Twenty-five years: A Lasting Friendship

22 August 2017

Much has changed over the last quarter-century: 25 years ago one and two-cent coins started to be withdrawn from circulation, The Queen visited Australia, and Paul Keating was the Australian Prime Minister. For five Deakin Alumnae, 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of their graduation, and a friendship that began at Deakin University, and has continued since they entered the workforce.

Mara Rawlings, Karina Roby, Vicki Baldwin, Nerida Newell, and Cathy Harrison all wanted to be teachers when they commenced their degrees at Victoria College, which merged with Deakin University in 1991. Now they all love teaching, the children they teach, and wouldn’t trade the profession for more money.

As Physical Education teachers-in-training they enjoyed the challenges that study brought for them, including 38 contact-hour week in their first year and, for Nerida, a two hour commute each day. As they reminisce about their studies, their PE lectures stand out in their memories, including David Parkin OAM, who is still part of the Deakin Community. As they recall David, they remember him as a mentor who made them want to go to class. This didn’t stop Nerida covering his office door with North Melbourne stickers.

Mara, Karina, Vicki, Nerida, and Cathy all agree that Deakin understood its students. They all studied on campus and went on camps with the lecturers, at night the lecturers would join the students and they’d connect. In their third year, it became apparent that there were limited jobs for teachers. So few teaching positions were available that government staff encouraged them to seek roles in other fields. As a result of this, their fourth year of study was focused on alternate careers. Like many teaching and education graduates in the early 1990s, they were all forced out of teaching by the lack of jobs; many of their classmates working in coaching or sport medicine. However, these alumnae would all find their way back into teaching.

When Mara, Karina, Vicki, Nerida, and Cathy graduated, they were given a choice about their Testamurs: they could have an award from Victoria College, or Deakin University. They all agree it was a no brainer.

Currently Mara is an Early Years Literacy and Numeracy Intervention teacher and performing arts coordinator, as well as a professional flamenco dancer. Karina works at Monash Children’s Hospital as a School Teacher for children on the ward. Vicki is a year four teacher at Ivanhoe Grammar School. Nerida Newell is Performing Arts Teacher, as well as the choir, bands, and vocal groups co-ordinator. Cathy has her own educational business, where she specialises in Dyslexia.

Read their stories:

Mara Rawlings

Karina Roby

Vicki Baldwin

Nerida Newell

Cathy Harrison

If you have a story you’d like to share about your time at Deakin, contact us.

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