At a time when falling student numbers were threatening the continued existence of our school, a decision was taken to put internationalism and academic challenge at the heart of our school’s mission. Significant numbers of international students, notably from China (under the terms of a bilateral agreement with the state government) and Japan, have since been attracted to our school by an innovative and intensive secondary English course. At the same time, Glenunga IHS has attracted students of high intellectual potential from other parts of the city through the “Ignite” programme. A combination of international students from overseas and Ignite programme students drawn from other parts of Adelaide outside the school’s zone has seen our student numbers increase by 900 to a current total of 1,300.
Internationalism is a strong feature of the creativity, action, service programme at Glenunga IHS, with our students involved in a number of projects at the international as well as local level. We have sister school arrangements with Ian McKenzie High School in South Africa and our students are also involved in community service projects in Fiji and Brazil. Students and staff from our school have visited Ian Mackenzie High School four times since December 2004. Initially they donated a number of material items such as ten computers, a large-screen television and a DVD/VHS player to the school, all purchased from funds raised by our students. The focus now is more on building relationships than on providing material aid. These relationships are fostered through involvement in projects such as the one begun in November 2005 to provide water for the primary school and in May 2006 when a “trees for life” project was started.