Thank You, I am so Proud and Grateful.

Today, officially marks my final day at St Catherine’s School. I look back on my time at St Catherine’s with fond memories of all the staff I have worked with over the years. They are unwavering in their commitment to providing a welcoming and inspiring learning environment for all of our students. They are some of the best educators and staff I know, and I would like to thank them for their kindness, compassion, support and friendship.

To be a Careers Practitioner is a privilege. I do not take this significant role in a young person’s life for granted. I like to think I have served our students well during my time here.

In this role, no one day is ever the same. Each student brings a unique conversation about their aspirations, discussing where can they go, how can they get there, and what do they need to do to make their dream a reality.

It has been an honour to have these daily conversations with students as they share with me what their hopes and dreams are. To see so many of them fulfil these ideas over the years has been nothing short of heart-warming. It has given me an overwhelming sense of pride to see them being so brave in their career choices.

In our recent online Careers Evening, I reached out to past students, many of whom I had these conversations with. I vividly remember the chats about their interests, their strengths and their ambitions. I helped them map out a plan, apply for courses, sometimes adjust plans and refocus. To see what incredibly successful women they have become was stimulating. If I played even a small part in inspiring a St Catherine’s student during my time at the School, I thank you for the privilege.

Some moments to share in my time as a Careers Practitioner at St Catherine’s:

  • I am proud to say, I consider every student who has ever walked into my office to seek advice as an individual. To me, one size does not fit all.
  • I am proud to have made our students understand ‘there are many ways to the top of the mountain, but the view from the top is the same’.
  • I am proud to have inspired students to challenge themselves, aspire to achieve and learn from their mistakes.
  • I am proud to have supported students to apply to study at University here in Victoria, and interstate or overseas.
  • I am proud to have supported students to go to TAFE, gain apprenticeships or employment – sometimes before Year 12 and sometimes after they have finished.
  • I am proud to have introduced VET as a subject at St Catherine’s and to have encouraged our applied learners to study such subjects through VCE VET subjects.
  • I am proud to have supported students who have individual learning needs to have a suitable pathway planned, allowing for engaged learning and a positive transition beyond school.
  • I am proud to have supported students wanting to accelerate and extend their learning through enhancement subjects at University as part of their VCE.
  • I am proud to have been an advocate for many students needing support in their subject options or individualised subject programs to remain engaged in school for longer.
  • I am proud of introducing School Based Traineeships at St Catherine’s that have allowed students to successfully balance study and workplace learning.
  • I am proud to have supported students complete work experience or structured workplace learning.
  • I am proud of introducing the e-portfolio from Years 7 to 12, to provide a positive digital footprint of a student’s growth, achievements and success.
  • I am proud to have introduced the VCE Careers Breakfast and online/ virtual Careers Evening.
  • I am proud of being a mentor to staff and students in career decision making.

However, mostly, I am proud of our students and all that they have ever achieved during my time at St Catherine’s School. I am grateful to the students for:

  • Trusting me to support them in their subject and career decisions. For sharing their personal and academic challenges or obstacles, then allowing me to help guide them in ways to help overcome these.
  • The inspiration, honesty, kindness and laughter you have all provided.
  • All the amazing parents at St Catherine’s for entrusting me to work with, advise and support their children during their time here. I was blessed to have shared the responsibility to care, inspire and guide students as they move through and beyond St Catherine’s School.

I wish all the students, past, present and future, all the very best in their endeavours. May their personal and professional lives, forever be filled with success and happiness. Until we meet again.

Ms Pauline van der Poel, Director for Planning & Organisation, Careers Practitioner