In November, three faculty and staff members, Mr. Dan Carmody, Ms. Suzanne Wilzbach, and Ms. Allison Rosshirt, traveled to Sydney, Australia, as part of the Exploratory Team to organize a partnership between BC High and St. Ignatius College, Riverview. The trip not only marked the first time that BC High explored the continent of Australia, but also was the first partnership where BC High teamed up with another U.S. school, Fordham Prep from New York City, to create a Hyde Center program.
While in Sydney, the Exploratory Team was able to sit in on classes within their academic disciplines, as well as observe many other aspects of the school. Allison observed a Year 10 and a Year 11 math course, while Suzanne collaborated with the staff of Riverview’s Pastoral Care Center and with the University Admission Counselor. The team visited the Riverview Junior School, Regis Campus, which is home to Year 5 and Year 6 students. These boys are offered a large variety of courses, including art, music, coding, and all of the major disciplines. At the high school level, we were able to observe the culminating project which required students to propose changes to Australian law. Presenting to members of the Australian government, students utilized Catholic Social Teaching and Australian laws to support their arguments for change. High school students at Riverview are also offered a large variety of courses, including agriculture, because of the history of farming families at Riverview.
Our team also had the pleasure of meeting with Malarndirri McCarthy, a Yanyuwa woman from the Northern Territory of Australia. Malarndirri is a journalist and the recipient of the 2014 Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards Journalist of the Year. She works with Riverview to provide their students with experiences with indigenous people and to create a cross-cultural exchange program between Riverview and Borroloola. Our team is excited to continue communicating with Malarndirri to learn more about the indigenous culture of Australia and to incorporate these cultural exchanges into our BC High trips in the future.
The success of the visit has led to the establishment of a BC High/Fordham Prep academic and service trip to Riverview for three weeks in June, as well as a three week Riverview exchange to both Boston and New York City in September. BC High and Fordham Prep students will participate in a homestay, academic study, and a five-day service experience with their host brothers. The Riverview students will split their time between Boston and New York City. While at BC High, they will be a part of our classrooms and will also experience a Wilderness Retreat. In addition to our partnership with Riverview, we are in continued discussions to create a future partnership with St. Aloysius College, another Jesuit school in Sydney. We are also in continued discussions with Riverview about short-term and long-term teacher exchanges in the future.