I Can. I Will
These words have become part of the language at Korowa and are woven into everything we do at the School.
They capture an attitude that inspires the individual to dream, to dare and to act.
We are extremely proud to celebrate all Korowa women and to share their life journey with them and with you.
School plays and musicals were a highlight as I had a natural interest in performing from an early age. This was definitely supported by Korowa where I remember feeling quite indestructible, which has helped enormously given the competitiveness of the acting industry.
In this profession you truly don't know what's around the corner. One minute I was at Bondi Beach – the next my agent rang to say I had an urgent audition and had to get to Star City Casino... soon after I was offered the lead female role in Priscilla Queen of the Desert - the Musical and starred in the original season for almost two years.
Meeting Barry Humphries at NIDA has greatly influenced my work since and inspired me to create my solo cabaret show, Rosa Waxes Lyrical, based on my eccentric Russian beautician. Picture a woman in a lycra leopardprint jumpsuit, enormous hair and genuine imitation designer sunglasses. I was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, toured Sydney, Perth, Edinburgh and London and I'm now writing the next installment.
In many ways, discovering the confidence and skill to write my own show traces back to my involvement in Korowa House Chorals performances – an opportunity which I've always been grateful for.
My enduring passion at Korowa was art, primarily painting & drawing skills that were fostered by wonderful teachers. Despite my desire to follow an artistic career, I pursued a more practical business, accounting and economics degree at RMIT.
Career opportunities for a girl in the early 70's were limited although I was fortunate that my door opened to the stockbroking world, a working life few women had experienced. By the early 80's my career moved from 'administration' to 'advisory' after which I became the first female appointed to the Ord Minnett Private Client advisory desk in Australia, a reward for hard work and a belief that equal opportunity for women in the workplace was a reality.
I've been fortunate to have the opportunity of making my mark as a woman in a man's world, and have also been able to use my knowledge to give back to Korowa as a member of the School's Foundation, School Council and newly established Jessie Patrick Bequest Society.
There is no doubt that Korowa's Christian values, the notion of giving back to your community and the strong work ethic instilled into us at school have helped me achieve throughout my life.
My three daughters all attend Korowa and although they each have very different personalities and learning styles, they have found a true home at Korowa. Back when I attended the school, the Korowa spirit of having the opportunity to get involved in everything was very much alive as it is still today.
I was an all-rounder at school, and while I initially completed a BA, I was soon drawn to the health industry. One of my first experiences was working in cardiac rehabilitation in a hospital but I ultimately chose to move to occupational rehabilitation, which I love as you meet people from all walks of life every day.
I am happy and proud to have had my family educated at Korowa. Initially I wondered how one school could cater to such diverse needs, but my daughters have all blossomed at Korowa.
The transformation in one of my daughters, who was quite shy, to an active, articulate and happy student has been wonderful to see.
When I was at Korowa, our motto was ‘dare to try’ and it has inspired me throughout my whole career. After school, I studied business, tourism and hospitality, but racing was in my blood – I am a fourth generation bookmaker. Despite being the only female bookie in Victoria, among a field of 178 at one point, I never felt any different – my record speaks for itself.
Being a bookmaker is emotionally and physically challenging. During the Spring Racing Carnival you are running on pure adrenalin day in and day out! But I love it – I've made mistakes along the way, but it's through these challenges that you discover what you are made of.
Just as at Korowa, where I tried many different things, even now I'm constantly looking for new challenges and have recently started my own corporate catering company, Little Treats Catering. I will keep learning and achieving.
I have such happy memories of Korowa. Everyone was so friendly; I made such great friends throughout my whole time from Reception to Year 12. Korowa was my school for life.
Swimming has always been a love of mine. I learnt to swim when I was four and continued swimming all throughout school in the Korowa Swim Team.
Although I have a physical disability that sometimes results in approaching situations differently, I always felt welcome at Korowa.
The Athens Paralympic Games in Year 11 were a highlight. Swimming finals were sold out each night and I had my whole family in the stands amidst a fantastic Aussie cheer squad when I received my bronze medal.
Competitive sport is not easy. You push your body to the limit and, even if you are in top condition physically, if you don’t have the mental toughness you won’t make it. I’ve also learnt you can’t achieve anything without goals. Set your goals, surround yourself with supportive people and work very hard to be the best you can be - success will follow naturally.
At Korowa, I fell in love with Chemistry, and as a result, I went on to become a pharmacist and still continue to practise as one. However, looking back English was also very much a passion of mine. In Year 8, I won a school writing competition, which I still remember now as being the moment I felt validated and inspired that I could pursue a career in writing.
I have spent the last three years in Shanghai working with the Interfax news wire service. I love working overseas. At Korowa I had the opportunity to go to Japan on exchange and it made me realise just how much you learn about yourself and others through immersion in another culture.
At Interfax, I was the first female, and youngest ever bureau chief. Within three years, I went from editing copy to presiding over the news bureau and managing breaking stories.
Although, from the outset, I was a young woman in a male-dominated environment far from Australia, I knew then just as I did at Korowa, that a woman could do anything a man can. There should be no barriers and, if you're passionate and, willing to work hard, you shouldn't feel any different as a girl.
Perseverance and a keen social conscience helped Charlotte to become the youngest female mayor in the City of Monash's history. Currently serving her second consecutive term, Charlotte was first elected in the November 2005 elections at the age of 23, becoming Mayor in December 2009.
A qualified lawyer and PhD candidate, Charlotte is passionate about making a difference through a transparent government.
"I believe that a successful government is one that focuses on improving relationships both within and between various groups, and delivering various services that meet the needs of our diverse and ageing community."
During her time on Council, Charlotte worked hard to develop a Youth Advisory and Fair Trade Committee to improve community engagement with our younger residents and business community on issues of social justice.
"I am really excited that I could have an opportunity to actively participate in politics and to extend the lessons that I learnt at Korowa."
I remember school as being a very busy, rewarding and exciting time. There were so many opportunities at Korowa. I felt like I was doing something every lunchtime! Piano, flute, choir, soft ball - I got involved in everything.
My heart was always set on teaching and I've been fortunate enough to have a lifelong career that I love. I have taught in independent girls' schools for more than a decade now and can see from my perspective as a former Korowa student and now, as a teacher, that girls truly thrive in a single sex education environment and are supported to believe they can do anything they want if they try.
What stands out the most about Korowa is the amazing friends I met – friends I have kept for life.
We were all from different walks of life and some of the best memories I have are of us all catching the train to school together.
Now, almost 20 years on, I still catch up with most of them and feel privileged we have been able to share our lives together. Although we've all chosen a myriad of diverse life and career paths, we all still value and cherish our Korowa years.
I loved my days at Korowa and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being the House Captain of Clarke. Our Principal, Miss McPherson, was an inspiring, independent achiever who instilled in us the belief that we could do anything.
As a Solicitor and then a Barrister, I confronted every day the anxiety I felt when speaking in public. In a way, it is not unlike the time I was a conductor in the House Chorals, as I was a nervous wreck. Being at Korowa, I learnt to confront my fears and deal with them.
I now work as a Magistrate. To do this job properly, good judgement, compassion, the commitment to work hard and a measure of confidence are necessary.
Korowa gave me a good start to my legal career and I remember my old school fondly