21 December 2023

'Avoided the stress of ATAR': Griffith student secures Wagga diocese teaching scholarship

| Oliver Jacques
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Molly Lauren seated in a park

Molly Laurent has wanted to be a teacher since she was six years old. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A Year 12 student from Marian Catholic College has become just one of five in the Riverina to secure a $20,000 Catholic Education, Diocese of Wagga Wagga (CEDWW) grant in 2023.

Molly Laurent will use her scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Education (K-12) degree at Wagga’s Charles Sturt University.

The 18-year-old took an unconventional path to tertiary studies.

“For the past two years, I’ve done a school-based traineeship,” she said. “I’ve worked at Griffith East Public School for two years every Tuesday; on Thursdays I did TAFE, and I went to school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“I found a pathway that gave me teaching experience and avoided the stress of ATAR [Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank].

“I was pretty chilled while everyone else was waiting for their ATAR last week.”

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Ms Laurent said she recommended the TAFE route to anyone going into Year 11 who wanted to be a teacher.

“Having the experience of working in a school really helped me with my scholarship interview questions,” she said.

Two students from Wagga and two from Albury also secured the prestigious scholarship, which provides financial assistance to help with living costs, HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) debts and anything else associated with studying.

“You have to get above 80 per cent in all your assessments to get the money,” the Marian College student said.

Ms Laurent said she was now on the road to fulfilling a dream she’d had for more than a decade.

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in Kindergarten. I used to make my poor sister Emily sit in front of a whiteboard at home and I’d pretend to be her teacher on weekends.”

Molly Laurent with siblings

Molly when she was in primary school, with her siblings Emily and Harry. Photo: Supplied.

Let’s find out more about Molly, as she reflects on her time at school and the future.

Name: Molly Laurent.

Age: 18.

Schools: St Patrick’s and Marian Catholic College.

Best memory of school: My teachers in Year 11 and 12. I was with them for two years and I was able to build a relationship with them; it made the journey so much easier and nicer.

Naughtiest thing you ever did at school: Not a lot. I never wagged or missed an assessment at high school. Maybe in primary school I was a bit more rebellious.

Teachers that inspired you: In Kindergarten, I had Mrs Hill and Miss O’Connor; they inspired me to want to be a teacher myself. In Year 11 and 12, Ms Savage and Mr Seers did a lot to help me get through my skills-based traineeship.

One thing you’d change about the education system: More funding for teacher aides, to make sure teachers can get the support in classrooms that is needed. Getting more people to do it as well – it’s an incredible job.

Plans for next year: Going straight to university in Wagga – I won’t be taking a gap year.

After university: I’d like to come back to Griffith and teach at St Patrick’s or St Mary’s, though I could get placed anywhere in the diocese.

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What will you miss most about Griffith: I love this place; my mum and dad are here, as are my siblings. I’ll also miss the tight-knit community. I’ve made such great relationships with the people at Griffith East.

What won’t you miss about Griffith: The heat, but I’ll get that in Wagga too.

Social issue you most care about: Mental health is a big thing for people my age. We’ve all lost someone to suicide. It’s something that needs to be spoken about more; people need to know that reaching out isn’t a cry, it’s beneficial. You can get the help that’s needed. There’s nothing wrong with having mental health problems.

Special skills: I referee touch football – mixed and men’s touch.

Dream career job: I want to teach at primary school and eventually do special needs teaching. I loved doing that at Griffith East.

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