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Hedland Senior High School Teacher in Focus: Jasmine McBurney

Hedland Senior High School’s Head of Arts Jasmine McBurney has been inspiring a love of creative subjects like dance and photography in young people for eight years in the town.

Originally from the Gold Coast, Jasmine has found working in Hedland different from working anywhere else.

“Being regional, the kids aren’t always exposed to as much,” she said. “In the bigger cities there are often more opportunities to go to live performances and shows, so it’s really nice when you get kids that are uncovering a love the arts for the first time, and you have the opportunity to nurture that.”

Jasmine studied dance professionally in Queensland before going on to earn qualifications in dance and drama teaching at university. She taught in the UK for two years and spent three teaching in Queensland before relocating to Hedland for her husband’s work.

“I teach dance and photography mainly, and this is my third year being head of the arts,” she said.

“We run a specialist arts program after school for Years Six to 12, featuring music, dance, drama, visual arts, photography and we’ve just added production studies to the offering. In the last few years, we’ve grown the program from 30 students to around 100 and we’ll retain 70 to 80 of them to the end.

“Twice a year, we put on an arts showcase and before COVID we’d also have a trip to Perth for the specialist students, giving them the opportunity to attend shows and engage with theatres and galleries in the city,” Jasmine said.

“The musical we put on at the school is also a really big deal for the program. My students are often really experienced at fishing and camping, but they’re not always used to putting themselves out there in this way, and that’s part of my job, giving them the confidence to get on stage and give it a try,” she said. “My ambition is to build their confidence and their teamwork and get them to come out of their shell.”

The specialist arts program is offered by Hedland Senior High School staff from 2.30 to 4pm, outside of their paid teaching hours.

‘We do it because we want to inspire and benefit the kids,” Jasmine said. “There are a lot of staff in the arts program that are going quite a way above and beyond. I think it’s part of being in a small and close-knit community like Hedland, there are a lot of people that are really keen to contribute.”

Thank you Jasmine, for your contribution to the arts at Hedland Senior High School. We look forward to many more creative productions from the High School for years to come.

Hedland Senior High School’s Head of Arts Jasmine McBurney. Photograph by Bobbi Lockyer, 2021.