Naracoorte local Ben Homan is blazing his own trail, combining a cabinet-making apprenticeship in Adelaide with his Year 12 studies and First XI College cricket.
He juggles all this while boarding away from home, in what is believed to be a state first.
Ben works for Thorne Constructions at West Lakes on Mondays and Tuesdays and drives back to Rostrevor College’s boarding house on Tuesday evening to get ready for school for the next three days.
“When I was offered the job, I jumped at it straight away, but I also wanted to complete Year 12 so my parents and I spoke to the school to see if we could work something out,” Ben said.
“I’m really happy I’m able to get my SACE, stick with my sport and my mates and work as well – it’s a good transition to a permanent job I think.”
The college has welcomed six new students from the South East this year, further bolstering camaraderie within the tight-knit boarding community. Some are the younger brothers of existing students who have benefitted from Rostrevor’s broad curriculum and strong academic, music and sport focus.
Ben has been joined by his Year 9 brother Luke Homan while Year 9 Darcy McKenny, from Naracoorte, is joining brother Liam, who is in Year 11. Brothers Andrew and Oscar Klose, from Lucindale, are in Year 12 and 11 respectively.
Principal Brian Schumacher said traditional school models did not work for every student and good, modern education required “thinking outside the square”.
“We try extremely hard to cater to the interests of each boy and this flexible study, boarding and employment option is a good example of that,” he said.
Mr Schumacher said the arrangement between Ben, the college and his employer meant Ben could complete his SACE, enjoy important “rite of passage” events such as graduation ceremonies and school formals, and keep his place in the First XI cricket side – currently the most successful college team in the state.
Ben is a top-order batsman and bowler for the side, which won the metropolitan schools’ T20 Bowl trophy late last year, remains undefeated in its past 13 games and currently leads the college Shield (40-overs) competition.
His younger brother Luke also made an impressive debut in his first match for Rostrevor’s top Year 9 side at the weekend, taking four wickets and scoring more than 40 runs.
“Being selected for the First XI at the end of Year 10 was probably the highlight of my time at the college, so I really didn’t want to give that up,” Ben said
Ben said he was managing to remain focused on his Year 12 subjects English, Technology and Religious Studies, but “probably enjoyed working more”.
“Once I finish my schooling, I will go full-time at work, but will know I have my SACE as well,” he said.
“I still might want to be a teacher down the track and I want to keep my options open at least, although I’ve always loved building and being creative and am pretty hands-on.”
The college aims to further bolster its South East connections at the SE Field Days at Lucindale on March 15-16, where Rostrevor teacher Michael Vickery, son of Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery, will be on hand to speak to local families.