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Joey’s SACE life was a cabaret

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Flexibility and a broad range of subjects gave Joey the space to achieve his goals.

Web Content Display (Global)

For many students, the senior years at high school are formative but uncertain. Whilst some are locked into exactly where they want to go and what is needed to get there, others are choosing their Stage 1 and 2 subjects with an element of curiosity.

For Joey Haenen at Loxton High School, the flexibility of the SACE was key to his journey.

“I was a bit nervous towards SACE because at that point, I didn't really know what I wanted to do exactly. I had done my PLP at the time, but I had no real idea about you know, where I wanted to go career-wise. So I picked a really broad range in year 11 of subjects just to try and keep my options open.”

Those subjects included Physics, Chemistry, Digital Communication Solutions, and Creative Arts.

“I did find I picked a lot of subjects in Year 11 that I really had no idea about, or not much of an idea about. I just did them because I just wanted to see what they were like.

“But I've been getting more and more music opportunities outside of school, and I've always enjoyed music throughout my entire life. So it probably got to the end of Year 11 where I was thought, ‘maybe I want to do something in the arts’.”

Joey then pivoted from many of his Stage 1 choices, keeping Creative Arts and adding Music Explorations, and English Literary Studies. For the fourth, he leant into the freedom of the SACE. 

“I had to have four subjects for Year 12 and I wondered, ‘what's the other closest thing to English that isn't English?’ and I went “ah, well I'll have a go at History.”

Whilst the flexibility of subject choices opened possibilities for learning, it was the adaptability within that learning that was key to supporting his main passion: music.

“SACE really supported me towards the end of Year 11 when I auditioned for this program called Class of Cabaret, which is getting to perform a cabaret set at the Adelaide Festival Centre, part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. I was doing some repertoire and stuff in Year 11 music which actually I then used in for my audition, which then allowed me to get in the program and then the scholarship, which was just incredible.

“Further to that, being part of that program means you have to do Stage 2 Creative Arts, which took up a nice subject slot as well. I got to work really closely with the lady who was actually part of creating the Creative Arts program so that was really cool to work with someone who actually helped design the course itself. So SACE really helped me create my cabaret set essentially because it was part of my schoolwork.”

It wasn’t just Music Explorations and Creative Arts that supported his love for performance; Joey put his Research Project to good creative use.

“I did a very performance-based Research Project and investigated how music impacts the brain, like, ‘does basically studying music from a young age make you an intellectually smarter person?’ There is lots of research that says that ‘yes, you are’. Anita Collins, who is an Australian lady who's got a PhD basically in all this sent me through a whole heap of stuff.

“I did a video that was basically me sitting in front of the piano and I played stuff in my video to demonstrate how that ticks different things in our brains and connects different neurological paths. I played lots of things in there to prove the different points that I was talking about throughout my video.

“I still had to write up the report and speak in front of a camera, but I just made it a bit more creative by playing the piano.”

With freedom of learning and channelling passion comes an important lesson in discipline for Joey.

“SACE has really taught me that deadlines are a real thing. I was super proactive with all my musical theatre auditions because I knew that's what I wanted to do. I started super duper early, because you’ve got to send tapes in, prepare repertoire and monologues and all the rest of it. SACE taught me a lot about deadlines and sticking to them and that's when you get to produce your best work.”

Joey Haenen navigated his senior years at Loxton with a broad range of learning and support for his passions. His next step is studying a Bachelor of Musical Theatre at the Conservatorium at Adelaide University.