USC – A Year in Review

From the Principal
Anita Zocchi

2018 has been another productive year at University Senior College. Staff and Council began the year by reflecting on education today and where it may lead in the future. As a consequence of that discussion, time was spent considering possible leadership structures for 2019 and beyond. As a result, a new structure for 2019 was agreed upon. This structure has a number of different roles; however, the focus on student wellbeing, achievement and support remained at the forefront, along with ensuring that the College remained true to its original purpose.

Dr Murray Thompson signalled his intention to retire after the 2018 academic year, and a national search took place to appoint a new Deputy Principal for 2019. As a result, Tim Agnew has been appointed and comes to USC with a great deal of experience, locally, nationally and internationally, and we look forward to welcoming Tim in 2019.

Students and staff enjoyed new initiatives during the 2018 academic year. Some of these were focused on wellbeing and community-building, while others focused on co-curricular activities that strengthened and broadened our students’ discipline knowledge. These initiatives are elaborated upon in other sections of this Annual Report. Responding to student interests and requests is at the core of what we do at USC. We held an Expo during the two Orientation Days, providing students with the opportunity to commit to undertaking some community service activities or lead an initiative of their own. USC also entered its first ever team in the interschool athletics competition.

Providing students with appropriate subject choices which lead to a university pathway is paramount for us, and staff engaged in discussion about the curriculum. We determined that two new subjects, recognised by the tertiary sector as relevant for students looking for a university pathway, have been introduced as part of the curriculum in Year 11. These two subjects, Business Innovation and Scientific Studies have been offered for 2019.

A great deal of our time this year has been focused on securing a new site for the College to replace our current premises in Charles Street. This has been a long and protracted process; however, we are delighted that we will take up residence in Gawler Place in 2019. This new space will comprise of areas for art, design, drama, music and Intensive English classes. There is also a space dedicated to technologies for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) related activity. We have concentrated our efforts on determining whether the introduction of Year 10 was an appropriate initiative for USC. After many discussions, the Council has determined that Year 10 will commence in 2020. With decisions made regarding our new premises, the refurbishment of the Jordan building and the introduction of Year 10, it became clear that there was a need to refresh our brand. A new identity for USC will be unveiled in January 2019. This identity incorporates aspects of the current brand, while looking to the future and signalling change.

2018 has been a successful and satisfying year. The following highlights provide you with a snapshot of the learning, wellbeing and community activities that have taken place. They also demonstrate that the College remains true to its original purpose, providing an authentic pathway to university, while responding to innovation and change across the broader educational landscape.

Resilient, creative and intrinsically motivated students who are equipped for university.

Build the reputation and the brand of USC as the College of choice for pre-tertiary education.

  • In March the whole school had an opportunity to celebrate Harmony Day. Students and staff came together to share lunch, play bocce, paint murals and listen to music from various cultures. Many thanks to Nadia Lovett, Yvette Winter, Anna Bassani, Tash Pressley and Michelle Giavis who worked with student volunteers to make the lunchtime celebration a positive and successful occasion.
  • 30 USC students participated in the Australian Mathematics Competition. Two students, Chris Park and Yufei Xu, obtained a High Distinction. Eleven students obtained a Distinction; Yimou Han, Lucinda Liu, Taleala McCarthy, Sophie Miller, Jennifer Mulder, Michael Nunn, Aiden Tafari, Roman Tunno, Tianyi (Tony) Zeng, Yirui (Iris) Zhang and Chenlu (Cloris) Zhou. Nine students obtained a Credit; Rachel Graham, Shelley Huang, Simon King, Irene Li, Michelle Lutz, Amy Shen, Jessie Wattie, Haorui (Henry) Xu and Alice Yeardley.
  • Yufei Xu was awarded a High Distinction in the 57th South Australian Hamann School Mathematics Competition for Society of Petroleum Engineers. The competition is highly regarded and aims to encourage interested and motivated students to enjoy the challenge of nonstandard problems.
  • There were a number of students who participated in the Science Olympiad this year with great success. High Distinctions were awarded to Yufei Xu for Chemistry and to Ainslee Kozul and Lucinda Liu for Physics. Distinctions were awarded to Emily Marshall, Mary Burden and Ainslee Kozul for Biology and Behtash Golshani for Physics. Credits were obtained by Omar Siddique, Andrew O’Brien, Sophie Miller and Ali Alsharifi for Biology; Ali Asharifi, Ainslee Kozul, Jessie Wattie and Andrew O’Brien for Chemistry; and Robin Currie, Andrew O’Brien and Chris Park for Physics. Certificates of participation were awarded to Omar Siddique for Chemistry and Kaz Bejnarowicz for Physics.
  • Each year University Senior College is represented in the Australian Geography Competition. While all students from our small cohort are to be congratulated on their results, we particularly acknowledge the following efforts; High Distinctions were awarded to Clement Chang and Grace Russell-Jarvie. A Distinction was awarded to Zahli Fourmy, and Credits were obtained by Joslin Kershaw, Dana Lightbody and Joaquin Poskey-Miles.
  • Anushri Goswami, a graduate from 2017, won the Economics Teachers’ Prize for excellence in Economics.
  • Grace Mayor travelled to the United States for the 2018 Global Young Leaders’ Conference. With 400 attendees at the event, the 10 day program took place in Washington D.C. and New York. Grace attended seminars presented by members of the US Department of Defence, the United Nations and the World Bank. In addition to this, she attended workshops which focussed on developing diplomatic skills, speech writing, negotiation and treaty creation. The students used their newly acquired skills to present to other countries in the United Nations headquarters in New York.
  • Year 11 students, Mikayla Venning, Olivia Christie and Reuben Fernee were privileged to attend the South Australian Secondary Schools State Constitutional Convention held at Parliament House.
  • 15 students of Physics and Mathematics attended a luncheon at the Adelaide Convention Centre with teachers, Zahra Pirvali and Magda Van Aardt, to listen to Professor Michelle Simmons who is the 2018 Australian of the Year. Her research could lead to a quantum leap in computing.
  • In Semester 1 our Intensive English students were fortunate to experience a two day camp, visiting various iconic locations around South Australia. After staying overnight at the West Beach Caravan Park, the group enjoyed the Mega Adventure Climbing Park, and a surf education session at Grange Surf Lifesaving Club.
  • In Semester 2 our Intensive English students experienced the outdoors and engaged in an enjoyable overnight camp. Fun was had at Latitude trampoline park, Cleland Wildlife Park and historic Hahndorf.
  • For the first time in our history, USC students competed in the School Sport Track and Field Championships. The inaugural team comprised Bonnie Doran, Chloe Jenkin, Taleala McCarthy, Roman Tunno, Sol Bedi, Sebastian Kucharski, Spencer Holicky-Holdback, Yanren (Doris) Wang, David Nachiyunde, Margaret Paul, Rachel Graham and Luka Cubelic. Staff support kindly came from Carmen Bishop, Maree Maney and Simon Sypek.
  • In March, students and old scholars participated in the Adelaide Fringe with the USC Showcase.  The USC Showcase was a musical and dramatic exhibition of Year 11 and Year 12 University Senior College Music and Drama students. Lara Nikless and Ruby Lombardi served as hosts; with performances from Saffron Williams, David Nachiyunde, Faye Vllachos,  Evie Wilson, Grace Mayor, Jenny Mulder, Lizzie George, Rory Adams, Harry Mill (former student), Emma Trumble (former student), Alli Mason, George Paraskeva, Emma Normington, Sophie Robertson, Ryan Skapin, Millie Sandford, Riley and Athan Economos (former student), and  Amelia Hender.

Inspirational learning opportunities that support creativity, problem solving and collaboration.

  • The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) at Adelaide University welcomed all USC Year 11 Physics students to visit their centre and listen to Ass. Prof. Shahram Afshar (Laser and Optics) who discussed the applications of Optical Fibres in technology. Students used this opportunity for further research in the field to complete their SACE investigation.
  • The Year 12 Drama productions of Blood Sister by Daniel Keene and Soldadera by Josephina Niggli were performed in Term 2. Blood Sister is an Australian play, concerning Ned Kelly’s sister, her battle with PTSD and the subsequent opium addiction she suffered after the deaths of the Kelly gang. Soldadera told the story of female soldiers during the Mexican revolution in the late 1930s. The performances were fantastic and the costume design by Skyler Leyden and Shannon McGinley added another dimension to both performances.
  • Year 12 Economics students were invited to attend the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies Luncheon to hear from the keynote speaker, the Honourable Doctor Craig Emerson. His address focused on the challenges facing the South Australian economy and the need for the state to determine the industries in which it has a potential comparative advantage. The students were very grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the lunch and hear Dr Emerson’s address.
  • Year 12 Politics students benefitted from visitors, Professor Dean Jaensch and Greens MLC, Mark Parnell. Both speakers gave an informative analysis on a range of issues, including reasons for the state election result, the federal turmoil and insights on international matters.
  • Year 11 Design students visited the Adelaide Botanic Gardens for inspiration to develop their new logo design for the Gardens.
  • The STEM “Thinker Tinker Maker” group visited the Museum of Discovery at the University of South Australia. They also built drones using programming skills in Beta flight to produce the required configurations for flight. Students learnt to pilot these drones, along with other small FPV’s with advice from guests from the University of Adelaide. Students involved included Zainab Jawad, Jaimie Cook, Cassie Buringa, Jenny Mulder, Salik Warsi, Cailey Biggs, Daniyah Junejo, Harry Kinsman, Laura Mackenzie, Adrian Caprile, Nick Pavliuk, Luke Dimech, Caleb Lill, Matthew Douglas, Andy Gilmore, Spencer Holicky-Holdback, Callan Ineson, Michael Nunn and May-Lee Zuvela. This group has been in operation since 2017 and is supported by Glen Arthur and Kelly Keeling.
  • In Term 2, twenty Pre English Literary Studies students attended a workshop for Year 10 and 11 students. Students participated in presentations on Film Studies, Shakespeare and Poetry by Associate Professors Mandy Treagus and Lucy Potter. They also studied an Australian short film, and a poem by William Blake. They learnt what courses are on offer, what it is like to study a degree in English at the University of Adelaide, and what travel can be involved – including a course which features productions at the Globe Theatre. Students found it useful to hear first-hand from post-graduate student Brydie, who spoke about her thesis, ‘Witches in Literature’ from Salem to Hermione Granger.
  • The Year 12 Art and Design Exhibition once again showcased the immense creative talent at the College. The Barr Smith Library Prize winners were Lola Pulsford (Art) and Ry Pahl (Design). The Principal’s Prize winners were Celeste Cao (Art) and Saiyuri Pillay (Design).

A genuine partnership with the University of Adelaide, designed to foster a love of learning.

  • Female Year 12 Mathematics students were given the opportunity to attend a Women in Mathematics Workshop hosted by the University of Adelaide. Students Katie Landon, Bonnie Doran, Irene Li, Shelley Huang, Sara Lang and Katie Nguyen listened to a variety of speakers, learnt about studying mathematics at university, what extracurricular opportunities the university provides and about the different fields in mathematics.
  • This year Ari Trauckifrom the Careers Office in the University of Adelaide has been a regular visitor to our College, holding individual appointments with our Year 12 students as they decide on their future pathways at university. Ari was available for over 25 hours of appointments on the College grounds and also consulted with our students in the Careers Office in the University. In addition, Ari also spoke at our Open Day in October, providing prospective families with information about the authentic relationship between the University of Adelaide and USC.
  • Year 11 Chemistry classes visited the Johnson Laboratories to learn about nanomaterials and photovoltaic cells and took part in the National Youth Science Forum.
  • Professor Peter Veitch, The Head of Department of Physics presented a lecture to the Year 12 Physics students about his collaboration with the international Physics community in discovering the Gravitational Waves that were predicted by Einstein. This highlighted the role of South Australian Physicists in world discoveries.
  • Year 12 Chemistry students attended the Stranks Memorial Lecture on medicines that have changed the world and took part in the RACI National Titration Competition at the school, state and national level.
  • Year 12 Specialist Mathematics students were fortunate to attend a lecture by Professor Nigel Bean, Professor of Applied Mathematics in the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide. Nigel’s primary message was that if you enjoy learning mathematics then you should continue its study for as long as you can. He presented evidence of a strong correlation between the level of mathematics that a student has studied and their successful progression through Physics, Chemistry and Biology degrees.
  • A number of staff have worked once again with the School of Education to deliver the Curriculum and Methodology course to students preparing to undertake teaching practicums. Staff involved include Glen Arthur, Andrew Hartigan and Zahra Pirvali.

Passionate and inspirational staff who are leaders in their fields.

  • Each year staff undertake professional learning to further their expertise and deepen their knowledge in SACE Board courses. Staff attended workshops for courses that were new this year and engaged in a number of online learning sessions.
  • A number of staff meetings were dedicated to professional learning with a particular focus on developing IT skills with the use of Apps and iPads. Staff also furthered their learning of MyUni. In addition to this, Professor Pascale Quester addressed the staff on the current work of the University of Adelaide and how international trends in tertiary education are impacting the work of staff at the University of Adelaide.
  • A number of our staff are involved in SACE Board activities and provide professional leadership beyond the College. Examples include being involved in setting, vetting and marking papers, supervision of marking and moderation processes and benchmarking samples of student work. Staff involved include Lisa Lanchester, Anna Bassani, Andrew Hartigan, Maree Maney, Kate Toop, Louise Small, Glen Arthur and Hayley Cundy.
  • Tammy Di Giusto was invited to present at a conference in Madrid in December 2018 on Antiquity, Religions and Societies.
  • Nadia Lovett, Corey Barrett, Glen Arthur and Kelly Keeling presented at the PESA Positive Education Annual Conference.
  • Glen Arthur was approached to present at a variety of fora. These include: SASTA Chemistry Deconstruct and Design Investigations workshop, AISSA Stem Taskforce (Member), Scientific Studies Hub Group and the Pulteney Curiosity Conference. He was also asked to contribute to a number of professional reforms and papers. These include Feedback to Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO – Optimising STEM industry-school partnerships: inspiring Australia’s next generation-issues paper and the RACI Chemical Education Group: Stages 1 & 2 Chemistry teacher Professional Development. Glen was also a recipient of the 2018 NGS Scholarship Award to further his endeavours in STEM.
  • Glen was also nominated for the NEITA Awards in 2018. He was the recipient of the award with 24 other teachers nationally. This award recognises Glen as an outstanding teacher and we congratulate him on this achievement.

A diverse, cohesive and respectful community.

  • We began the year with a new format to the Orientation program which culminated in an O Week Expo on the Johnson lawns. Students and staff from Years 11 and 12 gathered to share lunch, have some fun and sign up for various student led activities for the year. It was a wonderful way to further develop our sense of community. Many thanks to Simon Sypek, Corey Barrett, Anna Bassani, Nadia Lovett, Tash Pressley, Michelle Giavis, Phil Moore, Tammy Di Giusto, Heather Wiseman and Ryan Jackson for their organisation of this event, cooking food, setting up stalls and running activities for the students.
  • Each mentor group in Term 1 donated a range of toiletries for The Hutt St Centre’s “City Zero Project”. As a community we collected over 800 items to support individuals who live rough in Adelaide.
  • The 2018 Formal was a wonderful night. The USC community came together for a lovely evening with “The Great Gatsby” as our theme. The student committee who volunteered to work with Anna Bassani made the night a success and are to be congratulated for their community spirit, organisational and problem solving skills.
  • A Bake Sale in August raised $800 to support Chloe Jenkin, a current Year 11 student, who represented Australia in the World Marathon Canoe Championships in Portugal.
  • USC raised $1050 in Term 2 from a Cake Stall for SA’s homeless and the St Vinnie’s Winter Sleep Out. These funds helped Anita Zocchi reach her target of $3000 for the CEO Winter Sleep Out during June.
  • 12 students supported the Cancer Foundation’s Annual fundraiser, Daffodil Day, in August. The students volunteered outside school hours to collect donations from the public and raised over $520 in the process.
  • Students and staff raised $250 for Trees for Life.
  • Five males from the USC community: Glen Arthur, David Garwood, Behtash Golshani, Charlie Dangerfield and Thomas Schulze collected funds and generated awareness for Men’s Health during Movember. The USC Team grew moustaches to bring attention to mental health, suicide prevention, testicular cancer and prostate cancer. The team aimed for $1000 in donations.
  • USC sponsored the Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards through the “USC Create Change Award”. This year’s recipient was Thomas Brown. Thomas, originally from Mylor, is passionate about education, international development and Australia – Asia relations. He lives both in Adelaide and Mylor and is co-founder of the Australian Indonesian Youth Association and the Jakarta Development Network. He has worked on social enterprise start-ups: OrientAbroad and AsiaOptions, to entice more international students and to connect Australia’s future leaders with engagement opportunities in Asia. He is the Indonesian Director of Same Skies, providing education and other services to refugee children.
  • Once again USC entered a staff and student team in the City-Bay Fun Run.

Teaching and learning spaces that inspire.

  • A major focus for 2018 has been the refurbishment of Levels 3 and 4 of the Jordan building. In 2019, most classes will take place in this building. The newly refurbished floors include a 70 seat lecture theatre, general classroom spaces, offices and student study spaces.
  • Another focus has been the search for a new space to replace some of the curriculum spaces in Charles Street, namely Art, Design, Drama, Music, the International Program and a STEAM tinker space equipped with 3D printers, a mini laser cutter and other equipment. We hope to be in this new space for the commencement of the 2019 school year.

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