Mater Christi College Dux’s passion for Art and Music

Mater Christi dux_storyThe VCE Seasons of Excellence Top Designs 2017 exhibition will be officially launched on Friday 17 March 2017 at the Melbourne Museum, Carlton. It opens to the public from Saturday 18 March and closes on Sunday 16 July 2017. One exhibitor is Saran Kim and this is her story.

When international student Saran Kim began in Year 7 at Mater Christi College, Belgrave, she ‘could not speak English at all’. However, due to what Principal Mary Fitz-Gerald describes as her ‘artistic skills, tenacity and hard work’ upon completing Year 12 in 2016 Saran has accumulated an impressive array of awards and accolades including College Co-Captain and College Dux (with an ATAR of 99.8).

Among Saran’s many achievements during her six years at Mater Christi are:

  • International Student Year 11 Arts Achievement Award
  • Folio for Visual Communication Design selected for exhibition for VCE Seasons of Excellence
  • Member of the College Arts Committee and International Student Council
  • Performer in the school orchestra, jazz band, rock band and other small ensembles playing piano, drums and saxophone
  • Early offer to study at the University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Design (architecture).

Here Saran describes her time at Mater Christi College and her future plans:

I commenced the secondary education at Mater Christi College from Term 2 in 2011. I chose Mater because I loved the unique representation of artworks created by students, which I observed all around the school during my first visit with family when I was in Year 5. 

Initially I could not speak English at all, so I struggled to communicate with friends and teachers. However, being the only Japanese student at school encouraged me to jump into groups of local students with various cultural backgrounds, which eased my worries and anxiety in everyday life. 

From the end of Year 9 I spent time with host families. Living with host families allowed me to experience the true Australian lifestyle. 

I had the great opportunity to be a part of the music program at Mater. In the music groups, such as Orchestra and Jazz Band, I enjoyed learning musical instruments as I was surrounded by wonderful, passionate musicians. Through school, I had numerous opportunities to perform music in front of audience and they helped me accumulate the confidence and passion in music. 

My interests in visual arts was developed throughout the six years at Mater. Not only did I find excitement in presenting artworks to the school community, I also loved creating folios, recoding all my thoughts and processes undertaken to produce artworks. In art classes, I was thankful of my teachers who provided me with advices that extended my ability to consider conceptually and thoughtfully. 

I often create multimedia artworks, involving a wide variety of materials and techniques. Common themes include human relationship with nature, and the interest in the geometric configuration. One of my final artworks I made in VCE Studio Arts, titled Nuclei, was a response to the nuclear power plant accidents in Japan in 2011, which impacted significantly on the society, environment and people around the world. I combined fused clear glass and papercut to emphasise the vulnerability of the environment. Through this artwork, I could convey my concerns over the diffusion of radioactive substances and the fragility of the ecological balance. 

Becoming the recipient of the Year 11 International Student Arts Achievement Award meant a lot to me, since it proved that my passion in visual arts and music had been successfully communicated not only within the school community, but also in the wider communities. I felt that achieving this award was the product of the wonderful relationship with my teachers and friends who supported me.  

One of my roles as College Co-Captain was to communicate with students in various year levels, in order to make their school life better. In addition to writing speeches, organising the Year 12 Formal and meeting guests as a student representative, I was passionate about creating the general noticeboard and making videos shown during assemblies, to engage with students and to be a trustworthy, friendly and approachable leader. 

In order to balance my studies and extra-curricular activities, in the beginning of terms, I created a weekly timetable from 7am on Monday to 10pm on Sunday, showing the approximate timeframes for activities. By having full control over study time, appointments, free time and time to practice instruments, I was able to make a steady study plan while being flexible with any changes to the plan. 

I received a call from the Principal to tell me I was College Dux when I was at home in Japan. It was great to be able to share this news with my family, especially with my parents, who supported me throughout six years from Japan.  

The representation of my design work at Top Designs has been a dream as I have been visiting the exhibition regularly since early secondary school. Seeing the designs of past students encouraged me to be focused and motivated in working towards the creation and selection of my designs.  

I have received an early offer from the University of Melbourne for Bachelor of Design. I am looking forward to start studying architecture from this February. 

I am hoping to become an art director with backgrounds in architecture and graphic design, who is able to offer the society new perspectives on the environment we live in, through the presentation of conceptual and innovative ideas and design.  

Saran spoke with Catholic Education Melbourne last year about her teachers at Mater Christi College.