H for History
#19: Cameron Sambridge and Daniel Tedeschi
Walking into Black Mountain School (BMS) last month, the Year 10 volunteers and I were chuffed to see that two members on the staff were Radford collegians, Cameron Sambridge (Class of 2016) and Daniel Tedeschi (Class of 2014).
As BMS Principal Lara Coman explains, ‘BMS is an exciting and challenging place to work, and one of the keys to our success is our dedicated staff. Cameron and Daniel were involved in BMS through different programs at Radford College, their interest in working with us was sparked and now as young adults they are employed by us. Both come already having an understanding of what it means to be a part of the BMS community. The way that they interact with our students and help them learn is exceptional’.
Cameron Sambridge is currently in his second year of university and is studying Psychology. ‘I started at BMS at the beginning of this year when I thought about how much I missed doing work which had a real meaning to it. It wasn’t until I had left Radford for a year that I had realised how much I missed it. I now feel like I’ve absorbed a new way to engage and interact with all people and have found a greater sense of belonging.’
Cameron was deeply inspired by the BMS staff: ‘I admire the BMS staff and executives. It’s hard to put in words how much they have opened my eyes in terms of building relationships with kids, learning and teaching’.
Of his time at Radford, Cameron explains that he is ‘probably most grateful for the opportunities which were provided to do communal and meaningful volunteering. These opportunities included BMS visits, Gamilaraay trips and community service. Throughout my time at Radford, I always loved doing disability work and linked it into the Psychology I was interested in’.
Daniel Tedeschi is similarly balancing part-time work and part-time study. ‘I am currently studying politics at UC and I started part-time work at BMS this year. I absolutely love working there. The staff are excellent and I enjoy being part of such a strong team. I initially became involved with Black Mountain and Cranleigh Schools in Year 10, when I volunteered once a week.’
Daniel’s other school highlights include trips to South East Asia and to Gamilaraay Country, where he worked alongside staff and students at Minimbah Primary. ‘I also thoroughly enjoyed my time playing in the various Radford bands and orchestras,’ he adds, highlighting his diversity of interests.
Daniel also gained inspiration from former principal Phillip Heath: ‘He had an incredibly kind and caring nature and a great personal connection with all the students at Radford – and there were so many! I never knew how he remembered so many names’.
And it is this ‘personal connection’ one sees Daniel emulating in his work at BMS. ‘I feel that I can connect well with students with various disabilities. I am patient and it is incredibly rewarding when I witness students succeed in various tasks. I especially enjoy helping the students work in the cafe. I like seeing how this kind of practical activity builds their confidence and social skills.’
I asked both Cameron and Daniel if they had any advice for the current crop of students. ‘First off – to not be stressed,’ suggests Cameron. ‘Stress is a time-muncher which ate away at a lot of my Year 11 and 12 time. Also involve yourself … One of the biggest realisations no one tells you until you leave is that everything at Radford is so readily available. It’s so important to engage because when you leave it’s all up to you.’
Daniel concurs: ‘Take advantage of as much as you can while you are at Radford. It is a great school that offers so much more than just academic outcomes. Take part in co-curricular activities, volunteering etc. These things will provide you with skills that you will use throughout your life!’ He also is quick to advise that when leaving school ‘make sure that you do what makes you happy. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion dictate where you should be or what you should be doing’.
Walking out of Black Mountain School that day, it was hard not to feel proud of these men for returning to a place that evidently left a big impression way back in Year 10. As Principal Lara Coman observes, ‘It is exciting to see the partnership that BMS and Radford continue to grow and impact the lives of so many, even as our students graduate’.
She concludes by stating, ‘We know that we are lucky to have Cameron and Daniel with us while they continue with their studies and determine their next big steps. The skills and values they will take with them in their careers and community lives are at the very heart of what the BMS and Radford partnership tries to achieve: inclusivity and growing and learning together’.