This afternoon Ashley Botfield and Emily McCauley submitted their Extension 2 English Major works to NESA thus marking the first HSC subject to be completed by students of AISHK for 2020.
Extension 2 English is one of the most academically rigorous subjects offered in the HSC and requires students to commit themselves to a robust process of research and composition. Over the course of 12 months, students are provided with the opportunity to pursue their English based passions and to develop their own personal voice. Most importantly, Extension 2 English provides students with a platform to present themselves as bright, young intellectuals with something important and profound to say. What Ashley and Emily have managed to achieve in a 12-month period that has been hampered by protests and now Covid-19, is nothing short of amazing. They have never faltered, never complained and produced Major Works that they can both be incredibly proud of.
Ashley’s Major Work, Four Walls is a highly engaging Performance Poem that explores the impact of place and culture on the formation of personal identity. Stemming from personal experience, the poem presents the perspective of Alice, a teenager and ‘third culture kid’ who moves from the Hills district in Sydney to the bustling city of Hong Kong; a place that just like Alice, is striving to shape its own identity. Alice’s plight is made all the more difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic and broader political unrest in Hong Kong. Ashley has taken an experimental approach to her composition and produced a performance that is original, insightful and emotionally stirring for the listener.
Emily’s Major Work, Beams of Light is a nuanced Short Story that explores the tensions between the past and the present in the perception of self-actualisation. Inspired by the writing of Gail Jones, Tim Winton and Virginia Woolf, Emily takes a multi-perspective approach to challenge the Platonic ‘Myth of Aristophanes’. The plot centres on the character of Lucy; a 30-year-old-woman from a small town who finds herself apathetically discontent with her relationship and more broadly, her life. Beams of Light is notable for its restrained but lyrical prose and the purposeful use of light-based imagery that acts as an extended metaphor for the protagonist’s journey.
The Major Work is a self-directed project, but Ashley and Emily should be commended for the collaborative approach that they have taken this year. They have been with each other every step of the way; sharing ideas in the concept development phase, offering suggestions in the composition phase and most recently, advice and proof-reading services as the submission deadline loomed large! They have been each other’s biggest champion throughout this entire process, and it has been an absolute privilege to guide them on this journey and to observe their growth as individuals and as composers.
Special thanks to Mr Peter Phillips for assisting with internal assessment and to Mrs Janine Haymes for her tireless support, especially over the last three weeks.
Congratulations Ashley and Emily; I hope that this is just the beginning of your journey. May you never lose your love of literature and language.
Jo Craig | English Extension 2 Teacher