When Mowbray College’s Year 12 Captain David Yang was asked how fellow students were supporting one another during this stressful period, he simply answered, “laughter”.
After Mowbray College accumulated over $18 million in debt, the school was forced to unexpectedly shut its gates, leaving hundreds of students struggling to find another suitable school before the commencement of Term Three.
VCE is undoubtedly the most stressful year most teenagers will experience; for the college’s 273 displaced VCE students, the added stress is unimaginable.
Even more vulnerable are the many students involved in the International Baccalaureate, Mowbray being the only college in Melbourne’s west to offer this course.
“I was so sure they would keep the International Baccalaureate going,” said VCE student Denee, who is now struggling to find a school that offers the program within a reasonable distance and with reasonable fees.
Yang, who planned big things for his school captaincy, is devastated at not being able to see out his year. Though he puts on a brave smile to provide solace for his classmates, he is despondent because the “atmosphere at Mowbray is unmatched… It will never be the same.”
Stuart Andrews, principal of Keilor Downs Secondary College (one of the schools in the west which many Mowbray students are considering) discussed the stress parents faced when trying to search for a new and second best school. “We’ve had parents come in for three school tours,” he said. “It’s a first. Parents just really want to ensure that their child’s life isn’t severely disrupted again.”
How Mowbray College accumulated over $18 million in debt is still unclear. So too are the futures of these vulnerable students, whose lives have suddenly been thrown into disarray.