NGS students are learning vital life skills such as leadership and teamwork through the school’s highly respected Service and Adventure Training Unit (SATU).
SATU gives students from Years 7–12 the opportunity to join the Australian Army Cadets and take part in a programme of adventurous military training.
NGS Director of Operations and SATU commanding officer CaptainDuncan McKensey said there were currently 41NGS Cadets, with a growing number of girls encouraged to join in recent years.
There are no prerequisites to join the Co-Curricular programme, although a love of camping and the outdoors is beneficial, he said.
The Cadets gain a range of technical, practical, personal and organisational skills through regular training each Monday afternoon, as well as through four different camps throughout the year (see box).
“The cadet values are courage, initiative and teamwork,” Captain McKensey said. “SATU gives students the opportunity for growth and development. They learn more about themselves and about helping others.”
He has seen many students who are quite insecure when they join SATU grow in confidence and resilience, with some becoming leaders in the School and community.
“It’s about overcoming challenges in a supportive environment,” he said. “I see huge changes in students’ confidence.”
Appreciating the service of others is also a key tenet of SATU, and the NGS Cadets played a key role in this year’s Newcastle ANZAC Day March and Civic Park ANZAC service.
Captain McKensey said several former NGS students have chosen to serve in the armed forces following their time as Cadets. But no matter what future career direction they choose, he said having been a Cadet gives them a real advantage in the competitive quest for scholarships, university places and jobs.