It turns out high school these days is way cooler than when I went to high school more than 20 years ago.
I endured my high school days at a private school in Brisbane. I say endured because if you didn’t excel academically, as a musician, or a sportswoman, you faded into the background. Each day was the same - try not to fall asleep during class, struggle through Math, and bide my time until lunch when I could catch up with friends. My focus was on getting okay enough grades to secure a place at university and leave my mundane school days behind.
When I was asked to review Grace Lutheran College, I was expecting it to be much the same as my high school experience. But instead I found a bustling and supportive school community, which values and encourages the abilities of each and every student.
Grace’s Rothwell campus was pumping the day I visited. Students were involved in what they call Exo Day, where they raise funds for communities in need. There was a great vibe to the school with students laughing, playing and selling food they had made. The highlight for me was rocking out to two teachers performing top 40 tunes.
I was impressed with how future-focused the school is with a robotics centre, Trade Skills Centre, co-curricular activities, and outdoor education program – but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Grace Lutheran College is a Christian co-educational high school, which caters for secondary students years 7 to 12. More than 1600 students attend Grace across two campuses at Rothwell (near Redcliffe) and Caboolture. While the school has a strong Christian focus, they accept students from all denominations.
Established in 1978, Grace Lutheran College is 35 plus years in the making.
The school describes itself as an all-rounder, giving students opportunities to excel in areas they are naturally drawn to whether it be academics, music, sport, or giving back to the community.
In 2014, 83% of Grace students were on track to attend university – a figure considerably above the state average of 53%. An impressive 98% of students received an offer for tertiary study and 20% more Grace students attended university than the average for their region.
Grace boasts a number of achievements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, including taking out the title for an international robotics competition. They pride themselves on their purpose-built facilities for astronomy and robotics. Grace also offers a program for gifted students.
Grace teachers are specialists in their field. They are committed to getting to know each of their students and working with them to fulfil their potential.
Grace embraces the individual needs of families in its community. It doesn’t matter if you have one child who is musically inclined and another who is sport-focused, the school ensures that each students’ abilities can be nurtured.
I was impressed to learn that one of Grace’s Science teachers recently earned an outstanding science teacher award and another took a group of students to NASA last year.
Students can undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) while attending Grace, giving them a head start on their career. By the time they finish school, a number of Grace students will have qualifications in fields such as Carpentry, Engineering, Construction, Early Childhood, Performance Music, Furnishings, Business plus lots more. A Trade Skills Centre was recently built at the Rothwell campus to encourage VET as a student pathway and to support the ability of students to undertake school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
Grace prides itself on its extensive co-curricular program. More than 80 co-curricular activities are available from sport and dance to theatre and robotics. There is something for everyone and each student is encouraged to sign up.
Googa is an Outdoor Education Program undertaken on private property near Blackbutt. Each year, groups of Year 10 students leave behind their families and technology, to spend four weeks participating in a series of team and individual-based activities. The objectives and benefits of Googa are far-reaching. Students are said to return with an appreciation of what they have in life.
Grace offers co-curricular robotic workshops and programs from Year 7. Students can further their robotics study with a specialised subject in their senior years. Each year Grace hosts the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition. They attend various robotics competitions in Australia and Internationally including recently in Sydney competing as the only Queensland school team.
Grace boasts more than 87 sporting teams and achievements in soccer, netball, athletics, swimming, AFL, waterpolo, volleyball, rugby league, and basketball to name a few.
The Christian faith informs Grace’s pastoral care program, with a focus on values and spiritual development. There is an emphasis on charity, with students not only raising funds for countries in need, but visiting communities to help them rebuild.
Grace offers an Instrumental Program, Film and TV Production, Visual Arts, Dance, Theatre, Drama and musicals. They are proud of their Grace Academy, where students showcase their talents.
Across the two campuses, Grace has a number of swimming pools, ovals, a multi-purpose centre, a Trade Skills Centre, a Senior Studies Centre, Robotics Centre, a dance and drama studio, and more.
The library is open after school and in lunch breaks. Parents can trust that their children are supervised after school in the library, where they receive free tutoring until 6pm.
Grace has nine private buses to transport students to and from school on a daily basis. They also service Grace Primary School, Living Faith Primary School, and St Paul’s Primary School allowing families to travel together. The buses transport students from as far as Dayboro, Chermside and Albany Creek, to Kilcoy, Bribie Island and the Glasshouse Mountains.