Academy helps Brody get life back on track

Brody (15) with Communicare Academy principal Gigi Thiele. Picture: David Baylis d422608
Brody (15) with Communicare Academy principal Gigi Thiele. Picture: David Baylis d422608

The academy, started this year, helps high school-aged teenagers considered at risk, or ‘disengaged’, complete their schooling in an alternative environment.

Cannington charity Communicare runs the non-government school, which also provides counselling, financial help, cultural services and employment pathways for students such as Brody (15), who was referred after he came into contact with the justice system.

Brody said he used to attend his former school once a week, at most.

He fell behind with his schoolwork, felt as though he would never catch up and felt angry and frustrated.

‘I was bullied and picked on,’ he said.

‘The only way I knew how to deal with the pressure was to get into fights.’

Brody said he started to hang out with the ‘wrong crowd’ and got into trouble for loitering and vandalism.

His first day at the academy surprised him.

‘I thought it’d be just like my old high school,’ he said.

‘But it’s not. We don’t have to wear uniforms and (my friends are) really supportive.

‘I guess most of us have been bullied or picked on, so they know what it’s like.’

The Year 10 student, whose attendance record is now near-perfect, said his teachers were patient and understanding and gave him extra help if he stayed behind to catch up.

He said the school had made him realise that he could achieve whatever he wanted in life.

‘I want to join the navy with my twin brother and travel the world,’ he said.

‘Once I receive my Year 10 qualifications, I’ll be able to work towards that.’

The academy is now accepting enrolments for next year for years 7 to 12, and students can self-refer.

Call 6350 1872 or visit communicare academy.wa.edu.au