Faculty - English, Languages and HSIE
What a wonderful year of learning it has been – whether we studied remotely, worked in our schools or oscillated between the two, we have demonstrated that the creative and flexible thinking that Aurora offers is alive and well in our faculty.
I would like to extend our best wishes to Mr Gregor Newton who will be leaving our faculty at the end of this year to take a permanent position on the Central Coast. What a lucky school to have such a dedicated, calm and knowledgeable teacher. All the best on your new journey, Mr Newton.
This year, for our end of year special prizes we did something a little differently – instead of the writer’s prize where students enter a competition at the end of the year, we decided to surprise them and instead asked teachers to submit their absolute favourite pieces of writing from students over the course of this tumultuous year. There were so many entries that it was difficult to choose, but the winners (who will have their piece published in the upcoming year book) are: Charlie Hough, Camden Matarazzo, Edward Duggan and Heidi Osgood. An award and a voucher are in your school email inbox now – congratulations!
In the meantime, enjoy some excellent examples of our student’s writing skill through their portfolio of work – a culmination of the year’s activities:
I peered out of the frosted window into the park that was directly opposite our house, my breath appearing on the glass. Snow blanketed the field like a veil and ice hung from trees in ominous spikes. Despite the frigid temperatures, a lone hunched figure was there. Mr Leyland sat on the same wooden park bench, no matter the weather, clutching pink lilies in his hand. No matter if he was sick, cold or bored, he’d sit there like he was a part of the scenery, from the cool tones of sunrise to the warm rays of sunset. Once the sun disappeared over the horizon, he slowly rose, hunched shoulders and shuffled away, his eyes brimmed with tears. Each day, he sat there with hope in his eyes, looking down the road. I was never sure who his eyes were searching for, but I felt he was looking for someone. I’d never really talked to Mr Leyland except for saying a shy “Hello” and inviting him inside when it was raining or cold with an enticement of my hand. Every time, he’d simply say, “No thanks. Today, she’ll come”. I had wondered many times who ‘she’ is. A lover, a daughter, a mother. As I wondered who she was, I knew in my heart that they were very loved by this man, and this man would wait a lifetime for her to come.
As sure as it was that he would sit on the bench outside my window, I had wondered how I could help, if I could help, and wondered about his story. Would it bother him if I sat down next to him, feeling the cold, hardness of the wood underneath me and ask him about what happened. I often thought about approaching had never had the courage to talk to him for fear of being too nosy. Today, though, I was going to talk to him. As snowflakes fell in slow dances to the ground, I dragged on my bulky snow clothes and grabbed an almost empty packet of cookies, made some hot chocolate, convincing myself to walk over to him. Juggling the two hot drinks in my hand, I shivered as the bitter winter air blew in my face as I opened the door. I wondered how Mr Leyland could stand to stay in the cold so long. I hesitated, then took a deep breath and I trudged through the snow over to the seat and sat.
I thrust the steaming cup over to him and said “Hello. Would you like a hot chocolate and a cookie?”. He looked at me, unsure, a little surprised that he was now sharing the bench with me.
With a little twinkle in his blue eyes, he replied, “That would be lovely”, as he shakily grasped the cup rim from me. Sipping our drinks, we sat for a few minutes in silence.
Internally arguing with myself, I finally got the courage to ask him, “Why do you wait out here every day?”.
He looked at me, a serious and sad look on his face, sighed and then started his story. “50 years ago, the person I loved left me. She was married to another man, and she moved away with him. I knew she loved me and not him”.
I looked at him, elated that he started speaking to me but knowing that somewhere in this story, tears would be brought to my eyes.
“We lived our love story in stolen moments when her husband was working. He was very controlling and hard on her and felt her place was at home being a homemaker. After many amazing stolen moments, she came to me, tears streaming down her face on this very park bench and said, ‘My husband and I are moving’. She pleaded ‘I will try everything in my power to see you again. Please wait on this seat for me. Be sure to have lilies in your hand so that I know it’s you.”. He sighed, tears pooling at the edges of his eyes and looked down the street.
I felt tears in my eyes and looked away too. I didn’t know what to say, so I stayed quiet. We sat like that for a sometime. I was unsure of how long it had been before he spoke again, “Her name was Lilly. I have worked nightshifts at any place I can work, just so I can wait for her to come back to me. Sometimes I fear that she might never get away. But I always wait, just in case”, He sighed.
He looked down the street with hope in his eyes, as he always did. I looked up at Mr Leyland, but his eyes, rather than focused on his lap, were focusing on something down the street. I turned to look in the same direction as him.
“Lilly”, he muttered.
“Oh”, I said in shock.
Lilly was walking down the road, her eyes taking in everything in the snowy street. She didn’t seem to want to look at everything, as I knew, she was only looking for Mr Leyland, and nothing else. Then she saw him. Her eyes started to fill with tears. I looked back at Mr Leyland, and happiness was projecting from his face. When she reached us, I felt invisible, her eyes locked on his.
“I thought you wouldn’t wait for me”, Lilly said.
With joy in his eyes, he said, “I thought you’d never come”.
– Madison Sparrow
Everything in the room was white. From the bedposts to the flooring there was nothing but a pure absence of colour. The walls were of such a hue that, for all I knew, there could be no walls at all. A room of nothing that stretched on into colourless oblivion. The only sound that penetrated the sheer emptiness was the clocks. Their ticking was relentless and eternal. It was everything. It was the only thing.
Although my only company was the ticking of the clocks, I was able to keep no sense of time. I was trapped in this room for what could have been a day or a year or anything in between. Every tick sent a shiver down my spine. It was agony sitting there, just waiting for something to happen. I had to do something.
Even though it went against every fibre of my being, I knew the only thing to do was to walk towards the clocks. They were the only things that seemed real here.
I found them before long – pure white and repulsive in every sense. I knew I had to destroy them, to at least put a stop to the ominous ticking. I plunged my hands deep inside the clock faces, cracking glass and wood, busting apart cogs and springs. There was no more ticking.
I heaved a sigh of relief before noticing something on the ground. Colour. Ovals of sticky red sat before each clock. Is this my ticket to freedom? I thought. Then I realised that they weren’t just ovals, they were faces. And that wasn’t just red, that was blood. The ovals became the faces of all those that I love most dearly, warm against the cold tiled floor.
Then I saw my hands – they were bloody too. I only blinked and the world seemed normal again. A normal room except for the four bodies slumped on the floor, each with a gaping cavity ripped in their chest.
– Max Girling
Dear Netflix, (Heckler)
Although it began as a handy way to continue watching my favourite show, the automatic ‘next episode’ button is beginning to ruin my life.
At first, it was simple, ten full seconds to exit before it started the next one. You were considerate, charming, helpful, and informative. It gave enough time to dash out and grab a biscuit, maybe a drink if, unlike me, you are someone who doesn’t spill things.
After the novelty wore off however, things went downhill. I find myself stuck there, watching hours of television. The episode ends, you get up to go do something, and then Netflix starts counting down the seconds like a parent trying to get their toddler to hand over that fifth biscuit.
And then what did you go and do?
The timer is gone now, yes, but it’s like seeing the light at the end of a tunnel that turns out to be the headlights of an oncoming train.
Now, the bar fills up faster than Australia changes prime ministers, with not even a countdown to warn you. The rush of panic that ensures when the episode finishes, with us leaping around the room, flinging up pillows and blankets trying to stop the endless march of Netflix episodes. This battle has become part of my existence.
And if you can’t find the remote?
You would think that turning the TV off would be enough to stop Netflix, but flick that switch and you’ve made your first grievous mistake. Next time you press that button to continue with your favourite series, be prepared for the spoilers of a lifetime.
Time flies when you’re not actually watching your show, or you fall asleep, and though you were only in season two when you left – now you’re in season seven and suddenly Chandler and Monica are married, Phoebe is living with Rachel, and every episode up until then has been marked with that red line which you now wish ran along Netflix’s throat.
So, Netflix, next time you try and make a bad thing worse?
You can say goodbye to my subscription…
…right after I finish this episode.
– Genevieve Bland
“Expectation is the root of all heartbreak” – William Shakespeare
It’s your fault. The unfulfillment of desired change within our relationship, had consequences which YOU chose to experience.
My expectations were never too high, your temerarious disposition was simply toxic and manipulative.
An amicable settlement could have been achieved, but you were overly occupied with criminalising your life, the result being the need for “support” from subordinate girls.
Although my loathe grows strong for you, maybe it’s my fault. My foolishness in believing I could change an unchangeable person is shameful. A true disgrace.
Because my respectfulness is superior, I express my deepest condolences towards the death of Suzy.
I understand the significance she had in emotionally supporting you throughout your childhood. It’s heartbreaking knowing she has passed. Luckily, you have your empty-headed blonde girlfriend to support you. Unfortunately, she will never be as supportive as Suzy. Suzy was a one-of-a-kind dog.
– Hannah Dun
Why are you still angry at me? I was never angry at you!
As I sat in such hours obtaining the peace granted by my pardoning, a tranquil heart gave me an understanding beyond reflections of light. Then is when I truly pitied the toil hidden behind your exhibition of power. Under that subservient-casting mane of dignity, are roots of angst which secrete your true disharmony. I am not to blame.
Time bestows you a banquet, yet from such selections you reject liberation: the future. How one deemed with such power, still permits history to consume their happiness is not of my doing. Move on, I care little about you.
Ok, perhaps I have not a tranquil heart, but I still pity you and your obstinate determination to be right. It’s OK, I pardon you; in the end I am right.
I am doing well, healing, moving on. Truly I wish I could say the same about you. But again, once an idiot, always an idiot.
Regards of sorts,
– Hannah Dun
Petals flourish in their belonging ecosystems. When one claims the clouds from the sky as the result of their selfishness, then is when the plants decay, yet their roots still remain fixated within its share of the earth.
I was swallowed by notions of love, daydreams I wished not to awaken from. However, it was such a noxious notion which derived my ability to distinguish between chemistry and compatibility. My grand fixation on nothing but a notion subordinated my own decay. Suddenly, my decay became literal. Obsessions over your potential to change reigned over the simplest of breaths.
The interruption of my fixation, fought with my comfort yet I created my own clouds. Now my petals are mine, and I am acquainted with the bees. My roots forever extend; forever grow. I am nourished and healed. I belong free in my ecosystem.
– Hannah Dun
Jowen Hillyer | Head Teacher English, Languages and HSIE