I have had many academic successes in my life including dux of my school, top of my school in mathematics, first in my university chemistry class (300 odd students), a first class honours bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering, a bachelor degree in mathematics with a high distinction average and a PhD in Chemical Engineering.

But I firmly believe that it was the things that I learned at Linuwel – a school where academics is only one aspect of the education – that made all of this possible.

First of all, it has taught me COLLABORATION. It was part of the school culture that we worked together and helped each other from the very beginning. When I left school and went on to do the HSC this proved an invaluable skill. I naturally was happy to ask my fellow students for help on things I found difficult. I am sure that this contributed to my smooth transition to a new school.

The next thing I learned was TENACITY. There are no get out of jail free cards at Linuwel. Every class (year group) works as a whole and every class activity is for everyone  – whether you like it or not, whether you are good at it or not. This quality (which I certainly don’t have naturally) was vital to my completing my PhD in Chemical Engineering. There were plenty of times when it wasn’t giving me any results, when all my experiments were failing. I could have easily lost hope. But I persevered and conquered.

IMAGINATION was another key aspect of my education at Linuwel. When it came time to study difficult concepts in science I found that I was better able to visualise and ultimately understand what was being taught than many of my peers. I believe that was partly because the groundwork for these concepts was laid in the stories told in primary school.

Finally, Linuwel taught me about having a BALANCED LIFE. With my intellectual bent, at a conventional school, I would have been pushed academically, probably to the detriment of other skills and human qualities. During my subsequent studies, I met plenty of people like that who struggled with socialisation and put such emphasis on their academic results that a “poor” grade was a tragedy. I am glad that I generally rolled with the punches and still lead a life that is about more than my work.

Thanks to my time at Linuwel I now enjoy many hobbies including baking (well it IS a science), writing fiction and embroidery, and putting together an attractive report for work is easy because I’ve been doing it since I was little.

At the time it wasn’t always easy, but looking back I can say that Linuwel has played a big part in making me who I am, and I love who I am.