As is customary, we welcomed back to our Academic Assembly last week a number of our OP 1-6 students. It was with pleasure that we were able to congratulate all of the girls but, in particular, we were able to personally acknowledge the six of our 2018 graduates who were able to attend. Unfortunately, as university courses have already commenced, most of the girls who achieved these results were attending university lectures.
It is a testament to the girls that the 2018 group has been our largest group of girls accepted into the University of Queensland (UQ) for a number of years. Their efforts have paid dividends. When I contacted the girls, I asked them to consider and to be able to provide some input and ideas around what they are currently studying and where they are hoping this leads them, as well as to provide one piece of advice to our current seniors, and to all girls in general.
Those who attended were predominantly studying psychology, with paramedics and maths/education as well. They were undertaking their studies at UQ and QUT, and articulated well-considered advice, encouraging and urging the girls to ensure that they embrace their time at the College and, most importantly, make the most of all on offer during their senior year. The young women really focused on the value of engaging with their teachers and peers effectively and concentrating on their studies. A clear message from each of them was that they put in maximum effort and strove to achieve the best that they could – and that they were proud because they had done that! We thank Sam Salter, Georgia Spanevello, Caitlin McManus, Ashleigh Sehl, Elesa Vahogenis, and Chloe Peoples for speaking with the assembly, and look forward to hearing of their future achievements.
In addition, I received a number of responses via email from those girls who could not attend the assembly. I include excerpts from these, noting that they say a great deal about the way Mt A has helped to shape their approach to learning and life beyond our doors. Whilst all of these young women have achieved outstanding academic results, it is clear that we have provided a multitude of learning experiences that have assisted them to be ready for the ‘outside world’. Their responses resoundingly demonstrated their connection with the community that is Mt Alvernia, and how integral this sense of community was to their overall development.
Lisa Warnock - studying Business and IT majoring in Economics and Computer Science – QUT
I have already gained some opportunities from this degree that immediately benefit and lead into my ultimate future goals and career. For example, I have been offered positions in Brisbane's Economics and Finance Society, am already finding myself signing up for some Hackathons, and I am currently undergoing applications for a semester exchange in Germany and the USA. Collectively, these lead into my future goals of travel and working in a thriving industry that I am passionate about.
Jessica McErlean -studying Engineering – QUT
At the end of my four-year degree, I hope to be employed as a professional engineer. I hope to be able to list an internship at an internationally recognised organisation - such as Boeing, BMW, or ARUP - on my resumé.
Ashley Havers -studying Clinical Exercise Physiology – QUT
The only thing I would maybe do differently is using the resources available and asking my teachers more questions because they are really a great help.
Odette Jonelynas – studying Electrical Engineering – Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra
This degree will enable me to graduate with both a degree and a commission in the Army, therefore being a qualified Officer. Once completing this course, I will then go on to be an Officer in most likely the Engineer Corp in the Army or potentially even the Signals Corp (as I hope to do cryptography as an elective during my honours year).
Tahlia De Felicis - studying Psychology - UQ
To the seniors of 2019 I would say give it everything you’ve got. Put in all the effort into your studies that you can, trying your best is all anyone can ask of you. But also give the entire high school experience you’ve got. Sign up for committees you are passionate about, attend school events, and participate in everything. This is the year memories are made and that is something that stays with you forever.
Abby Thomas – studying Psychology- UQ
After spending five years here, building friendships and relationships with the teachers and the community, it is something that stays with you and is hard to let go of. Mt A feels like a home; it is comfortable and familiar.
Isabella Bignami – studying Communication (journalism) QUT
[The outside world is] very different to high school; it is very daunting at first. But you have been/will be given the tools needed to tackle the outside world - that is something I am grateful for.
In addition to these insights and successes, during the past number of weeks, we have noted the success of a number of other alumni. We have a number of young women involved in STEM areas, and I include two outstanding examples.
Clare Villalba (class of 2010) and Kirsty van der Vegte (class of 2013) have both been nominated for Women in STEM grants, and I include their projects. I hope that these examples help to inspire our current young women to continue to strive for their best. There are so many opportunities that await.
Clare Villalba – Protecting the eyesight of people with Diabetes
Kristy van der Vegte – Designing a mini implant for soft tissue fixation in the wrist
This is proof that the teaching and learning at Mount Alvernia College most certainly prepares our young women for bright futures. They are capable young women, who not only achieve success, but continue to be guided by the Franciscan values that are central to all we do.
There are many examples, and we acknowledge all of the young women who have flourished under our care.