Stepping Up and Stepping Out

The Helena Experience Monday, 01 July 2024

Year 9 is a milestone year at Helena College, marking a student’s move from Middle School to their important final three years at school. As part of preparing students to take the next step in their school journey, the Year 9s take on a long-term self-designed capstone project.

The Year 9 Project is a rare opportunity for students to direct their own learning and then evaluate the outcome. The Project is a work of the students’ own initiative that reflects a commitment to a chosen area they wish to explore further. Using the Helena College Student Learning Goals as a framework, students can focus on any topic or activity that truly sparks their interest.

The project runs over nine months, making it a sustained, in-depth inquiry that allows students to not only consolidate their learning, but gives them the opportunity to develop a better understanding of their own learning potential through achieving a challenging goal.

Projects can be completed either individually or in a team. Students are supported by a project supervisor from within the College. They are also encouraged to find a mentor from outside the school. However, even with this ongoing support, it is the student’s responsibility to complete all components of the project, resulting in an original art work, an original written piece, or an invention. At the conclusion of the project, students present their work to a panel for evaluation and marking.

Projects are required to fit into one of the following categories:

  • Personal Development – a project that deals with and benefits the physical, social and mental health of the student or others
  • Environmental – a project that involves studying, creating and benefiting the environment in some way
  • Research based – a project that involves researching a topic at length and reporting on the findings
  • Community focused – a project that benefits a local, national or international community group
  • Innovation – a project that involves learning a skill or set of skills and creating something with those new-found skills.

Helena College Principal, Peter Coombs, said that the quality of projects that are produced each year are a testament to the passion and commitment of the Year 9s, as well as the rich variety of interests they have.

    “We are consistently in awe of what our young people can achieve – from organising a grant to refurbish community basketball courts, or making the perfect Japanese pancake through to examining the impact of fast fashion or improving their golf game, the outcomes we see each year are simply amazing.”

    Limited enrolment opportunities are now available in Year 9 2025. For more information, we invite you to book one of our upcoming tours of Helena College’s Senior School, located in Glen Forrest. Alternatively, please contact our Enrolments Coordinator at or (08) 9298 9100.