Case Study – Lavender
When Lavender started in Year 7 she quickly proved to be a bright student who read widely, had an affinity with the Arts and very capable in all areas of the curriculum related to language. She was also a very good swimmer. Initially she was well accepted by her peers, but later in Year 7 and in Year 8, Lavender began to withdraw from her circle of school friends. She became quite isolated and had very few close friends. She began to mix with older people outside of school, many of whom she had met via the internet.
Although quite mature socially, Lavender felt that she had little in common with her school peers and became quite depressed and started having suicidal thoughts.
At school she did quite well in classes where she could relate to the teacher, but ‘coasted’ in subjects she saw no relevance in. After school, she was often out late and her parents were frequently concerned for her safety.
Lavender’s social and emotional difficulties continued throughout Years 8, 9 and 10. It was during these years that Lavender participated in the HOL program. It provided her with an environment where she felt comfortable and accepted, and gave her some much-needed stability. While attending, she developed a number of good relationships and began to feel re-connected as a result, however she continued to set herself apart from ‘mainstream’ students—maintaining her individuality and relating more meaningfully with older generations.
During her work experience placement in Year 10, Lavender made some connections that helped her to establish personal goals for VCE. She was then able to choose subjects that challenged and engaged her throughout Years 11 and 12. She completed her VCE with an outstanding score of 93.5 per cent. Although she continued to struggle emotionally, the close connections she had establish with her teachers and with some of her friends who also joined HOL assisted her throughout this time.
She has now entered university life.
Extract from notes made by Bob Cooper, Welfare Officer FHS.