2013 VCAL Achievement Awards Student Speech
Emma Menhennet’s speech was presented by teacher Maree Hall at the 2013 VCAL Achievement Awards Ceremony.
(Reproduced with permission from Emma Menhennet.)
Ladies and gentlemen, teachers and fellow VCAL students, I would like to start off by saying congratulations to everyone who has received an award today.
I would like to start with why I joined the VCAL team, I was in year 10 and with all the pressure of choosing a future career, I was very unsure. I didn’t particularly want to go to uni, I wanted to do something hands on, I wasn’t happy at school and at that point I wanted to leave. However my parents weren’t happy that I wanted to leave, they really wanted me to finish in year 12.
I spoke to our careers advisor and the head of our VCAL program and they both suggested I should choose an applied learning pathway. This allowed me to enter a pathway to VCAL.
In the second half of my year 10, I tried some work experience with a motel in Ballarat for two weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I was offered a full time job as a receptionist which really excited me as I was eager to work. When I told my teacher and parents they were pleased for me but they also made me think of my future too.
“Do you want to do this the rest of your life?”
“Where can you go from there?” So many questions I had to ask myself.
I decided I wanted to complete Year 12, so I went on to organise a School Based Apprenticeship 3 days at the motel and 3 days at school. For this to work I had to juggle around my classes and I also had to do a fair bit of work outside school hours to keep on top of everything.
I worked very closely with all my teachers. I was completing normal classes – Maths, English, Cert II Creative Industry and Certificate 3 & 4 Business Administration with work via my school based apprenticeship.
During year 11 I continued to do my School-based apprenticeship at the motel. In first semester I still completed 3 days of school and 3 days of work. In semester two because I loved working I started doing 2 days at school and 4 days working within the motel.
Towards the end of Year 11 I felt like I was heading back to square one, I didn’t want to be at school, I just wanted to work full time and leave. I was certain I wasn’t coming back to do Year 12 ………..it was clear to me that I was ready to work and I just wanted to be out there.
“One more year that’s all it is”
“It’s the best year”
Yes I was convinced once again to complete my final year of schooling.
Last year I completed Certificate 3 in Event Management and my Senior VCAL Certificate; all whilst I was doing 4-5 days of work.
I have worked extremely closely with all my teachers over the years, but during my year 12 I was at school on my days off completing school work. I somehow never fell behind in my classes. I was in front approximately 80 % of the time.
Juggling my work life with school was often very complicated. I began work in the office at The Heritage on Lydiard Motel. From there I moved to its sister hotel, The George, working in the reception and I also had some waitressing shifts. During my school holidays I would go to Kryal Castle and help out there in the reception, but now I am primarily based at The Lane which is also a part of The George Hotel where I am doing café work, bar work, waitressing and event management. It is fair to say that I have tried lots of things but I love the challenge and the variety it brings.
My highlights of VCAL-
- I was able to be creative and open minded
- I was able to take on a leading role in my classes to achieve my goal in being a business owner and/ or manager
- And also the flexibility of being able to work and finish my schooling at the same time
VCAL was ideal for me and it allowed me to create a school experience that I could tailor to my needs.
I would like to finish with a few quick thank yous.
Thank you Mum and Dad for pushing me to finishing school and helping me through when I hated it the most and running me to and from work.
Thank you Sofi – one of the first VCAL teachers who thought VCAL would be a great option for me.
To Miss Coloe for giving me that extra bit of love, and to Miss Hall for pushing me to my absolute max and helping me spread my wings.
Thank you to the whole VCAL team at Phoenix formerly known as Sebastopol College, you are all champs.
Thank you to The George Hotel and my boss Gary Browning for allowing me to work around my schooling hours and taking me on board as a trainee. Thank you also to my manager at The Lane Abbey; you have encouraged me from day dot that the path I was taking was a good one.