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Role models inspire OLSH students


‘Where are the world’s great needs in relation to my gifts and deep desires of my heart?’ This is the question Dr Joanna Howe put to students of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College at the Enfield school’s annual Mentors’ Breakfast last month.

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Dr Howe, Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide and Rhodes Scholar, was one of two keynote speakers at the breakfast which was also attended by women from a wide range of professions and industries, many of them OLSH alumni.

Dr Howe

Dr Howe spoke about her research into migrant workers’ rights and how this had been influenced by her own family’s experience as immigrants to Australia from India.

She said one of her proudest achievements was helping to abolish ‘piece rates’ whereby workers are paid a meagre amount based on how much they pick, rather than having a minimum wage.

In defending her research in a pivotal court case, she was cross-examined for three hours.

“As my mum told me, success is 99 per cent hard work and one per cent talent,” she said.

The mother of five and wife to James also gave the students some advice about making the right choices in life, including “who you give your heart to”.

“It determines partly who you become, so it’s a really important life decision,” she said.

Finally, she encouraged the girls to “be prepared to swim against the tide”.

“I think in our world today we are in desperate need of people who don’t just go with the flow and just do the popular thing,” she said.

“In our history our world has been changed by people like this.

“My message to you is think about who you are, where you want to be, think carefully about who you keep in your inner circle and do be prepared to swim against the tide because we are in a world which is in a deeply divided place and we need people to speak truth to power and to be courageous.”

Emily Hack

The other keynote speaker was old scholar Emma Hack (Class of 2013). Emily currently works at SA Water as an Operations Technology Planning and Readiness officer. She holds a double degree in Civil & Structural Engineering and Science with a double major in chemistry and has been featured at the SA Museum as part of ‘Her Story – Women in STEM’ exhibition.

Emily shared positive and inspiring messages to the students around subject selections, perseverance, hard work and commitment.

Principal Maria Urbano referred to the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ as the motivation for giving students the opportunity to learn firsthand about different careers and gain inspiration from role models who have pursued a variety of pathways.

SA MP Andrea Michaels, the Member for Enfield, and Councillor Olivia Columbo from the City of Port Adelaide Enfield also attended the event.

Rose Cecere, Flexible Learning Pathways coordinator, thanked Emily, Dr Howe and mentors for “taking time out of their day to attend the breakfast, for captivating the students with their stories, expanding their horizons and opening their minds to new possibilities”.

“Students were very appreciative of the time they were able to spend with our guests and it was wonderful to see the girls walk away with renewed inspiration, ambition and new connections,” she said.

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