Our Transition Program in 2020 has broadened Year 10s minds and equipped them with some more life skills as they journey through the transition from boyhood into manhood. The theme that has underpinned the whole program has been honour and respect, and a further exploration of the identity of men in today's world has been threaded into many of the week’s sessions. The program ensured that our students attain not only life skills, but also to give them an understanding about where they fit into the world and the important part they play, as well as understanding that their actions make an impact not only on themselves, but on other peoples lives.

The program included special guest speakers such as Jack Ellis from Enlighten Education, Goodfellas, The Panel of Men, attaining White Cards, CPR training, LYL training, Year 10 Stepping Up and Career options. We were also lucky that some of our students shared their thoughts and observations as part of the sessions. 

On one of the days, our guest speaker Jack spoke passionately to the boys about the many myths and pressures that surround them today. His frank and honest discussion captivated the boys from the beginning with powerful messages of respect, emotion and breaking down stereotypes, allowing the boys to recognise and enhance the strengths and differences, that they, our young men, our good fellas can make in the world.

The Walk the Talk education initiative program was launched in 2019 to fifteen schools, and Oakhill College was one of these schools. This pioneering program builds awareness of domestic violence and women’s homelessness and Walk the Talk empowers young people to support local women and children in need by ‘adopting’ a local shelter. Oakhill’s adopted shelter is The Sanctuary, whom we have already raised over $3,000 for, and made numerous donations to since the program’s inception. 

Year 10 students also listened to presentations by our teachers on pathways beyond school and Year 10 students, Marcus, Matthew and Harrison presented on the findings from the recent ‘Steppin Up’ Study Skills Program which Year 10 recently completed, facilitated by the College Librarians. The findings demonstrated that Year 10 students know the distractors to study success as well as the strategies to overcome these. 

Our Panel of Men, titled 'Be Brave' was hosted by two of Oakhill’s teachers Mr Nathan Jones and Mr Matthew Rath and was a targeted session where four guest speakers shared insights from their life experiences. Our guest speakers, Tim Mannah - Ex-NRL Parramatta Eels now works for the Parramatta Eels organisation, Jason Stewart - Mental health Support officer NRL, Sergeant Duncan Abernathy BM VA - Police Force and Russell Garnett – alumni and Managing Director and Founder of Urban and an Olympian, continued our theme of identity of men in today's world, peer pressure, resilience and language/violence against women. These men openly discussed and shared with the boys their life experiences, the hurdles they have had to overcome, the dreams they've wanted to achieve and the often long and difficult path to achieve these dreams. After the panel, the students then heard from Zac Craig, an Indigenous young man who works with the Back Track Program – which enables young people who have lost their way to reconnect with education and training, become work ready and secure meaningful employment. They help get young people ‘back on track’ by developing strong, happy and healthy foundations that result in positive life pathways and full participation in their communities. The boys were mesmerised by his honest, heart wrenching stories. We thank all our speakers this week for their contribution to our program.

The week finished with the students in small groups where the boys had time to chat freely and safely with a male mentor and to also connect with one another and celebrate all of their successes this year. 

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