"I have seen many programs in my 25 years of teaching in public schools. But none have impacted my students more than The Helmsman Project. It is truly a life-changing program, the positive effects of which have filtered through the school and local community in a way I could not have imagined when I became involved in the pilot program in 2013.
I have seen a student transform her academic results to perform better in NAPLAN than anyone else in her year. I have seen a student who suffered from anxiety blossom, better managing her workload and the expectations she places on herself. Another who couldn’t make eye contact before the program can now approach me to resolve matters, and another was recently accepted into a leadership program.
These are just a few examples of the changes that both participants and parents attribute to The Helmsman Project. The unique fusion of professional coaching and adventure education gives students the tools and strategies they need to persevere despite barriers and hardships. It invigorates their passion for learning and gives them confidence to take risks and pursue opportunities.
I hope that in the years to come, The Helmsman Project can offer this rich and fulfilling program to more schools around Australia, so more young people experiencing hardship and disadvantage can gain the skills that will help them reach their full potential. Thanks to the passion and commitment of The Helmsman Project’s volunteers and funders, I am confident that this hope will become a reality."
Mechel is the Principal of Cumberland High School and has extensive leadership and educational experience working in diverse cultures, including in the UK, Greece and Sydney’s western suburbs.