Girton Year 12 students kickstart final year with VCE Conference

25 January 2024

This week, Girton’s Year 12 students started their final year of school with a very different kind of camp experience.

Rather than navigating a path through the wilderness as they have done on camps in previous years, they instead journeyed to Melbourne to complete a two-day VCE Conference that will help them navigate the path to their future beyond school.

From their accommodation at University College, a residential college located at the University of Melbourne, the students toured four universities across every corner of the city – from Monash in Clayton and Swinburne in Hawthorn to La Trobe Bundoora and the University of Melbourne on their doorstep.

Girton Grammar Principal Dr Emma O’Rielly said the purpose of the conference is two-fold: to illuminate the higher education options available to students after completing school, and further strengthen ties and support networks within the cohort.

“By bringing our students to Melbourne, we hope to unshroud some of the mysteries about what their life after school might look like – in terms of completing further studies, as well as living in a new environment away from home. This will hopefully empower them to choose the path that most resonates with them.”

“It also gives our Year 12 students a fantastic opportunity to spend time with each other and enhance their bond as a group before they begin the year. While they are all on an individual path, Year 12 is ultimately a shared experience.”

The highlight of the conference was a formal dinner at University College that included keynote speeches from past Girton students Rachael Welling and Dean Armstrong, who discussed how they pursued their passions and achieved success in Year 12 and in their lives beyond school.

After graduating from Girton Grammar in 2013, Rachael attained a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours) and a Bachelor of Science from Monash University. A passionate environmental advocate, she is currently employed as an environmental engineer, working with clients from local councils to international development agencies to implement projects that enhance community wellbeing and minimise environmental impacts.

Dean graduated from Girton Grammar in 2011 and continued his academic journey at the University of Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Juris Doctor. He now works as a specialist in human resources law, bringing his legal expertise to global tech giant IBM.

According to Dr O’Rielly, Girton Grammar’s ultimate goal is to help students access the future of their choice, whatever form that may take.

“As Rachael and Dean so beautifully illustrate, all our students have different passions, strengths and goals after Year 12. Our aim is to set them up for success, whatever that means for them, and to help them enjoy the wonderful, challenging, life-changing journey they are about to embark on,” she said.

“We want to inspire them to achieve their personal best – academically, as leaders of our student body, in their co-curricular pursuits, and in every element of their lives.”