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Meet the locals: Georgia Shick

05-Mar-2015

Georgia Shick from Lord Howe Island

Contributed by Lena Thompson Growing up on Lord Howe Island seems ideal when you can ride your bike to school, in bare feet, and work in a composite class with all of your best friends. Although, it’s not always easy. Quick yet theatrical sixth generation islander, Georgia Shick, did it the hard way and talks about the freedom and faults of school life on Lord Howe.

During Georgia’s time at Lord Howe Island Central School (LHICS), there were two teachers - one who taught Kindergarten to Year Two and the other who taught Year Three to Year Six. “Dorothea Wilson was my kindy teacher, then I had Miss Keogh for Years One and Two, Miss Cutler for Years Three and Four, and Five to Six was Mrs. Patterson,” says Georgia. Having those kids from different years all together must have been challenging for the teachers, however Georgia says that she didn’t notice that there were different age groups in the class. She tells me that this was the best thing about school on the island, because friends were made no matter their age. “We’ve still got the same group of friends we did when we first started school.

People often think that school on a remote island, with a small number of students, would have limited extracurricular activities, however Georgia assures me that this wasn’t the case. “Sport was every Friday and we would do different things: basketball, baseball, cricket, and when there were carnivals coming up we would do swimming in the ocean to prepare. When we got older we would swim out to Rabbit Island and back, and go surfing.” I ask her if she feels as though she missed out on inter-school sport, as island kids were unable to compete against other schools. “Not really in regard to sport because I was into drama. I liked it over here, but looking back, I would have liked the drama and dance options in primary school. I feel like I missed out on that. The end of school play was always the highlight for me,” she laughs.

At the end of primary school there are two options for island kids, either to do distance education in a separate room off the library at LHICS, or go to boarding school. Georgia was only 11 turning 12 going into Year Seven, so she decided to do a year of distance education through Camden Haven High School. Georgia is a voluble girl, and often got into trouble in primary school, so distance education was an experiment. After a year of having fun with the young kids and trying to do her work, without much direction, Georgia had to repeat Year Seven. “I had a great year in distance ed, but it wasn’t that good for my education because I really needed someone to push me along.

Georgia repeated Year Seven off the island, and boarded at St. Scholastica’s College in Glebe. She did better at school and thrived on the new opportunities. “I didn’t get as homesick as everyone else did. The loss of Lord Howe freedom got me a little bit. At home I could walk out the door and go to the beach, but at school, I had to sign out anytime I wanted to leave.” But when one door closes, another opens. “I couldn’t do drama by distance education on Lord Howe, but when I could pick my electives at boarding school, it was double drama – the best combination ever!

Georgia is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Film, Screen Production and Theatre. It’s clear that she was destined for a life in drama, and without boarding school, she could never have made the most of her opportunities. Georgia loves university and her Sydney life, but says it’s nice to know she can always come home.

(Thanks for the photo Niki To!)

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