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Sofia Tsibidis has been a student at Alphington Grammar School since she was in pre-prep, aged four. Now in year 12, Sofia has a lot of school-related wisdom to offer other students.

She also has a lot in common with her English teacher and mentor Lukas Silver. Lukas has taught Sofia for the past two years, offering his own advice and wisdom to her.

Along with the mentoring that Lukas provides to Sofia, he is also responsible for the pastoral and academic care of more than 75 students in Socrates House.

Sophia says: 

I’ve been here since pre-prep – and I’m now in year 12 – so this is my only school. I see teachers from primary school every day and they ask me, ‘How are you going?’. They remember me – it’s nice to know they care and I’m not just another number here at the school.

I like how everybody knows everybody here and you can talk to students from all year levels. I have people I know from year 7 up to year 12 and I speak to them all the time. I guess it helps that I have cousins in year 8 and 10 (laughs), but as house captain last year I got to know a lot of students.

Mr Silver was my English teacher, as well as my head of house last year and he’s my English teacher and mentor this year. Because I was house captain last year we got to know each other really well. He’s someone I can talk to, and learn from.

Perfectionist is one word to describe us both and probably why we get along. Because I’m a perfectionist, getting things like homework done by a certain time is really important to me. Mr Silver has taught me to be patient and how to cope with things like stress. I take his strategies and use them at home. Things like planning everything out to see what I have to do and divide it into certain times. I do Greek dancing outside of school on a Tuesday night so I don’t do homework then – I plan around it.

I definitely want to go into the health sector when I finish school – my mum and my sister both work in the health sector. My goal is to go to Deakin University and study health science and major in health promotion and sustainability. I’d like to work in health promotion with organisations like the Cancer Council.

We have a program here called Gateways and the year 9s and 10s go away for up to five weeks, depending on the trip – everyone goes together. It’s great because we all get to know each other across both year levels. It means we’re working together really well now we’re in year 11 and 12.

After this year I’m not sure what I’m going to do because I won’t be at Alphington, life will be very different. There are four of us remaining who have been here since pre-prep so it will be a challenge for us all.

Lukas says: 

This is my third year at Alphington Grammar School. I left the UK after 12 years teaching there when I decided to come home. Australia’s my home and this was the first job that I applied for. I had two other interviews with other schools and got offers but for some reason I felt a connection to Alphington, it’s a unique school and has a lot to offer, that was evident when I first visited the school.

I teach English, I’m head of Socrates House and also co-head of English.

I think it was a natural fit for me to become Sofia’s mentor. Sofia was the newly elected house captain when I assumed the role of head of Socrates last year – it made sense. Part of Sofia’s role as house captain was to meet me regularly to discuss the house pastoral curriculum and organise house-related events. We established an effective working relationship, enhancing lines of communication between the students and the house staff. Sofia was the conduit between the students and house staff.

We meet every morning – sometimes I have no choice (laughs) – Sofia has amazing organisational capabilities and wants to take on as much as possible to develop her leadership skills. She’s very keen to get the lowdown on what’s happening in the house that day and if there’s anything she needs to be involved in or help with. She is also passionate about being the person who will talk to house staff on behalf of other students. She’s a great advocate.

At sporting carnivals – swimming, athletics and cross-country – Sofia [and other house leaders] will co-ordinate the competitors into activities and races, oversee the operation and provide me with progress reports when requested (laughs).

At university I studied English literature and history. My passion for English grew and it became clear that I wanted to do something with English as a career – I’m certainly not a mathematician – so it was either teaching or journalism. I decided teaching was the way to go, thankfully.

Here at Alphington I love seeing kids achieve their academic and personal potential and reach the goals that they’ve set for themselves. I love working with young people because I think they keep us oldies young.

Alphington Grammar

Alphington Grammar School