Self-worth comes first

Front: Alayna Cananzi and Jaegar Dedrick. Back: teacher Rebecca Flack, principal Dave Stevens and school chaplain Anne-Marie Churchill. Picture: Emma Reev d419700
Front: Alayna Cananzi and Jaegar Dedrick. Back: teacher Rebecca Flack, principal Dave Stevens and school chaplain Anne-Marie Churchill. Picture: Emma Reev d419700

But three years on and she is able to speak about anxiety and self-harm in front of 120 students.

Jaegar is just one student to benefit from Alta-1 ” a school for at-risk teenagers.

‘A lot of people think Alta-1 is just for the stupid people, people who don’t fit in or can’t handle anything, but it’s not,’ she said.

‘It’s for normal kids who just have a lot of stuff going on and Alta-1 helps them realise they need help to change, so they can have a better life. They’re just normal kids having a second go, they’re not giving up.’

Jaegar and other female students from the existing Alta-1 Joondalup mixed campus recently moved to a new all-girls campus, also in Joondalup.

Their new campus, in premises once occupied by the now defunct Catalyst Schools, caters for about 30 teenage students.

Classes include Year 11 and 12 elementary maths and English, food science and ‘personal recovery’ classes, including the Hope Defines Her school project run by education assistant Evana Lam.

‘A lot of them have stories, they’ve got issues at home or they’ve had someone hurt them, they’ve had an incident happen to them that’s out of their control, then they go to a mainstream school and they get lost in the system,’ she said.

‘Not only are they dealing with their issues, they’re having to go to school and have girls turn their pain into something funny ” how is a broken girl supposed to recover?’ she asked,

For information about the Joondalup schools for teenagers at risk, visit www.alta-1.com.au.