Schools are purposefully and thoughtfully designed. They are more than just a home for learning. They support development and growth. For some they are a home away from home. Schools can be a haven. 

Part of providing a safe space for children to be educated is allowing them to reach their full potential, stretch their thinking and see how far they can go. Recognising that gifted students need support to extend beyond what is expected, Bundaberg Christian College created the Gateway Academy, a gifted and talented program for Prep to Year 12 students, led by Gateway Coordinator Amanda Kelk. 

“The Gateway Program allows students to come together for diverse learning extension opportunities by providing a sanctuary for them to explore their true potential. It exposes them to a much broader range of interest areas and opportunities for global collaboration and challenge,” Amanda said.

“One student has described it as ‘a theme park for my brain, it’s where my mind can play and be excited and unsure at the same time’.”

While traditional gifted and talented programs can focus on intelligence and often neglect other areas such as creative and emotional intelligence, the Bundaberg Christian College program is unique. It offers a more personalised approach, centred around growing a love of learning, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that simply extends specific subject areas.

“Our program reflects the understanding that great problem solvers, innovators and leaders are capable of diverse thinking that stems from domains of giftedness outside of academic intelligence,” Amanda said.

“Students engage in a weekly program designed for each participating student. Each term they explore a new topic, new technologies, new ways of thinking and alternative ways of sharing their discoveries. Each student’s experience within the academy is unique to them.”

In 2022 Gateway students were able to hear from professors, professional scientists and keynote speakers from Cambridge and Oxford universities as a part of the program. They also competed on state, national, and global stages, with the Year 5 and 6 students placing second in the National Virtual debating competition, and a Year 9 team taking first place in the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Award, with their idea for an app to help with mental health.

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Gateway Academy students Heaven Maseesee and Caleb Hill, with Gateway Coordinator Amanda Kelk (centre)