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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Growing independence hits the right note

Nicholas Campbell and Lachlan Bilsborough are much like many other teen boys; they love music, socialising, and are excited by their increasing independence.

And, with preparations for their graduation from St Dominic’s Centre in Mayfield now well underway, the duo promises to bid farewell to their peers in spectacular fashion.

“There will be lots of singing and dancing,” Lachlan says.

Andrew Drinkwater, who taught both Nicholas and Lachlan, said the K-10 school community would miss them.

“The guys are fantastic fun to be around,” he said.

“They have excelled in their leadership roles within the school this year, and as much as we’re excited for them to graduate, we’ll also miss their presence.”

Mr Drinkwater said International Day of People with Disability (Thursday 3 December) was the perfect opportunity for the community to stop and consider the unique abilities of each person.

“[The day] is not about focusing on people’s disability, but rather what we can all learn from each other,” he said.

“The students at St Dominic’s, including Nicholas and Lachlan, continue to inspire me each day and bring so much joy to our community.”

In 2021, Lachlan and Nicholas will attend St Francis Xavier’s College in Hamilton, where they will complete the HSC Life Skills Syllabus for Years 11 and 12.

It is a prospect that excites them both.

“I am looking forward to seeing our old friends from St Dom’s, who started at the school this year,” Nicholas said.

His mother, Vanessa Campbell, said the transition between schools was another step in the duo’s journey towards independence.

“I think Nicholas will benefit from the different social interactions,” she said.

“It will be a good opportunity for him to learn to navigate a new environment.”

Like Nicholas, Lachlan has attended the St Dominic’s Centre since they entered Year 7 in 2017.

Lachlan’s mother, Jo Bilsborough, said it was initially daunting to move her son from a mainstream school to St Dominic’s, which provides education to children with a range of disabilities, including hearing impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Moderate Cognitive disability.

“It was such a big decision to make, but it was the best decision we’ve ever made,” she said.

“At first, I thought that the move might cause him to regress; however, it’s been the opposite.

“The teachers at St Dominic’s are so passionate; they want to be there with the kids, and they love them as much as the parents do. It’s incredible.”

Ms Bilsborough said the staff at St Dominic’s had supported her son endlessly, and forged opportunities to support his interest and talents, particularly in music.

“It will be sad to see him leave, but he is ready for the next stage,” she said.

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