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Taking the next steps

20 Dec 2019

Year 12 students embrace the future

Gungahlin College graduate Hayley Blake and Canberra College graduate Ella Dransfield

Gungahlin College graduate Hayley Blake and Canberra College graduate Ella Dransfield.

With the 2019 school year finished, tens of thousands of students are now taking a well-earned holiday break.

For graduating Year 12 students like Hayley Blake and Ella Dransfield though, 2020 is the beginning of a whole new phase of their lives.

During her time at Gungahlin College, Hayley excelled in Vocational Education. She achieved seven certificates over the two years and, due to her success and hard work, has received a scholarship in Event Management to attend Kenvale College next year.

“It was a lot of hard work doing all of the courses, but it was just as rewarding,” Hayley said.

"It's a bit crazy that most of your life is school and that's all that you know and it's come to an end. I'm looking forward to venturing out, but also looking forward to starting a new career in event management.”

Hayley chose vocational studies because she wanted to finish her schooling with qualifications and a certificate.

“Gungahlin College offered so many different ones. I thought I would use that as an opportunity to learn lots in different areas,” Hayley said.

Ella graduated Year 12 at Canberra College through The Big Picture Academy, successfully completing a two-year graduate portfolio to gain entrance to University of Canberra’s Bachelor of Nursing for next year.

Ella enriched her project by engaging in in real world learning experiences accessed through internships and vocational learning opportunities through the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Ella said that at one point she hadn’t been sure whether she would even attend College, let alone graduate and go to university.

“In Year 10, I wasn’t really attending school, because I was struggling with my mental health issues, and I didn’t think I would be able to go to college at all,” she said.

“Then my Mum came across the Big Picture program, which is an alternative way of learning where all your work is surrounding your interests.”

With the help of this program, Ella was able to turn it around. Over the last two years she developed her senior thesis project on Maxillofacial Surgery: Cleft Lip and Palate and worked with two external academic mentors from the University of Canberra and Operation Smile.

Hayley and Ella are just two of the 4,553 students graduating Year 12 across the ACT this year, every one of which has their own unique story. Congratulations to all of 2019 ACT Public Schools graduating cohort.