiple times where on stage you rehearse it multiple times and then you perform it once. It’s been a really interesting experience and also with the effects make-up it’s been a really cool experience. It’s been awesome.