Yalari student reflects on her Abbotsleigh adventures
Hannah attended Abbotsleigh as part of the Abbotsleigh Foundation's Indigenous Scholarship program, completing her studies in 2013. Here Hannah shares her memories about her experience at the school.
"I am from Moree, in north-western New South Wales. Everyone in Moree is easy going and very relaxed. One of seven children, I grew up on a small property and life was stress-free.
School was very laid-back. I never experienced high school life in Moree but I heard bad stories about the high school I would have been attending if I hadn’t been successful in gaining a scholarship at Abbotsleigh. This is what urged me to apply and I was so excited to be at my new school.
Abbotsleigh was a lot more serious than school life in Moree. You had to make sure you had done all your homework and went to every class. Being a boarder also meant I had to be more independent as I didn’t have my parents to rely on.
Boarding school was so much fun. I was living with my friends for six years, which felt like a massive sleepover and I always had someone to talk to if I was missing home or needed help with anything. Another great thing was that because we lived on the School grounds we had access to many of Abbotsleigh’s great facilities.
The School’s sporting events are among my most memorable experiences. I really enjoyed playing touch football. I was in the senior 1st team and we won every final, which was a good mark to leave school on. I also enjoyed my art, and I was lucky enough to attend a printmaking workshop with artist Kaye Greene, who deepened my passion for lino prints.
After leaving Abbotsleigh I went on to study film for a year and also worked as an Abbotsleigh boarding resident with the Year 7 students. I enjoyed my time as a boarding resident, helping girls settle into boarding life, especially the Indigenous girls. They knew I was a past Yalari/Abbotsleigh student, which made them feel more comfortable and I was like a big sister to them. I planned to study Fine Arts at COFA, but I have deferred my enrolment.
I really love working with the children at Abbotsleigh’s ELC. I enjoy seeing the children grow every day and become more confident in themselves. It is such a joy to see kids happy, smiling and playing but also learning and expanding their knowledge. At the end of 2015, I was offered a full time position at the ELC.
My education has impacted me greatly. Every day I am thankful that I was offered a scholarship to attend Abbotsleigh. I was given so many wonderful opportunities and I will be forever grateful. I have learnt to be confident in myself, thanks to my teachers and the School. I feel I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.
I would say to anyone who contributes to the program, ‘THANK YOU!’ Every little bit counts. Every day we are thankful to those who are willing to contribute, as you are helping shape a child’s future. Not only are you giving them an education but you are helping them beat the battles they would face if they were at home."