De La Salle’s HSC design projects cream of the crop

De La Salle Cronulla graduates Mia Flokis and Claudia Rayer with Design and Technology teacher Sara Gamsaragan. Photo: Kitty Beale

Design and technology graduates at De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla are in good form for future endeavors, with the socially relevant design projects of a record 15 students nominated for HSC showcase Shape.

Each was crafted with a healthy dose of perseverance and passion, though the real secret to their success was to start at a point of need.

“My passion is socially relevant design, so I encourage my students to watch news and current affairs to identify real needs in the world that they, as designers, can address,” said Sara Gamsaragan, who taught nine of the College’s 15 nominees.

It is another significant success for the fifth-year teacher, whose students gained first and second place in the subject in 2016 from a candidature of more than 3,200 NSW students.

Sara is a past student of De La sale who also completed a design and technology major work as a student. She said her success as a teacher is due in large part to her passion for the subject and mentoring from other teachers.

My passion is socially relevant design, so I encourage my students to …identify real needs in the world.

– Sara Gamsaragan

“I have been lucky to work in a department at the College where the experienced teachers take the time and care to develop younger teachers,” she said.

“My colleagues have years of HSC marking experience and I also have a network of other senior markers whom I can call upon for advice and feedback. I’ve learnt a great deal from watching my departmental coordinator, Ron Matthews, teaching students how to deal with the demands of the written paper.

“I also have the advantage of consulting with my experienced colleague Paul Wallis who teaches classes parallel to mine and who received 6 student nominations for Shape.”

Design and Technology classes are taught in three streams and attract about 60 students each year. All in the department work closely together to give students the support and skills they need to turn their ideas into a high-calibre project.

“A lot of the students want to get in and they want to make something straight away,” Ms Gamsaragan said.

“I have to pare that back and remind them that we have a design process to get through, to say their current vision for what that project should be is going to change because as you go through the design process it naturally will evolve.”

Claudia Reyer’s mixed media project highlights the plight of endangered animals around the world.

She designed a tutu, and choreographed and filmed a dance routine for its wearer to draw attention to their habitat loss.

“My need meant something to me, and pushed me to design and create a project that would actually make a difference,” she said. “Constant exposure to case studies made it easier to make connections between course content and the real world.”

Classmate Mia Flokis designed ALLsome, an initiative to help primary school children with diverse needs feel socially included at school. “My project has taught me about the real need for social inclusion initiatives in schools and just how willing children are to help children with diverse needs with the right guidance,” she said.

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