Our much loved art teacher Carole Bowden will be moving down south in July of this year, saying farewell to a teaching career that has spanned nearly two decades at Southern Hills. We take a moment to reflect on her time at Southern Hills.
Ms Bowden began teaching at the Bedfordale campus in 1998, in a small demountable on the grounds of Armadale Christian College. The days of Emmaus were over, SCEA was financially backing the College, but that didn’t mean that money for Art & Design was always available.
“We stored all of our supplies in a sea container until the termites ate through the roof! Phil Davies [the groundsman] helped out so much at that time,” remembers Carole, who came from Calvary Primary School in Hamilton Hill and took on the challenge of teaching secondary students in difficult conditions at the College.
“When I first began teaching here, the kids were rough and tough. I was trying to teaching in very confined spaces and classroom management was quite a challenge.”
A quick look around the large demountable that Ms Bowden has taught in for the last ten years shows previous student work, a pottery slab donated by the Parent Committee and room for more than twenty students to work independently.
“Its much better now than it was”, says Carole, who feels like she has matured over the course of the nineteen years she has taught Art at Southern Hills.
“I care more now. I care for the emotional needs of the students that we teach. We understand more about students’ lives now, and I feel like I have more patience. I have had to be more flexible as a teacher, and this is a good thing.”
The College has called upon Ms Bowden for all manner of needs, including participating in the 2016 Leavers2Leaders Philippines Trip. The 12-day tour is rigorous for all participants, and demonstrated Ms Bowden’s ability to contribute, adapt and work in the challenging conditions that are sometimes thrust upon capable teachers.
“My enduring memory of Southern Hills will be the genuine selflessness of the staff. I say genuine because we are united in Christ, and we work for His glory and it’s a beautiful feeling to work in that kind of environment.”
“One of the great things that I have always valued at Southern Hills is my freedom to share my faith with my students. What an opportunity and a blessing!”
When reminded of her many exploits over the years, Ms Bowden remains as humble as ever.
“God has worked in my circumstances, and it is only through Him that I have grown and stretched during this time. The College may feel that it has benefited from me, but its more true to say that I have benefited from the staff and students at this College.”
As Ms Bowden heads to semi-retirement in Busselton, she will reflect fondly on her time at Southern Hills while taking leisurely walks along the sand on Geographe Bay.
“If I wasn’t at this College, with the staff that have helped me through all these times, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
The College will farewell Ms Bowden at the end of the term.