When Taylors Lakes student Jessica Santucci was given a camera and told to film her life, she had no idea just how much she’d be sharing.
Jessica was a cast member of last year’s national ABC ME series My Year 12 Life, which involved a group of 14 students from around the country documenting the most dramatic year of their lives so far.
While the stress of year 12 can be all-consuming, Jessica had much greater concerns than her final exams after discovering a malignant ovarian tumour towards the end of filming.
Although she admitted that sharing her journey was at times difficult, Jessica said it also acted as a cathartic experience.
“I’m a naturally open person, but having to be so open and film every day did have its challenges,” she said.
“But often I’d have a friend there with the camera and it would help me get things off my chest. In the end you sort of forget that it’s all being put on a show.”
Twelve months on, and ABC will be re-visiting the series with a one-off special titled
Where Are They Now?
“I guess for me not a lot has changed work-wise since we finished filming, but from a health perspective, I’m in a much better place,” Jessica said.
With year 12 and what she describes as an incredibly challenging year of her life now behind her, Jessica has had time to reflect on the experience and said she hopes it helps students in the future.
“There’s such a high emphasis placed on year 12 and I just don’t think it’s worth the stress. There’s always other options.
“I really wanted to get my message across that throughout it all you just have to be true to yourself and being able to be so open about everything was very important to me.”
My Year 12 Life was a critical success, winning a Mental Health Matters Media Award for shining a spotlight on mental health issues affecting teenagers at a highly stressful time of their life.
Where Are They Now? will air on ABC ME on Thursday, December 14.