School Captains start at La Trobe

Three Mildura high school captains have joined the La Trobe Mildura student body, commencing their health qualifications.

Oscar Collins was the School Captain at Coomealla High School last year and says he’s the first in his family to go to uni.

“I’ve always wanted to go to university, it’s been on my mind the last couple of years.  My whole family are basically nurses!  My Mum works in aged care and a few of my aunties work in the hospital.  So, I’ve always been around nursing and I’ve always wanted to help people.”

With so many different avenues nursing can take you, Oscar is little unsure which path he’ll take.

“Everywhere needs nurses!  I’m keen to see what working in the hospital environment is like and I’m also really interested in aged care. I’m looking forward to our placements, as I’m hoping that will give me a little more inspiration.”

For Oscar, right now, he’s happy to be studying in Mildura, with the support of family and friends.

“I’ve never really wanted to move away.  I want to be close to friends and family.  I’m not good with new places, so studying in my home town really suits me.  I’m really excited to start the year.”

It’s a similar story for Maria Petrolo, one of the St Joseph’s College School Captains from 2022.

“I decided to study here in Mildura, due to the convenience of living in my hometown. All of my family are here and everything that I love. Having the ability to study here in Mildura also further enables me to look into other opportunities such as studying and working overseas – which is an opportunity that may have not been financially possible if I was studying elsewhere.”

Maria’s part time job as a Dining Room Assistant in an aged care home, inspired her to study nursing.

“I find pure joy in being around elderly people and helping them undertake simple tasks. I am extremely excited for the day when I can advance into the position of a carer or nurse and have the skills to properly care for the residents.

“I pride myself as an individual that finds enjoyment in helping people and looking after others, and I believe that Nursing is a perfect representation of those attributes. I have also decided to study Nursing because of the many opportunities and benefits that come with the occupation!”

Kaitia Phillis-Thornton was a School Captain at Red Cliffs Secondary College in 2021 and is studying the Diploma of Rural Health.

“Growing up I have always pushed myself into leadership roles.  I was a School Captain in primary and secondary school, as well as my extensive roles within Girl Guides, as a junior leader and now a unit leader.  It's great that I’m able to bring those qualities to La Trobe and share them with my cohort, as well as developing them further.”

“I am not quite set on what I want to move into next year but I am looking at either using the Diploma as a stepping stone to get into Nursing or as a foundation into Occupational Therapy.”

Kaitia used her background in Girl Guides and as a School Captain to pathway to La Trobe via the Aspire Community Contribution program.

“I am so glad there was an option rewarding those of us that do hard work within our communities with entry into university and allow us to expand on those qualities as well.  My experience at La Trobe so far has been amazing, there are a group of us at the Mildura Campus studying the Diploma of Rural Health and we have already formed a really good friendship group.”