Newcastle Grammar’s Service and Adventure Training Unit completes passing out parade
Building skills: Patrick Krause, Bjorn Hropot and Zachary Perry are in Newcastle Grammar’s Service and Adventure Training Unit, which the school offers as a co-curricular activity. Picture: Jonathan CarrollZACHARY Perry remembers the temperature being so low his pants froze to his legs inside his sleeping bag.
The Newcastle Grammar School year 12 student had been in Singleton with the country’s top army cadets on a week-long adventure training course, which included walking about 140 kilometres;building a boat to traverse a lake;spending a sub-zero degree night on his own in a tarp with an emergency radio in the bush;and falling asleep at 3am after setting up camp, only to be woken 30 minuteslater and told to move 50 metres.
“It was pretty rough –it was freezing cold and constantly raining,” he said.
“Afterwards I felt it was one of the hardest, but also the best, weeks of my life.”
Company Sergeant MajorPerry, 17, Senior Cadet Under Officer Patrick Krause, 17, and Cadet Under Officer Bjorn Hropot, 18, comprise Newcastle Grammar’s Service and Adventure Training Unit (SATU) command team. They marked their last day with the unit on Friday, when they participated in a passing out parade.
The trio had been juggling their Higher School Certificate preparation with camps and weekly training sessions covering drill training and lessons on subjects including first aid, navigation andradio telecommunication, but the time has come to focus on their studies. “There was definitely a sense of pride when everyone stood up as we passed out,” Zachary said. “We’ve become like a second family to each other.”
Patrick, who carried a swordmanufacturedby English companyWilkinson Sword and valued at about $5000, agreed. “I felt a great sense of achievement, from day one we’vedeveloped these skills and put all this effort in to make our unit the best we can possible make it,” he said. “But it’s still a sad occasion having our final parade because we’ve enjoyed our time in the unit so much.”
Newcastle Grammar’s SATU is the only school-based army cadet unit in the Hunter and has 43 members, including about 15 girls.
Zachary and Patrick joined the unit in year seven, while Bjorn joined two years ago.
Zachary, who said SATU helped him developed confidence in his leadership skills, has been accepted into then Defence Force Academy and hopes to study international political studies and Indonesian studies.
Bjorn, who said he most relished developing organisationskills,hopes to study computer systems engineering in Newcastle and for a career in robotics automation.
Patrick, who said SATU helped him prioritise and hone his time management and teamwork skills, recently completed the Royal n Airforce’s two-weekFlight Screening Program and was interviewed by the Officer Selection Board, which “highly recommended” him as a pilot.