“I was in a dark place before attending Chapel School. My parents split up when I was young so I juggled between living in Perth and Sydney. I had attended 13 different schools between two states before even beginning Year 10.
“Being moved around so much meant I could never make any friends or form any meaningful relationships and this took a great toll on me. I spent the majority of my time feeling anxious and depressed and barely attended school.
“I acted out and caused a lot of grief for my family, especially my dad who tried his best to provide me with as much stability as possible, despite battling his own personal struggles.
“I ended up moving to Sydney permanently at the start of 2019 and lived in share accommodation as I wasn’t able to stay with Dad.
“I felt hopeless and lost and began to feel as though I would never amount to anything. The thought of going to school made me anxious and I didn’t see the point in going anyway.
“It wasn’t until I got a referral to become a student at Chapel School in the middle of 2019 when things began to turn around. I remember at the end of my intake interview thinking: ‘I could actually do well here’, and although it took time and didn’t happen overnight, I began to make friends and even started to get good grades.
“Since enrolling at Chapel School, I have been attending class more than ever with the support of the youth workers and teachers who always take the time to check in on me and ask if I need help with anything. I was even able to attend my first school camp and here I learnt to ride a bike for the first time!
“I can proudly say that last year was my best year ever. I ended up with really good results in all my assessment tasks and even gained part-time employment through the ACCOR program offered at the school.
“To top it off, I won the highest award possible at the school presentation day in recognition of how much I have improved since I started at YOTS!
“With all the changes and opportunities that Chapel has brought to my life I can finally see a bright future ahead of me.”
Isabel* is now in year 11 and until recently has been attending class remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown. She says that this did not deter her learning and she enjoyed collaborating on projects online with her fellow students.
*Name and image changed to protect the privacy of the young person