Our delightful French exchange student Solene Jarrousse leaves us in a week’s time. She has spent the past year as a senior student at the school and living with Rotary and school families, the Morrices and the Andersons. Solene is special. She has a maturity and a sense of composure that sets her apart. She is brave and adventurous, curious and deep-thinking. Solene’s approach with people is gentle and courteous and she has a lovely sense of fun and spirit.
Every moment of her exchange has been well spent. Her academic performance is to be commended (she was in the extension English class!) and her command of English has sky-rocketed. Solene has made many friends; life-long buddies that will miss her dearly when she takes off next Monday for her home town of St Nazaire in the North West corner of France.
Solene has visited many exceptional places in our state and beyond, culminating in the Rock and Surf Safari over 3 weeks where the entire exchange group travelled across the centre of Australia all the way to Sydney. She has learnt to surf, relished our unique cuisine, slept under the stars in a swag and encountered many of our native animals especially the nasty ones. Luckily that does not include a great white shark!
Solene’s parents (Emmanuel and Marie-Helene) visited South Australia earlier this year and loved our state. They have spent considerable time in Sydney while at University (they both studied optometry) and knew that Australia was the perfect destination for their daughter. They too have that pioneering spirit, that willingness to get out of comfort zones and experience the world. So much comes from these international experiences. Solene has a global outlook, a new-found confidence that she can take on any challenge and a full, rich understanding of people and what makes them tick. She has been wonderfully supported by the Coromandel Rotary Club, who have forged an enduring partnership with St John’s over the past 15 years. They provide terrific opportunities for our students (exchanges, National Youth Science Forums, RYPEN leadership camps) and continue to look to add new experiences.
The school avidly supports exchanges. They are an additional part of an educational experience that sets young people up for life. The purpose is not about heading overseas, ticking off a list of well known tourist sites and enjoying the fruits of a different culture. The true mission is to undertake a journey of personal growth that helps shape future direction and gives clarity and meaning to the next stages of a young life. There is not one experience that has not generated that desired result. If you, as a family, are considering an exchange, the whole process can be ignited by one phone call to me. Rotary are looking for our young stars to send overseas. Year 10 is the best year to do this as it does not interfere with the SACE requirements and the school is flexible with school fee arrangements and other considerations. Having the support and care of Rotary gives parents that much-needed reassurance that their son and daughter will be well looked after. It certainly is worth considering.
Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal