Amber Smith, Graduate Year: 2009
After Clonard I went into a Bachelor of Design Arts at the Australian Academy of Design, majoring in Visual Arts. After this, I travelled around SE Asia and Europe, continued to practice and exhibit my work, and was awarded a First Class Honours in Creative Arts at Deakin University. Currently, I am the Curator of @platformartsgeelong in Geelong, a tertiary Arts lecturer at LCI Melbourne and a PhD Candidate at Deakin University.
At Clonard, English, Literature and Arts subjects helped me to realise early on that I was interested in the intersection between art and research. This has helped me immensely in the contemporary arts sector.
Advice for Clonard students: Follow your heart. So much of your success in a career is directly tied in with your attitude and your work ethic; people will take notice of your dedication and authenticity.
Madeline BakerMadeline Baker, Graduate Year: 2015
After Clonard I was accepted into A Bachelor Vision Science/Masters of Optometry at Deakin University.
Currently, I am studying my Masters of Optometry and planning on completing a PhD down the track, focusing on Indigenous ocular health. I have become actively involved in the leadership aspect of Optometry thanks to the many skills I developed during my time at Clonard. I was accepted into the Optometry Australia Leadership Program and currently working on developing a peer support program in the use of retinal photography within National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
Clonard provided me with the confidence and support to chase my dreams. I used to doubt myself and was hesitant to apply for optometry due to the ATAR required to get in (98.75 at the time). The staff at Clonard helped me realise my potential, my ability and supported me to reach my goals.
Advice for Clonard students: Don't be afraid of failure; there are always different ways to reach your goals. You will succeed if you put your mind to it.
Teneille KosterTeneille Koster, Graduate Year: 2011
After Clonard I enrolled at the Gordon to do my Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship) Course, upon completing this I went around to local electrical businesses in Geelong and handed in my resume and was lucky enough to be offered an Electrical Apprenticeship.
Currently, I am a qualified electrician, employed by Plan B Services as an ‘Electrical Infrastructure Auditor’. In this role, I audit all the new electrical cables and kiosks in new estates and subdivisions (Warralilly, Anchorage, The Heights, Wananda Estate, etc). I also am the owner of my own Electrical business ‘Tradette Electrical Contracting’ which I do electrical jobs in my spare time & an active board member of ‘Tradeswomen Australia’ promoting and helping ladies get into the trade industry.
At Clonard, talking to my careers advisor (Mrs. Anticev) helped me find out about what opportunities were out there for women in trades and helped me find the Certificate II in Electrotechnology Course which was the foundation of me becoming an electrician.
Advice for Clonard students: Take the leap and just do it. That goes for all industries & careers if you are truly passionate about a certain field even if it is something uncommon or you will be in the minority don’t let that scare you or stop you from doing it.
Check out Teneille in a recent news story on Channel 9 here:
Jemma RyanJemma Ryan, Graduate Year: 2011
After Clonard I completed a Bachelor of Media and Communications at Deakin University, majoring in journalism. While studying I secured internship opportunities with Cosmopolitan and Who magazine in Sydney and Ten News Melbourne. Before graduating I landed a full-time position at the Geelong Advertiser where I have worked since in various roles across a number of departments.
Currently, I am the magazines and lifestyle editor, overseeing the weekly gt magazine and a range of premium annual publications including GT Bride and GT Journal.
At Clonard, I was fortunate to have enthusiastic English teachers who fostered my love of storytelling early on. I made the most of my year 10 work experience by arranging a week at the Herald Sun and had one mentor encourage me to apply for the Geelong Advertiser’s Hot Shots program the same year. This involved going after school once a week for three months to hear from someone in the industry about their career journey and what their job involved. It was meant for university students but the career adviser believed I could do it and I got in.
My favourite thing about Clonard is that it has an intimate feel without compromising on opportunity. I also had the privilege of being named College Captain, a leadership experience that stood me in good stead to assume management positions in the workplace from an early age.
Advice for Clonard students: It’s true what they say - it’s the time of your life and it’s gone in a flash. Relish the sense of community and support each other to be the best versions of yourselves. The importance of women supporting women - and magic that can be achieved when we do - is a lesson for life.
Olivia McGraneOlivia McGrane, Graduate year: 2016
After Clonard I didn't do much of what I had set out to do! I was enrolled at ACU in a Bachelor of International Studies, which I attended until census date before deciding to defer as the course was not for me. After applying early through community service work I had done. This threw me a complete curve ball as I was set on completing that course and working for an organisation such as Diversitat or even the United Nations if I was given the chance, I had some pretty big aspirations!
At the time I was working at McDonalds's (a job I had had all through school) so I picked up more hours and became a full time manager for a bit. By the end of 2018, after doing two years working at McDonald's and a few other places as well as still playing hockey for Geelong, I figured I had better find something that was fulfilling for me.
I reapplied for uni, this time a Bachelor of Arts at Deakin. This is also the time where I left McDonald's and started work at Rip Curl Ozmosis in the Torquay warehouse. The job allowed me to get bucket loads of hours over the summer and a small handful of shifts through the winter which allowed me to concentrate on uni. I was enjoying the classes I was taking however, again, was feeling lost. And so at the end of last year I got into contact with Mr McKew at the new school Iona College!
Currently I am not at Deakin and now undertaking a Certificate 3 in Education Support through GForce but placed at Iona College. After one very short term, I have found I love the job and next year hope to keep working in the role as well as study online to become a teacher one day, either primary or secondary!
At Clonard I discovered a passion for helping others. Clonard had a huge influence on this as I was able to attend a couple of the trips that were offered to us over time. I attended Ampilatwatja and the Uganda trip at the end of Year 12.
Alongside this, I was heavily active in the Justice and Democracy group and whatever opportunity it had to offer I was a part of. I knew this was the field that I wanted to be a part of post-high school. I also highly recommend joining in on these opportunities because a lot of them are hard to come by outside of school! If I could go back to the year after high school and could see what I was doing now, I would definitely be pleased with just putting myself into cruise control and accepting that I can't control everything. I have learnt a lot about myself over the last couple of years and am thankful that things have fallen apart a little bit career wise. It has taught me to be more open-minded and a lot more at ease with a lot of decisions I make not only about the career choices I make but just life in general. So go with a flow a little!
Kathleen HalloranKathleen Halloran, Graduate Year: 2013
After Clonard I studied contemporary music at the Australian Institute of Music before transferring over to a Jazz and Improvisation course at the Victorian College of The Arts.
Currently, I am loving life as a professional musician. I have the most wonderful opportunities to fill my cup across many different worlds - Spending my days and nights hopping between musical theatre pits, touring with various artists and leading my own jazz trio. (before COVID of course)
I had the most awesome music teachers in the world at Clonard who I'm forever indebted to - in particular Cathy Wilson and Steve Hobbs. They guided, supported and made transitioning into a career in music such a natural thing. It was never an option not to and that is thanks to my teachers for providing such a safe learning and performing environment.
Advice for Clonard students: Find where your spark is and trust yourself to follow it. Work hard and take every opportunity that comes up because it only takes one moment to make a career.
Michelle WinckleMichelle Winckle, Graduate year: 1996
After Clonard I travelled and lived in QLD for a while, I worked in radio stations and then travelled overseas before returning to Geelong, settled down and started my career.
Currently, I am running 5 real estate businesses and am one of the leading female auctioneers in the Geelong market.
At Clonard, English and Drama were highlights and definitely my beautiful French teacher at Chanel that gave me so much encouragement when I struggled a little in Year 11 and 12.
Advice for Clonard students: Find out what you love to do and make a career of it, then you will never feel like you are working, you are simply waking up every day to do what you love. Also don’t be afraid to take risks and give it a go as you will never know if you don’t try.
Paige RaePaige Rae, Graduate Year: 2016
After Clonard I started my own fashion label and my brand was accepted into two shops. From here I was offered a full-time position at Diamond Exchange on Collins Street Melbourne as a Diamond Sales Consultant. I decided to stop my label and take this new opportunity as it was too good to pass up on. I spent 2018 working there and eventually became Assistant Manager. Towards the end of 2018 however, I had some health problems related to IBS and ended up seeing a dietician. As I continued to see my dietician and she helped me through my illness it was like my career path finally became clear and I knew exactly what I wanted to be – a dietician! I wanted to be able to help others in the same way my dietician helped me.
I resigned from my full-time Assistant Manager position and in 2019 started studying at Deakin to become a dietician. I couldn’t possibly love my course more and I am so excited to be able to work in the field in a few years.
At Clonard, I did such a range of subjects from VISCOM to PE Theory to Psychology and everything has helped me in some way. Studying a range of subjects that I enjoyed allowed me to keep my options open (and importantly enjoy VCE).
Advice for Clonard students: Please don’t put pressure on yourself to go to uni. Try things, whether that is different jobs, travel, volunteering etc. until you work out what career path is for you. It took me 2 years since leaving Clonard to work that out and I have friends and family who have taken longer. There’s no rush, just enjoy the ride and see where life takes you. What I learnt in those two years after school are some of the best life lessons I will ever learn.
Zoe FatourosZoe Fatouros, Graduate Year: 2011
After Clonard I studied at Deakin University completing a double degree in Law and International Studies and travelled around the world.
Currently, I am a Lawyer, practicing in commercial litigation.
At Clonard the subjects that were pivotal in helping me achieve what I have are English and Legal Studies.
Advice for Clonard students: Study hard but know that obtaining an excellent ATAR score is not everything. There are always options!
Liv PenningLiv Penning, Graduate Year: 2017 (VCAL)
After Clonard I studied a Double Diploma in Sports Leadership & Sports Management at the Richmond FC. It gave me the opportunity to teach AFL in both China and Canada!
Currently, I am working at a Brewery making hand sanitiser as a ‘gap year’ before studying Physiotherapy in 2021.
At Clonard, the subject Personal Development made a massive difference to my confidence when we were put in situations where we had to go out of our comfort zone. As well as Work Related Skills, it gave me the chance to discover which pathway I wanted to take after school.
Advice for Clonard students: It’s okay to not know where you want to go in life, don’t panic. Use the resources you have and take the opportunities to pick at your teachers' brains. As the wise Dory would say “Just keep swimming.”
Antonia ErcegAntonia Erceg, Graduate Year: 2015.
After Clonard I studied a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds campus.
Currently, I am working on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project, as a Graduate Engineer with the Tier 1 contractor: CPB Contractors.
At Clonard the subjects that helped set me on the path towards engineering included Math Methods 3/4 (a prerequisite for my course) and Physics (not a prerequisite but extremely helpful).
Advice for Clonard students: When I was a student at Clonard, although I generally did well in all my subjects, I was never that student who got the highest SAC mark in Methods (I’m sure Mr. Callahan can attest to that hehe).
Perseverance, the ability to forgive myself when I fell short and having grit were ultimately what helped me to achieve my goals, not an Albert Einstein level IQ.
I didn’t have it all figured out at 17, but I just knew I liked a challenge and getting creative about finding solutions to problems, and so Civil Engineering was a natural choice.
If you are feeling lost right now, don’t let it overwhelm you - focus on what your strengths and interests are, and remember, you may not know what your future holds, but you know who holds the future.
Antonia's sisters, Paulina and Ana also studied at Deakin University's School of Engineering. Read about their stories here: https://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/news/articles/engineering-to-the-power-of-three
Meg McKennaMeg McKenna, Graduate Year: 2015
After Clonard I worked at a summer camp in Michigan, USA, as a camp counsellor in 2016 and again in 2019 as a program director. I studied for a year in 2017 to achieve a diploma of graphic design and I worked as a designer for about 6 months. In 2018 I was hired to be a live-in nanny in Nottingham, UK, where I worked for 15 months before returning to camp.
Currently I am back home in Australia studying a double degree in teaching and Visual Arts at ACU in Melbourne.
I was always very art focussed at school, taking Viscom and Studio Arts in Year 12. One thing that was definitely beneficial for me was also undertaking a VET subject. Throughout VCE I completed a Cert 2 in Graphic Arts at the Gordon which I enjoyed and it gave me very useful industry skills.
Advice for Clonard students: If you have a plan for your future, that’s great, but it’s not necessarily a necessity. Throughout high school I was set on being a graphic designer, I still do a little bit of freelance design work from home but I ended up rolling with the incredible opportunities that came my way and looking back now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Plans don’t always work out but often that can be for the best!
Georgia ClarkeGeorgia Clarke, Graduate Year: 2014
After Clonard I went to Swinburne University to study a Diploma of Event Management for a year, then straight into a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing, for two years. After working at multiple festivals, fun runs, shows and other events, a friend from my course got me a job at the Australian Open through Tennis Australia - working as an Accreditation Assistant. I did this for 2 consecutive years and thought it would be great on my CV. I later got a job at Channel Nine in the Docklands as a Broadcast Sales Coordinator, managing client accounts for their television advertising campaigns that ran on Channel Nine. Coles, Target, Nissan, Renault, Village Roadshow, Forty Winks were the clients I was responsible for.
Currently, I am living in London indefinitely and working for a television network called Channel 4 as an Agency Sales Assistant working with Television Advertising. My main job is to oversee my clients' campaigns and manage their advertising accounts, ensuring they are scheduled to run in the programs they buy into to receive the maximum exposure for their brand, which will then in return help their sales.
The pathway I chose at Clonard helped me get where I am in a strange way. I absolutely loved and had a passion for Studio Art, and Health and Human Development. So much so I really wanted to be a health educator after school. I went to Monash's open day hoping to go there. I wanted to check out Swinburne's campus to look into more options. Which is where I spoke to the teachers that ran the Event Management course. It sounded so intriguing and fun and it was a pathway that had never crossed my mind before. I thought my creativity (that I experienced through art), and my leadership could shine through learning how to plan and manage events.
Advice for Clonard students: Don't be too hard on yourself thinking that the subjects you select in high school are the be-all and end-all. You can change your mind as many times as you like if you're not 100 percent certain. The subjects you select can give you a pathway for sure, however, it can also be about figuring out what you like and what you don't like. Select subjects you love and enjoy, that you may be good at, or subjects that may interest you.
Amanda LaBonteAmanda LaBonte, Graduate Year: 1992
After graduating from Clonard I went to RMIT to study Business Law. This was after the advice from my parents and teachers to get something "sensible" behind me before I pursue my love of acting. I lasted 6 weeks and quit the course, just before the HECS cut-off thankfully. I spent the rest of the year working in a retail job, saving some money and doing a little bit of travel around Australia. I auditioned for drama courses in September of 1993 and started at Ballarat University in 1994, this time studying Performing Arts.
Currently, I am an actor in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I am in the ensemble, and understudy for the roles of Ginny Potter, Professor McGonnagal and Professor Umbridge. I also run an independent theatre company called Essential Theatre which has just completed its 18th year of touring Shakespeare to vineyards across Australia. And lastly, I am a proud mum of my two sons, they are 16 & 11.
Unfortunately, Drama wasn't offered in VCE way back then however I was lucky enough to have a brilliant English Literature teacher, Mrs Myers, who ignited my love of language and Shakespeare.
Advice for Cloanrd students: Follow your heart - your instincts are always right. And if you are not certain, take some time. I think there is a lot of pressure to know what you want very early on and to go to University. Tackling a degree is a huge commitment, financially and personally, so I think it's best to wait until you really know what you want before taking on something. When you can combine your passion with your work it's incredibly rewarding and satisfying.
Bree LucasBree Lucas, Graduate Year: 2013
After Clonard I studied a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University. Then I was accepted into a Doctor of Medicine at Deakin and I also completed a Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Health in 2019.
Currently, I am completing my final year of medicine and applying for jobs as a medical intern! It's my hope to get a position in rural Victoria and contribute to the health workforce shortages in these areas.
Studying Biology and Chemistry in VCE really helped me understand the basics of science for my first degree. But English was always my favourite subject and I believe putting a lot of effort into that has really helped me connect and communicate with people in my career.
Advice for Clonard students: Dream big, set personal goals, and work hard for what you want - you always get out what you put in. And never be afraid to ask for help!
Emma DayEmma Day, Graduate Year: 2009
After Clonard I did a Bachelor of Philosophy (a science degree with a strange name!) at the Australian National University in Canberra majoring in biology. Throughout my degree, I had the opportunity to do research at the CSIRO and won a scholarship to do a short course in Singapore. After this, I moved to London and worked at various NGOs including London Wildlife Trust and the British Red Cross. I then did a Masters in Biodiversity, Conversation and Management at the University of Oxford supported by an Oxford Australia Scholarship.
Currently, I work at the UK Government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as a policy advisor on marine plastic pollution. I work with domestic, regional and international bodies such as the UN and the G7 to develop ways to reduce litter in the ocean - a difficult but important problem to solve. It has been an interesting and challenging time to work in the UK Government, navigating Brexit and now Covid-19!
At Clonard, my favourite subjects were maths and science and I was very supported by teachers to pursue my strengths. I always thought I would be a scientist but I’ve come to appreciate the importance of bringing scientific perspectives to the many professions that require interdisciplinary thinking. One of the most formative experiences at Clonard was my role in the sustainability committee, which helped me realise the power of local environmental action and cemented by a passion for driving positive change.
Advice for Clonard students: Don’t underestimate yourself and reach for opportunities outside your comfort zone. Ask for support and develop a network of people who can help you pursue your passions. Always be kind to yourself and others.
Rachel Van ZettenRachel Van Zetten, Graduate Year: 2012
After Clonard I had a gap year then completed a university degree – Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery from 2014-2018. I began working as a Doctor in 2019 in Bendigo.
Currently, I am working as a junior Doctor at Bendigo Hospital doing rotations in paediatrics and the emergency department. I am looking to start training to be a GP in the next few years.
The subjects that helped me at Clonard were biology, chemistry and maths methods which were prerequisites for my degree at the time. I also completed health and human development and psychology which were really helpful particularly in the first few years of my degree.
My advice to current students is to pick subjects you enjoy as these are the easiest to motivate yourself to study. Always ask for help when you need it. In terms of your future careers, the best reason to go into a field is because you want to – not because other people told you that you should. There is no one right way to enter a career pathway, just because you might get a no the first time – doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream career!
Alice EastmanAlice Eastman, Graduate Year: 2009
After Clonard I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) at the University of Melbourne. I lived in Geelong and commuted to uni, worked multiple hospitality jobs, and completed internships for the Geelong Advertiser sports team and music magazines as I worked towards (what I thought would be) a journalism career.
Currently, I am working as a Commercial Partnerships Executive for the GWS Giants. I’ve lived in Sydney for almost 6 years, after deciding that the journalism path wasn’t for me, and my first job here was for a Sponsorship and Activations agency, where I worked with brands who sponsored major events and organizations (eg. Kia as the major sponsor of the Australian Open). My current role at the GIANTS has turned out to be my dream job. Once I figured out that journalism wasn’t for me, I realised that I thrived on being in an environment where I could bring people together to be part of something bigger than themselves. That’s what community sport had done for me growing up, and what organisations like the AFL do for fans across the country. My main job is to build relationships with our club sponsors, connecting them with the club and helping them engage with our members and fans.
At Clonard, I was given options to complete Year 12 subjects from as early as Year 10, so completed Further Maths and Psychology before my last year of school. In Year 12 I studied French, International Studies, Literature and Media. I put my hand up for a number of leadership opportunities and got involved in groups such as the Social Justice committee. I was also part of the group that helped pull together the first TriUMPH Festival. My advice for those at school is to get involved in anything you can, and don’t be too disheartened if certain opportunities don’t turn out the way you wanted. Being in a leadership position isn’t just for those who have a title – you can be a leader in your everyday life by being a positive influence in the lives of your classmates and other students.
Advice for Clonard students:
Set goals, but always be open to new opportunities. Your life, and especially your working life, isn’t always going to be what you have planned out but sometimes that’s a good thing.
There is no shortcut for hard work. Whether you’re at uni or at a job, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.
One of my favourite sayings is, “Be where your feet are.” Life can get overwhelming at times but don’t forget to be present in every moment, especially the good ones.
Libby MarksLibby Marks, Graduate Year: 2012
After Clonard I studied a double degree in Nursing and Midwifery at Deakin Geelong. Throughout the course I was able to gain experience in hospitals around Geelong and Melbourne. On completion of my degree, I was accepted into the 2019 graduate program at Werribee Mercy Hospital.
Currently I am employed as a Registered Nurse/Midwife at Epworth Geelong; where we recently celebrated the birth of our 1000th baby since maternity services opened 3 years ago.
At Clonard I studied a range of subjects including English, French, Legal Studies, Biology and Studio Art. The staff at Clonard supported me throughout my studies, which ultimately let me to finding my passion for women’s health.
Advice for Clonard students: Never underestimate what you can achieve with the right support and guidance.
Samantha Guiney, Graduate Year: 1996
After Clonard I took a gap year to work full time in a law firm where I gained administration and office skills. VCE was intense, I really needed a break from study and wanted to earn some money. I moved to Melbourne and attended the University of Melbourne to complete a Bachelor of Science. These were the days before the internet, artificial intelligence and virtual reality so science was very different back then. I majored in statistics and psychology because I loved the structure and logic of numbers as well as learning about human behaviour. After my degree, I still really didn’t know what I wanted to “be”. My careers advisor suggested I could use my skills to get a job in HR or Marketing. After a short stint working in HR for the Avalon Airshow, I had the opportunity to travel for 12 months. I returned to Melbourne and was offered a position in Market Research working for Nielsen. My job involved managing large scale research projects. I soon found my niche working with clients to solve their business problems by using data from surveys. It enabled me to use the skills I had gained in my previous roles, but more importantly, the skills I gained from studying science and life skills from travelling.
Currently, I am working as a data analyst in the Marketing division at Deakin University. I love being able to work with data and help inform decisions based on what I find. Working in Market research is so rewarding, you become an essential link between what consumers want and what businesses offer. I think of myself as being a type of translator, turning numbers into something meaningful that can make a difference. You need to be able to think critically, have a keen eye for detail, be able to work as part of a team and communicate effectively. It’s a great career for someone who is naturally curious.
My love for science began with Miss Gabrielle Tolan! She made science so much fun. Her enthusiasm and ability to explain really tricky concepts gave me the confidence to follow it right through to VCE where I studied biology, chemistry, maths methods and physics. Although I have never needed to calculate the moles of an element in a compound, or set up a titration experiment, I use my scientific skills every day. You’re not just taught theory. Studying STEM gives you excellent transferable skills in reasoning, problem-solving, critical thinking and communicating complex information.
Advice for Clonard students:So many jobs available now were not even conceived of when I was at Clonard. The world changes so rapidly, which creates new opportunities that you can’t necessarily plan for ahead of time. Having a good breadth of skills and being able to adapt those in different environments is really important. I believe having the right mindset and being resilient will get you further than a final grade can alone. Choose subjects you enjoy or have an interest in and do what is right for you. Don’t get caught up with what everyone else thinks. Find what drives you, what makes your heart sing and start with that. Life is a beautiful journey, don’t lose focus on what is important to you. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and don’t let setbacks stop you.
Bree Gorman, Graduate Year: 1998
After Clonard I studied Chemistry and continued to study chemistry until I received a PhD. I found research really rewarding and exciting but eventually, I left academia to work as an Industry Engagement manager, helping researchers translate their findings and knowledge into commercial products and processes. My career continued to take a variety of turns until I found myself as a Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Deakin University. The rewards that come with improving the opportunities that exist for people from all backgrounds are really satisfying, I certainly found my calling.
I have just recently made the move to launch my own business as a Diversity and Inclusion consultant. I want to be able to have impact across a variety of industries and sectors. I help organisations develop Diversity and Inclusion strategies and I also train employees, managers, leaders, teachers, sports managers and academics in Inclusive Leadership, Gender Equity and LGBTIQA+ awareness.
The pathways I chose at Clonard didn’t help get me to where I am now, but yet all of them have assisted. I have no qualifications to be working in Diversity and Inclusion but I have lived experience of being Bisexual and being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated science discipline. That’s what allows me to be able to have a greater understanding of the barriers that can exist in the workplace for people with diverse backgrounds. In terms of skills, having strong maths and data skills (maths) and the ability to use analytical thinking (chemistry, thanks to Ms Tolan) are things that I use every day. I really believe they allow me to approach Diversity and Inclusion problems with a completely different lens than those who have pursued a more traditional path.
Advice for Clonard students:
Find your passion and follow it. I have always followed my passion, if you are not energised by your work it can be a long slow painful day. Seek to make an impact on the world, in whatever way that may be and then you will have job satisfaction which is so much more important than money.
Jessica Wills, Graduate Year: 2006
After I graduated from Clonard I went on to complete a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biochemistry at Deakin University. I worked a variety of jobs but at the centre of each was a common theme of young people, learning and education. After my honours year, I spent one year working as a laboratory and teaching assistant at Deakin University in the Health and Life Sciences faculty. This cemented my decision to go into teaching and I felt I was ready to embark on a teaching career. I did a Diploma of Education at the University of Melbourne and graduated in 2012.
Currently, I am in my 8th year of teaching secondary school! I am a year 7 and 8 team leader at a large multi-campus school in Melbourne’s West where I work with a very diverse range of students. I absolutely love my job and my students. No day is ever the same and I am constantly learning.
I really enjoyed Chemistry and Biology at school (Thanks to Ms Tolan and Ms Fish). This is what led me to become a maths and science teacher. But the support and care from my teachers during school really helped me make the decision to be a teacher. I wanted to have a positive impact on young people’s lives and help them achieve their goals just as my teachers had at Clonard.Advice for Clonard students:Do what you enjoy. Pick the subjects you are interested in. Take every opportunity- join a sports team, a club, a committee- just make the most of every opportunity! Life is an adventure, enjoy!
Caitlin Mahony, Graduate Year: 2006
After Clonard I completed a Bachelor of Science with majors in Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics. After that, I took post uni gap-year and taught in Vanuatu. I then moved to Sydney and started a Masters of Actuarial Science, but I learnt that the course and future career weren’t a good match for me so I left the course.
After six months in Sydney, I moved to Perth eventually finding a job as part of the travelling science show for Scitech. At Scitech we travelled all over WA (including to remote communities) taking science shows and activities to schools and festivals. After Scitech I did the Teach For Australia program where I taught maths and physics in Warracknabeal for two years. I then had another “gap year” and travelled Europe.
Upon return, I got a job writing maths content for Machinam’s Maths In Real Life program. After Machinam I worked at Edrolo and was head of the General Maths textbook team, and I also appeared in several of the Unit 3&4 Methods videos (which are the current Methods videos if you want to see what I’m like as a teacher!).
I am now working at Bacchus Marsh Grammar as a teacher and also on several school improvement programs and doing contract work with Edrolo on their upcoming Unit 1&2 Physics textbook.
At Clonard, doing accelerated Method (Unit 3&4 in Y11) was a beneficial option. Although it didn’t help my Methods study score, it meant I could focus on Specialist Maths, which was the maths I used at Uni. In addition, other subjects and experiences that helped me included:
Specialist Maths – being able to study it at another school (St. Joseph’s) because we didn’t have enough students to run it at Clonard.
Physics – small and supportive class.
Santa Teresa trip – prepared me for visiting remote communities in my work with Scitech.
Debating Team – my public speaking skills have come in handy throughout my career.
Drama – acting and performing were central to my Scitech job and were useful as an Edrolo presenter.
History – being able to incorporate history into maths education has come in handy several times throughout my career.
English – being a content creator requires a high level of written communication skills.
Advice for Clonard students:Choose subjects you like and are good at. I’ve had jobs that didn’t exist when I was at school, but I was prepared for them because I’d studied what I enjoyed, and therefore found jobs that I enjoyed.
Jess Gallagher, Graduate Year: 2007
After Clonard I studied a Bachelor of Law/Arts at Deakin University but after my first year, I realised law wasn’t my passion (despite absolutely loving VCE Legal Studies with Mr McCallum). I moved to Victoria University and began studying a Bachelor of Education, I even did one of my placements at Clonard! After graduating I spent a few years teaching in Victoria before I craved something different, packed up, and headed off to the Northern Territory in 2015. I spent 5 years as a teacher and principal in the remote community, Ampilatwatja.
I’m currently living in Darwin and completing a Master of Education in TESOL through Australian Catholic University. Next semester I’ll be working in the DoE office as a Wellbeing & Behaviour Advisor.
At Clonard, it wasn’t so much the subjects, but rather the teachers and the experiences at Clonard that led me to where I am now. The opportunity to visit Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) in Year 9 certainly had a significant impact on my life, as did Megan Evans and Michelle Brodrick’s passion for Indigenous Education.
Advice for Clonard students: Make the most of all that comes your way and truly cherish your Clonard years, you are so lucky to be a part of such a supportive and nurturing environment.
National Reconciliation Week message:
Always seek knowledge, educate yourself and get out there. Build relationships with your local co-op and share what you learn with your friends and family. Reconciliation is everyone’s business. This week I encourage you to read Stan Grant, watch In My Blood It Runs, listen to Thelma Plum, follow Brooke Blurton, buy from Clothing the Gap and explore https://ampilatwatja.com/.
Photo: Rhonda (Ampilatwatja School) and Jess.
Kellie Mayne, Graduate Year: 2007
After Clonard I took a gap year from Victoria University, packed my bags and went to work at Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in the remote community of Santa Teresa, 80km south each of Alice Springs on Arrernte country. After a little while, I completed my Bachelor of Teaching degree through Charles Darwin University while working in the classroom in Santa Teresa. I moved into Alice Springs and began teaching at Yirara College which is a boarding school for Aboriginal students who come from all over Nothern Territory, some from Western Australia.
Currently, I am back working and living on Arrernte country at Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in Santa Teresa. I am the Aboriginal Workforce Development Coordinator and Student Wellbeing Coordinator. I am also studying a Diploma in Early Childhood. I juggle my work part-time as well as family life – 2 beautiful Arrernte daughters.
The opportunity to visit Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) in Year 9, and again in Year 10 for Work Experience certainly had a significant impact on my life, as did Megan Evans and Michelle Brodrick and their passion for Indigenous Education. One subject that comes to mind is Black Tracks – which was an elective in Year 10 ran by these 2 amazing teachers. I think our year level was the first year that the subject ran.
Advice for Clonard students: Always be willing to try new things, step outside your comfort zone. You can do anything you want – you just have to put your mind and heart to it
National Reconciliation Week message:
Don’t just listen to the negative stories you hear about Aboriginal people. There are truly some amazing Aboriginal people doing wonderful things all over Australia. Educate yourself- if you want to know something, find out for yourself. If you’re interested in buying some traditional craft made by local men from Santa Teresa, jump onto https://traditionalcraft.com.au/ or some painted crosses painted by the ladies run by the Catholic Church, check out Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre Facebook page.
Photo: Delphina & Kellie, Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School.
Emily Wrigley, Graduate Year: 2009
After Clonard I started a Bachelor of Nursing while working in hospitality part-time, a cafe by day and a bar at night. After two years of the course, I decided to defer and went down a completely different path working for Tiger Air as a check-in and operations attendant. During this time, I engaged in some further training attaining my certificate III in Business Administration and Frontline Management. The driving to Tullamarine airport and split shifts got the better of me, forcing me to look at what direction I was heading career-wise. I had always been interested in teaching so I decided to head back to university to undertake a Bachelor of Education. While studying I worked as a nanny before gaining employment as an education support worker at a local secondary college, both supporting students learning in the classroom and coordinating the college events.
Currently, I am teaching grade 5/6 students at a local primary school. It is my second year of teaching at the school and I am passionate in providing rich and meaningful opportunities for the students to experience success not only at school but gain the knowledge, understandings and skills for their futures.
At Clonard, I completed year 10 work experience at a local primary school which when reflected upon helped lead me to where I am now. Other subjects I undertook in VCE included Business Management, Accounting, Studio Arts, English and Further Maths. I also completed my certificate III in hospitality operations as a school-based traineeship.
Advice for Clonard students:Do not get hung up on VCE. Where you end up career-wise might not be clear while you are at school and that is ok. Keep on looking forward and make the most of the opportunities presented to you.
Claire Findlay, Graduate Year: 2011
After Clonard I went to Monash University and completed a Bachelor of Arts (Politics)/Bachelor of Laws and a Diploma of Languages (Spanish). During my time at university, I took a year off and taught English in Spain and also maximised my study opportunities and studied in Italy and Washington D.C. When I completed my study, I was fortunate to get a graduate job at a planning and environment law firm and then, once admitted, I worked there as a solicitor in commercial environmental law until I moved to the County Court.
Currently, I am Judge’s Associate to the Head of the Commercial Division of the County Court and studying my Master of Law (LLM) specialising in Dispute Resolution at Monash University. I am on my way to becoming an accredited mediator and have a keen interest in alternative dispute resolution as well as building/planning/environment law. While I will return to practice as a solicitor, I do hope to eventually go to the bar to practice as a barrister.
At Clonard, I believe all of the subjects I did in VCE provided me with particular skills that have helped me in different ways. English and French encouraged a love of reading, writing and being able to express myself well. The humanities subjects fostered in me a love of learning and interest in political and legal studies. Theatre studies helped me creatively analyse and problem solve. Of course, debating, public speaking and the leadership opportunities at Clonard also helped me throughout university with mooting competitions, and stands me in good stead in my current role speaking in court!
Advice for Clonard students:Throw yourself into as many opportunities as you can. I remember there were so many extracurricular activities, competitions and opportunities offered to us at Clonard, and we were encouraged to try out as much as possible- some ended up being the best experiences of my life! I think this mindset takes you far in any profession and can open doors you didn’t realise were there.
Rachael Plummer, Graduate Year: 2011
After Clonard I completed my Bachelor’s degree in 2015, still with not a solid idea of where I wanted to go regarding a career. I knew I wanted a job in the history field so I enrolled in my postgraduate degree of museum study and cultural heritage. It was during this time that I began working as a theatrical historian at the Old Geelong Gaol and by teaching others about our local past I knew I wanted to transfer these skills to the classroom and become a teacher. This way I would be able to teach how I wanted to and not by memorising a script! I then completed my Masters of Teaching in 2019.
Currently, I am teaching in an ongoing position at a senior secondary college (years 10-12 only) in the south western suburbs, where I am currently teaching VCE history, sociology and English. This has involved creating curriculum scope and sequences and new resources for upcoming subjects. I have also been involved in creating ‘new’ subjects at the year 10 level for 2021. The English and Humanities domains are so broad, I have been fortunate to work in an innovative team with such fantastic ideas about how to make these subjects fun and engaging, yet also stimulating.
I’ve always been a humanities girl through and through and I now teach all of the subjects I undertook when I was in year 12 (except for French!). It is so important to study subjects you’re passionate about because it will drive you to be more motivated and to succeed the best possible outcomes.
Advice for Clonard students:We only miss the opportunities we didn’t take! Clonard offers a plethora of extra-curricular activities and offers so many opportunities that are so beneficial to you after graduation. Throw yourself into the school community as much as you can, get involved. You only get one shot at your secondary school education and you want to make sure you made the most out of it! Also, don’t do a subject just because it gets scaled up! If you’re truly passionate about a subject you’ll be motivated to do the best you can.
Anna Rotiroti, Graduate Year: 2012
After Clonard I completed my Diploma of Nursing, then went on to do my Bachelor of Nursing and began my career as a registered nurse.
Currently, I am completing my postgraduate course in critical care and am working in the intensive care unit at Austin Hospital.
The careers day at Clonard was so eye-opening and informative, it was the day I knew I was going to be a Nurse.
Advice for Clonard students: Find what you love and stick to it, don’t feel bad if you don’t always get good grades, there’s always a way to get there.
Georgia Bettiol, Graduate Year: 2012
After Clonard I studied a double Bachelor’s Degree of Teaching and Arts at Australian Catholic University Melbourne. I studied Literature and History and was a part of a teaching consortium to connect pre-service teachers with Catholic schools in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
I’m now in my fourth year of teaching specialising in English and VET Community Services, after working at a senior school in Sydenham and now an all girls’ secondary school in Altona. Other than teaching, my career in education has led me down several paths including a position of leadership, VET training and VCAA exam assessing.
My time at Clonard inspired my deep passion for social justice and student wellbeing. In 2010 through Clonard, I embarked on a student-led expedition to Cambodia and Vietnam through World Challenge. Also in my final year, Clonard allowed me the opportunity to be the Social Justice/Outreach Captain. These experiences as well as the social justice opportunities I was involved in at the College, deepened my concerns for community issues and challenged me to better myself, be confident and be a leader. Beyond Clonard, my passions in this area only strengthened and even lead me to a position of leadership as a Social Justice Program Convener.
Advice for Clonard students:is to take advantage of the many opportunities Clonard offers. Stand up. Challenge yourself. Be a leader. Be the change. (Also, listen to your teachers. They truly have your best interests.
Katherine Kvant, Graduate Year: 2013
After Clonard I worked at a summer camp in America twice before studying a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) at Deakin University. During my degree, I completed work experience in the communications teams at the Geelong Cats, AFL Barwon, Rowing Australia and Football Victoria.
Currently, I am working in the Marketing and Admissions team at Kardinia International College. I loved my time at Clonard so I knew that working at a school would be perfect for me! I also still work casually for the Geelong Cats as a writer for the VFLW and AFLW.
I always enjoyed English/Humanities subjects at Clonard, and think it’s important to choose subjects that you’re interested in.
Advice for Clonard students:Make the most of all of the amazing extracurricular opportunities available! There’s also no pressure to know exactly what you want to do after finishing year 12 – I’m so glad I took a couple of gap years to travel and work before university, and there’s plenty of time to work out what’s right for you.
Emily Goegan, Graduate Year: 2014
After Clonard, I went to Deakin University and studied a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and a Diploma of Languages (Indonesian) – thanks Ibu Turnley for the inspiration! Whilst at University, I had the opportunity to complete an alternative teaching placement as part of the Global Experience Program (GEP) and spent three weeks teaching in Kalkaringi, a remote Aboriginal community 8 hours south of Darwin.
I am currently in my second year as a primary educator, teaching Year Three. I started at a school that was brand new last year in a growth corridor and I absolutely love it.
Clonard taught me so much about who I am and there are so many elements of the teaching and learning culture of Clonard that I try to bring to my classroom now. Firstly, I would not be where I am if it weren’t for the opportunities Clonard provided. In Year 9 I was lucky enough to go on the Santa Teresa trip. This experience changed my life and ignited a passion for working with children and an interest in a career in education. Clonard also provided me with many leadership opportunities and the ability to participate in extracurricular activities. I was Co-Class Captain and Co-House Captain a few times including in Year 12.
The knowledge I gained in these roles stuck with me long after, most recently as I became team leader within my year level at work. Finally, I had some incredible teachers who taught me so much and inspired me to teach. The teachers at Clonard always pushed me and went above and beyond. I remember frantically sending SAC and exam notes in Year 11 and 12, and always seeking advice or feedback and the teachers always helped.
Advice for Clonard students:
- Make the most of your time at Clonard and being at a school with such a positive culture. House Choir used to feel like a chore, but once you leave, it is events like that you will miss most.
- The teachers believe in you and will support you no matter what.
- You are not defined by your ATAR. As long as you can leave knowing you put in the effort and did the best you possibly could, that is all you can ask for. If you get an ATAR above what your course requires, don’t choose something else just because you got the marks.
Courtney Hart,Graduate Year: 2015
After school I started working in the disability sector supporting young people with a disability. I worked for two services simultaneously, one where I completed my school-based traineeship placement. In my first year out of school and after gaining some more work experience in this area I realised I wanted to explore sport and recreation. I started sports coaching through Kelly Sports, which took me to schools and kindergartens in the region, as part of this I decided to complete my Diploma of Sport Development. From this study opportunity, I worked with the AFL on weekends and went to East Arnhem Land, where I assisted AFL NT with a football carnival and sport activities in a remote community. I also obtained work with Cottage By The Sea in Queenscliff.
I used my love of sport, particularly surfing to ask a Geelong youth service if they could assist more young women to engage in outdoor activities. I used my knowledge of being a sporty young person to pitch a program idea and help this get off the ground. In February 2019 I started a two-year traineeship with this organisation and due to finish later this year. I support young people in both a school and community setting every day. I am also a qualified Teen Mental Health First Aid instructor, I use this qualification both in my role at work and as a private facilitator.
My pathway was definitely supported by Clonard in the subjects I did and the opportunities I took. The work-related skills and personal development components of VCAL, as well as the opportunity to work and study in a school-based traineeship through VCAL set me up for life beyond school and shaped the attitude and work ethic I have now.
Advice for Clonard students: you don’t have to stick with something just because you have always wanted to do it, it is ok to say “this isn’t what I thought it would be like” and try different things until you’ve found what suits you. It is also helpful to make yourself known to people who work in an area you’re interested in.