Meet our 2021 Student Leaders – Sports

It’s time for our second Student Leader interview. Meet Charlene Nheu, our Year 12 Sports Leader for 2021.

We all have a favourite book, what’s yours and what do you love about it?

I love ‘Where the Crawdad’s Sing’ by Delia Owens as it addresses prejudicial issues, as well as being a mystery and coming of age novel. I remember reading forever and ever because it was just so intriguing and different.

The show ‘Friends’ is noted as one of the most binge-watched program of all time, do you have a TV series you love? Why do you love it? Do you have a favourite episode?

My current favourite TV series is Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’ve been watching season 7 and I love it because of the character dynamics, everyone is so different and together it just makes the show really funny and interesting. My favourite episodes are the annual Halloween heists they all take part in!

Most people can’t stand doing the dishes, what’s your least favourite chore?

I don’t like doing the laundry, specifically having to hang out the washing.

What is your favourite subject and why?

My favourite subject is Sport and Recreation because it’s not as content-heavy as my other subjects which gives me a break and I get to play sports, get some exercise which I love and is super fun! 100% would recommend the subject!

If you could meet any current or historical figure who would you meet and why?

I would love to meet Michelle Obama because she’s such an empowering figure for women. All the work she’s done is truly inspirational and I feel like she’ll give the best advice, which I currently need.

A lot of people look up to their parents, do you have someone you look up to (it doesn’t have to be someone you know)?

I look up to my grandparents because they’ve faced so many difficulties just to get to where they are and despite all of it they’ve managed to stay positive and continue to live everyday with a smile. They also never fail to provide me with lots of insight and advice.

If you could send a message back in time to yourself at the start of Year 7, what would you say?

You’ll have an awesome time! Don’t stress too much yet, and don’t stress about what other people think about you! You’re on the right path and remember that everyone goes at a different pace, so don’t rush yourself.

What is the thing you love the most about Killester College?

I love the diversity of the people. It’s such a multicultural school and it’s amazing to see everyone together especially at school events. Having a diverse community enables us to learn about various beliefs and values that are different to our own which is always interesting.

Do you have any idea what career you’d like to pursue? If so – how do you plan to pursue this career?

I would love to get a career in law or become a social worker. Hopefully everything will go well and I am able to enrol in the courses I’m interested in, but who knows, we’ll just have to see.

What has Killester taught you about the meaning of life?

Killester has taught me that everyone has their own role and purpose in this world and that it’s important to do things that you love. There’s a life beyond just school (even though it may not feel like that sometimes) so get out and explore new things, challenge yourself because that’s the only way you’ll grow and know what you enjoy.

If you had to name one positive thing/moment you’ll remember about your time at Killester what would it be?

Hard to name just one thing but definitely all of the sports carnivals and camps we’ve had especially Canberra. It was so nice to get out with friends and stay up talking for hours at night. It’ll be weird not seeing the same faces every day.

Do you have any advice/words of wisdom for the Killester girls?

Even though every school day may feel like it goes on forever, in reality, it’ll go really fast. It’s 100% okay to have days where you don’t feel great and have no motivation to do anything. After all you do need a break, just take some time and get right back to it. Head into every new experience/or challenge with a positive mindset and remember to stay optimistic!

Meet the Killester Team – Ms. Miha

This week we’d like to introduce you to our wonderfully talented and creative Fashion, Textiles and Art teacher Ms. Miha. Ms. Miha has been teaching at Killester for the past 30 years and is a passionate and devoted teacher. Her love for Killester started when she was in fact a student at the College. Ever since she was young she has wanted to be a Teacher, and then a Fashion Designer. So she combined her two loves and is now teaching Fashion Design to our VET students. Here’s our full interview with Ms. Miha:

We all have a favourite book that we come back to time and time again, what’s yours and what do you love about it?

The Secret Garden- I love it because it is about a garden and the imagery is amazing. I love that it is a garden that brings healing and hope.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

I really liked Humanities because it was about the world we live in.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A Teacher, then a Fashion Designer.

What was your first paying job?

Woolworths Springvale

What career path did you follow to get to where you are today? Feel free to include what you studied.

This is a hard question to answer- but basically I have always loved drawing and writing. So I completed a fashion design course and worked in a library for a few years, then completed my Teaching degree. The rest is history!

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?

My worst job was working on a production line in a cardboard box factory. It was boring but dangerous!

What’s the best concert you’ve been to?

Paul Mc Cartney and Wings

What would your ‘spirit-animal’ be and why?

A ‘She Wolf’ because she is loyal, protective and fierce.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?

I love to write poetry!

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why?

Coco Chanel and Claude Monet

What are the three items you would take with you on a desert island?

Pencil, paper and book the ‘History of Art’.

Have you met anyone famous?

Jean Paul Gaultier

How long have you worked at Killester?

30 years

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love being creative and I feel working at Killester has enabled my creativity to grow.

What motivates you at work?

I love my job and every aspect of what I do, I want to be organised and prepared for my classes. I want to be the best teacher I can be.

What is your favourite thing about Killester?

The students of course! They are kind, considerate and caring!

If you had advice/words of wisdom for our girls what would it be?

Be true to yourself, love and respect your family, be kind to yourself and follow your passions but be open to other skills because you never know you might grow a passion!

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Killester community?

Be proud of who you are, always think positive thoughts – because your thoughts become your words and therefore your actions.

Meet Our 2021 Student Leaders – Student Council

We all have a favourite book, what’s yours and what do you love about it?

Pride and Prejudice – I learn something new every time I read it.

Most people can’t stand doing the dishes, what’s your least favourite chore?

Unloading the dishwasher!

What is your favourite subject and why?

Visual Communication and Design is my favourite subject.

If you could meet any current or historic figure who would you meet and why?

I would meet Isaac Newton to try and understand how he saw the world. It fascinates me to think about how he looked at the world from a whole new perspective and was able to define the way EVERYTHING moves.

A lot of people look up to their parents, do you have someone you look up to?

I look up to a few people in my life. Both my parents and my older brother. They have achieved so much in life and inspire me to always try my best.

If you could send a message back in time to yourself at the start of Year 7, what would you say?

Focus.

What is the thing you love the most about Killester College?

There is positive energy in the school and among students and teachers. Everyone encourages you to be the ‘best you’ and the student voice is heard fairly. 

Do you have any idea what career you’d like to pursue? If so – how do you plan to pursue this career?

I would like to become an Architect or Civil Engineer in the future. I am currently studying the subjects that will help me achieve this goal. I have also called up architecture firms to ask if they offer work experience which I will be attending in the holidays.

What has Killester taught you about the meaning of life?

I moved to Killester in Year 9 which was a little bit scary going to an all-girls school as a teenager but I felt so welcomed. I learnt how being kind and hospitable doesn’t take much effort, but can have a huge impact.

Do you have any advice/words of wisdom for the Killester girls?

You should get involved in the Killester community as much as you can to make the most out of school.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Killester community?

Killester feels like home.

 

Alumni Career Snapshot – Laura Deegan

Meet Dr. Laura Deegan one of our 2009 graduates, and now Clinical Psychologist. Here’s some advice she had for our Killester girls, and what she had to say about studying psychology.

What subjects did you study in Year 12?

English, Maths Methods, Psychology, Italian, P.E.

What are some of the roles you have held in your career?

Community Corrections Officer, Researcher, Allied Health Assistant, Psychologist

What path did you take to get to where you are now?

After finishing Year 12, I studied a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences at Deakin University. After that, I completed my Honours in Psychology and then a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. 7 years of full-time study in total but overall, I enjoyed my time as a uni student and met people that I’m still friends with today.

Who inspired you to get where you are?

Women outnumber men in psychology, and there are a number of inspiring women who I’ve looked up to along the way. I’ve worked with women that are determined, self-reliant, and have overcome any challenges that come their way.

What do you love most about what you do?

I work with adolescents who are diagnosed with mental illnesses. Adolescence can be a really tricky period in a person’s life, and living with a mental illness on top of that can be even trickier. I love that my work involves supporting young people through that tough period, listening to what’s going on for them and seeing if there are ways (big or small) that I can help.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Completing my doctoral thesis in Clinical Psychology. It was a big research project and took 3 years to complete, but I did it!

What has been the most challenging thing about your career?

Probably finding the area of psychology that I want to work in. It’s quite a big field with lots of options. I was interested in forensic psychology and then couples counselling, but eventually, I found my feet working with adolescents.

What have been some career highlights?

After I completed my thesis, my research was published in scientific journals. I also went overseas to talk about my research at 2 conferences. Public speaking at international conferences was absolutely nerve-wracking, but it felt good to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Do you have anything special that you remember about your time at Killester College?

The days that I remember the most are the Brigidine days, dressing up, and having a bit of fun with friends.

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for our Killester Girls?

Even if you doubt that it will work out, try it anyway. You never know.

Alumni Career Snapshot – Kathleen Lawson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Kathleen Lawson, one of our Killester graduates. Kathleen’s Job Title is currently ‘Music Therapist, Chiropractor, Consultant – Functional Neurological Rehabilitation’. Dr. Lawson was very involved in music during her time at Killester, but she has only pursued this side of her life more recently. She now loves exploring music from a Health and Wellness perspective. Here’s what she had to say about her career path. 

What subjects did you study in Year 12?

English, Biology, Maths, Chemistry, Economics, RE

What are some of the roles you have held in your career?

Travel Consultant, Nurse, Mother, Chiropractor, Business Owner, Lecturer, Music Therapist

What path did you take to get to where you are now?

A very convoluted one! Five different universities, several jobs, some travel, balancing a family as a sole parent, and lots of personal growth work.

Who inspired you to get where you are?

I’ve had many mentors – teachers, business people, friends, etc…but I think one of the biggest drivers was having two small children and knowing that I wanted them to have opportunities that would only happen if I made something for them to springboard from.

What do you love most about what you do?

The variety!  No day is the same, I’ve had some amazing opportunities as a result of the things that I’ve become involved in – some spectacular failures in there too – and plenty of learning!

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I’m still learning and can try new things, and that my life now is a reflection of my choices.

What has been the most challenging thing about your career?

Finding a way to keep all the balls juggling – there’s no such thing as balance, but a constant ebb and flow of demands on my time and energy.  Some days keeping up is more challenging than others, and I did get caught in burnout a while ago – that wasn’t great…

What have been some career highlights?

Special moments of connection with people who entrust me with aspects of their care, building and then selling a successful business, being brave enough to make big changes, a few awards along the way… So many things!

Do you have anything special that you remember about your time at Killester College?

To be honest, I was a bit of a nerd… but the music program was where I found my fun.  High School wasn’t an easy time for me so I really just concentrated on my studies. I didn’t get to where I expected to at the end of HSC (VCE) despite my best efforts, but it turns out that wasn’t the end of the world at all, and in fact, it was probably the making of me in many ways.

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for our Killester Girls?

I realise now that there was a kind of family motto that guided how I approached things. My mum would often say “God helps those who help themselves…” which I suppose meant that we each had a responsibility to use our skills and talents to make the best of things and that in doing so, opportunities, resources and the right people would somehow present themselves.  

I’m impatient by nature, so I often couldn’t see the truth in the motto because it never seemed to happen quickly enough for me. But I think it’s really true – do the best with what you’ve got, just get on with it, and trust that what you need will eventually be there and support your journey towards where you’re meant to be.  

But it’s not enough to just set your mind and decide – you actually have to get up and DO something to help life meet you. There’s so much power in just taking that first active step.  Asking for and accepting help are also easier if you’re already being pro-active because other people are then collaborating with you for your success and it becomes a win-win.

Life may not always go the way you expect it to, but there is always something in there of value.  The trick is to find the gem in the rock and then polish it up so your strengths shine through. 

Alumni Career Snapshot – Marta Miranda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marta Miranda, a graduate from our class of 1993. Marta is currently working as a Master Data Lead. Here’s what she had to say about her career path. 

What subjects did you study in Year 12?

Home economics, English, Maths, Drama, Legal, Psychology

What are some of the roles you have held in your career?

  • Community Radio Grants Manager
  • Master Data Manager
  • Account Manager
  • Data Lead on Large System implementations
  • Promotions Co-ordinator

What path did you take to get to where you are now?

I’ve always been a hard worker and have readily put my hand to learn new things. I studied at Tafe briefly, then found an office job and worked my way up in organisations and roles, to become more senior and gain more experience.

Who inspired you to get where you are?

My first manager was a man who always encouraged others. He helped me go from an Office Junior to a Senior Account Manager of a major Airline within a year.  He always told me to not be afraid to make a mistake and give things a go.

What do you love most about what you do?

I enjoy the simplicity of an area I understand and assisting people in education and understanding the way systems work.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My volunteer work. I have spent the last 25 years in community radio in various roles outside of my normal day job and I thoroughly enjoy it, its a great passion of mine and something I get so much from. I am also proud of the networking and connections I have made whilst working for some amazing global companies, this has set me up in a good position for when roles become available people will always reach out to me.

What has been the most challenging thing about your career?

Trying different types of roles and then realising that I am actually good in the Data and Systems space.  Not being afraid to try another area, a few years back I gave up a great contracting role to work for a recruitment company and then realised a week later that I made a mistake.  Then being resilient enough to just get back to what I love.

What have been some career highlights?

The amazing connections and friendships I have made along the way, travelling interstate and being able to gain so much more experience and not taking work opportunities for granted.

Do you have anything special that you remember about your time at Killester College?

The friendships I made along the way, the nurturing teachers and my amazing Drama teacher who told me I had so much potential on the big stage, that I think it translated into my love for my community work.

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for our Killester Girls?

Don’t overthink things, there is so much emphasis to be someone specific or do something specific, but I encourage you to always put up your hand to try new things in the work environment and to look for ways to enhance your developmental path. Most organisations really encourage you to take the lead on this nowadays.  You have nothing to lose in life by giving something a go or trying something new.

There is no right or wrong in a career, do what makes your heart sing.  You really want to be in a position to say “at least I gave it a go”, you will find your way and find what truly makes you happy.

2021 Uniform Requirements

Students may choose to wear either the winter or summer uniform any day dependent upon the weather. Students are reminded that they are not permitted to wear a combination of uniforms (eg: stockings with the summer dress) nor does this relate to the wearing of the PE Uniform which is permitted only when students have a scheduled PE class.

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Student Dress Code and Uniform Requirements

Shoes: if you do not need new shoes, students may continue to wear the brown school shoes. Once you need a new pair of shoes you will need to purchase black school shoes. 

Socks and stockings: all students are required to wear the new School socks which are available from Buxwear.

Summer Uniform: White Socks (No other White socks are to be worn).

Winter Uniform: Navy Blue Socks or Stockings (No other Blue socks are to be worn).

Blazers: are to be worn to and from school as the outer garment (Optional on days of temperatures of 30 degrees plus).

Summer uniform: 

-Striped Dress (bottom of knee length)

-Monogrammed Jumper (Navy/ VCE Blue)

-White Killester socks (Long or Short option)

-Black Leather Lace-up School shoes

-Navy Hair Ribbons/ Headbands

-Navy Blazer

Winter uniform:

-Pleated Winter Skirt (bottom of knee-length)

-Killester Long Pants (optional)

-Monogrammed Jumper (Navy/ VCE Blue)

-Blouse

-Black Leather Lace-up School shoes

-Navy Blue Killester Long Socks or Navy Opaque Tights

-Navy Blazer

-College Rain Jacket (outerwear only and not to be worn indoors) 

-College Scarf with Crest

Pants: the College pants can be purchased at the uniform shop, they are an alternative to the winter skirt. You do not need to have both, students may choose to wear the pants or the winter skirt with the winter uniform. 

PE Uniform: Students are permitted to come to and from school in their PE uniform on the days where they have timetabled PE lessons. The school jumper or blazer are not to be worn with the PE uniform. 

-Killester Polo Top

-Sports shoes

-White sports socks

-Killester Rugby Top

-Navy Killester Trackpants

-Navy Killester Shorts

-Navy Killester Cap

Jewellery: 

-Piercings other than one set of earrings are not permitted. Plastic spacers and band aids are not an acceptable alternative. 

-Jewellery is not to be worn with the exception of a wrist watch and one pair or small earrings (studs or sleepers).

Any inappropriate item of Jewellery will be confiscated and returned by the SDL at the end of the day. Any subsequent offence, the item will be confiscated for a longer period of time. 

Make-up & Nail Polish: 

-Make up and eyelash extensions/ false eyelashes are not to be worn. 

-Nail polish, acrylic nails (SNS, Shellac etc) are not permitted.

Other:

Blazers are compulsory for all year levels (optional on forecast temperatures of 30 degrees plus)

-T-shirts/ under garments are not to be visible under uniform

-No tights/ pantihose to be worn with Summer Uniform

-Hair should be tied back for PE/ Home Eco/ Science/ Art & Textiles classes to ensure safety

-Students are NOT to carry their school bags to classes with them. They should remain in their lockers throughout the day.

Meet the Killester Team – Dr Lim

This week we’d like to introduce you to Dr Lim our devoted Science Learning Leader. Dr Lim has an interesting background and many hidden talents, take a look!

We all have a favourite book that we come back to time and time again, what’s yours and what do you love about it?

One of my favourite books is a Chinese autobiographical trilogy entitled “The Torrents: Family. Spring. Autumn” that recounts the decline of a large feudal family following the May Fourth Movement of 1919. I also like Dan Brown’s thriller novels which are packed with mysteries and controversial theories about the Catholic Church.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

Mathematics. This has been one of my strongest subjects since I was young. I like the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I successfully solved a particularly hard problem!

When you were growing up what did you want to be?

I wanted to be a medical doctor to save lives!

What was your first paying job?

A research assistant in a biochemistry lab.

What career path did you follow to get to where you are today?

After finishing my BSc (Hon) degree in Malaysia, I migrated to Australia with my parents. While working as a Research Assistant, I was offered a scholarship to do my PhD. I did a short period of Post Doc in Melbourne after my PhD. When my son was born, my husband and I wanted to introduce him to our culture and let him experience Malaysian life that we have been brought up in. So, we returned to Malaysia for nearly four years. During those years, I had my first “teaching” experience working as a full-time lecturer at the University of Malaya, lecturing Biochemistry to mainly first-year medical students. When my son was ready to start school, we returned to Melbourne. A year before we came back to Melbourne, my daughter was born. She required a lot of care and medical attention. That was when I decided to have a career change so I could spend time with my kids. Teaching became an obvious choice. I could teach other kids as well as my own, and most importantly I could spend school holidays with my children without worrying about childcare! I love it and it has been my career ever since!

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?

Gardening!  I actually enjoyed it but unfortunately, my fingers are not ‘green’, many plants I planted did not survive!

What’s the best concert you’ve been to?

A concert by MSO in Hammer Hall featuring Lang Lang playing Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No.1 in B-flat minor. I love that piece and Lang Lang is an amazing pianist!

What would your ‘spirit-animal’ be and why?

I did a ‘spirit-animal’ quiz. It says I am a cat because it symbolises curiosity, creation, and independence. Apparently, I am always dreaming up a new side project or planning my next adventure! The funny thing is that I’m not a big fan of cats in real life.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?

I enjoy cooking some ‘special, non-everyday’ food for my family when I am not busy with school work. My family thinks that I am pretty good at it! 

Which historic figure would you like to meet and why?

Donald Trump! He is outspoken, eccentric, has a very different perspective of the world! Amazing he has more than 70millions American voted for him.

What are the three items you would take with you on a desert island?

A metal pot for collecting/cooking food/water, a thick coat to keep warm and a good knife for cutting stuff. And my lovely husband as a companion!

Have you met anyone famous?

My son plays a lot of golf. I have been to many golf tournaments and I have seen Tiger Woods up close in a couple of those tournaments.

How long have you worked at Killester?

I started teaching at Killester since 2001. Coming to 20 years!

What is the favourite part of your job?

Apart from imparting my knowledge and share my experience with students, I also enjoy listening to their stories and learning “new-generation” stuff from them.

What motivates you at work?

Knowing that I play a role in helping my students to develop and grow to reach their potential and that I could make a difference to a young person.

What is your favourite thing about Killester?

Our students – their humble backgrounds, their cultures and their respectful nature.

If you had advice/words of wisdom for our girls what would it be?

Life is like a chemical equilibrium, you must consider both sides of the equation and choose the best direction to react that is best for you in that particular situation.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Killester community?

Other than English, I also speak Mandarin, Malay and a few Chinese dialects (Hokkien, Cantonese and Teow Chew). 

I want to go trekking in Patagonia when the world is safe again!

Alumni Career Snapshot – Vicki Macdermid

We’d like to introduce you to Vick Macdermid a Killester graduate from the class of 1975. Vicki is a Thought Leader, Speaker and Creator of The Power Quotient, a model for mapping and achieving extraordinary potential for leaders and their teams. Here’s her full interview:

What subjects did you study in Year 12?

English, Australian History, General Maths, Legal Studies, Politics

What are some of the roles you have held in your career?

Group Accountant for manufacturing company, Senior Partner at Pitcher Partners, Chair Inclusion & Diversity Committee, Superannuation Fund Board Member & Chair, Charity Boards

What path did you take to get to where you are now?

  • Studied Accounting part-time for two years and then completed my Bachelor’s Degree full time 
  • Took a graduate accountant position with what was then Hungefords which subsequently merged with what became KPMG and a demerger in 1991 when Pitcher Partners was formed
  • Held various roles in the firm and worked in different areas
  • Became a partner in 2001 and retired as a partner in 2020
  • Completed many post-grad studies including Applied Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation with a research paper “What Horses Teach us about Leadership”
  • Created a leadership program based on my studies for groups and teams incorporating workshops co-facilitated by horses
  • Completed ICF PCC Coaching certification in 2019
  • Currently studying for certification in Positive Intelligence

Who inspired you to get where you are?

Not one person in particular but many for different reasons:

  • my mother who was widowed at age 39 with 6 kids who always worked very hard
  • my uncle who ALWAYS believed in me 
  • many of the partners and others I worked with as a young accountant
  • people I have met through horses 
  • the horses I have met, particularly Macca

What do you love most about what you do?

I get to witness the transformation of potential to power through people interacting with the horses, and each other, in ways that are transformative – I help them make magic.

What are you most proud of in your career?

  • Even when feeling as if I were a voice in the wilderness, I persisted 
  • Creating a path for others & being a source of wisdom
  • Assisting and supporting many younger staff (some now partners) in their career journey
  • First female to qualify as CA while with the firm (Hungerfords)
  • First to take maternity leave
  • First to work part-time
  • First female of the firm to be promoted to partner (Pitcher Partners)
  • Delivering a TEDx on Connection and Intention Through Horse Power in 2019

What has been the most challenging thing about your career?

Often loneliness in gender and approach. I wear my heart on my sleeve and express my views, which, at times, did not serve me. I was also responsible for keeping our house running while working full time which was hugely challenging.

What have been some career highlights?

Being the sponsoring partner for the admission of a new partner in 2017.

Do you have anything special that you remember about your time at Killester College?

To be honest, my friends and I were rather mischievous at school. I have many happy memories of what my close friends and I got up to while at Killester.  At a school reunion, maybe 15 years ago, Sr Anne greeted me with “Have you broken anything yet Vicki?” :). 

 

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for our Killester Girls?

Make Magic Happen – we all can and we all should. 

Meet the Killester Team – Mr. Lam

This week we’d like you to get to know Mr. Lam, our devoted ICT and Media Teacher, a bit better. Here’s his full interview: 

We all have a favourite book that we come back to time and time again, what’s yours and what do you love about it?

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys when I need reminding to cherish what I have. My second would have to be Way Station by Clifford Simak because it managed to make the universe seem immense and small at the same time. It’s just a quiet little story that is full of hope to relax with.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

It was Art before I discovered computers and film. I understood Maths, but alas, it did not understand me.

When you were growing up what did you want to be?

Nothing clear, but being an immigrant kid, I wasn’t aware of the possibilities at the time. I did aspire to make my mother proud and make enough money to take care of her.

What was your first paying job?

At thirteen, I got an after school job at a restaurant in Springvale. The first thing they got me to do was chop a basket of chilli. I can still remember the chilli acid burning for days under my fingernails. I got paid 16 dollars for the night and I did not return the next day.

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?

You would think cutting chilli was the worst job, but there were many others worse than that. The worst was working on the farm when I was at University during the summer holidays. Under the 35 degrees sun, I learned that a 65-year-old grandmother was tougher than I was and I wasn’t cut out for manual labour.

What’s the best concert you’ve been to?

I’ve been to three Bob Dylan concerts. I did not understand a word he was singing and it sounded like he sang the same song for two hours and it was absolutely mesmerising. Because it’s Dylan – the only songwriter to win the Nobel prize for literature.

What would your ‘spirit-animal’ be and why?

My name in Chinese means Dragon. When I was born, my mother got a soothsayer (that’s right, my mum believed in voodoo) to critique my name and birth signs. He concluded that I would have a lot of trouble with water, so he added a ‘wood’ character next to the ‘dragon’. So my spirit animal is a dragon, clutching a log of wood, drifting in the ocean, trying not to drown. On a side note, I did have a lot of trouble with water, but that’s another story.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?

I can do the moonwalk, but going forward, otherwise known as walking.

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why?

I would love to meet Franz Kafka, just to get a sense of how weird he was and then have tea with Laozi to calm down.

What are the three items you would take with you on a desert island?

My guitar, because on a desert island no one can hear you sing. The Brothers Karamazov because it’s one of those books that you lie to people for having read, to sound smart. Maybe with nothing better to do, I’ll actually read it. If I can cheat a little, I’ll also take the complete collection of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. I would happily escape to Pratchett’s universe to pass the time. Maybe even then, I’ll still be pretending to be reading The Brothers Karamazov, but is actually reading Terry Pratchett.

Have you met anyone famous?

Arnold Schwarzenegger, when my son won the cup stacking competition he was sponsoring. We shook hands, he congratulated Rui. I drooled a little because it’s Arnold! He was smaller than I imagined, but I imagined him being a giant.

What is the favourite part of your job?

It has to be interacting with students, if it isn’t, you shouldn’t be teaching.

What motivates you at work?

Students are a work in progress, they are full of potential and once in a while, you get to play a part in uncovering that potential. The feeling you get is all the motivation one needs.

What is your favourite thing about Killester?

Our enthusiastic students and dedicated staff, what else?

If you had advice/words of wisdom for our girls what would it be?

Be conscious of time, it is precious.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Killester community?

Did you know that Stephen Hawking was buried between Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton? How cool is that?