“I honestly didn’t think I’d get accepted into a composition-based course at ‘The Con’, so it still feels very surreal,” said Bella, who was also recognised as a Distinguished Achiever for HSC Music 1, Advanced English and English Extension 1.
“Music as a career seems very daunting, because there’s so much to learn and so much to navigate in the highly competitive industry.
“However, I know that by being surrounded with like-minded musicians and incredible instructors and teachers at The Con, a future in music probably won’t seem so intimidating once I get started.”
Bella expressed her gratitude to her IGS teachers and the School.
“What really stood out for me was the effort my teachers put in to see me do well,” she said.
“IGS teachers will do anything they can to help you,” she said. “They will go out of their way and sacrifice their own time to help you.
“The IGSness” is what Bella explained she loved most in her schooling years. “It’s a weird and mysterious thing that can’t really be explained in words, but that’s what I loved the most,” she said.
“Maybe it’s a feeling of safety and home in a place away from your family. Maybe it’s a feeling of acceptance by those around you and pride for being your unique self. Maybe it’s a feeling of confidence that anyone can create change in the local community and in the world as a young person. I’m really not 100 per cent sure what it actually is, but I know that without it I would be a very different person standing here today.”
Bella’s parents Suzie Smith and James Fitzgerald explained that “Bella and IGS were a perfect fit”, and they “are so grateful for the nurturing environment which helped Bella to develop her talents”.
They said Bella “had many wonderful teachers and tutors, which made such a difference to her growth as a person, both intellectually and emotionally” and they valued her “happy school environment”.
Bella was glad that she completed a “mix of linguistic, artistic and STEM subjects: French Continuers, English Advanced and English Extension, Music 1, Mathematics, Mathematics Extension, and Chemistry”.
“By incorporating lots of different areas and ways of thinking into my HSC subjects, I ended up loving all of them pretty equally,” she said.
“The balance of thinking ended up being really useful and I would recommend it to future HSC students.”
While Bella said music and writing make her happy and are “her strengths”, she’s “also really interested in maths and science subjects too”.
“The most fulfilling future I could imagine right now is one that comprises both creative and STEM work,” Bella said.
Bella recommends HSC Music students should “pick repertoire that makes you truly happy”.
“By playing songs that you love, you’ll automatically perform better in the moment,” she said.
“Another big tip I’ll give is to listen to your Music teachers, as they’ve seen all kinds of performances and compositions throughout the years and are very skilled musicians with the best musical education.
“They’ll be able to tell you what really needs changing or fixing, so listen to the feedback they give you.”
Bella also thanked the School for “the incredible and one-of-a-kind leadership opportunities” that she received during her time at IGS.
“Whether it’s Duke of Ed, High Resolves, Antipodeans, clubs and societies, mentoring, peer support, community service or House leadership, these aren’t just titles that can be put on a CV, but real experiences that give confidence and clarity to work as part of a team with a common goal,” she said.
“I’ve now gained so many skills, independence and confidence from these opportunities, I just needed to say ‘thank you’ to IGS for them.”