Our final Alumni Profile for the year graduated as a student in 2011 and has continued to take the School spirit and values with her as a teacher at Oakleigh Grammar. Elena completed School with a desire to become a teacher and passion for making a difference in someone’s life and to inspire individuals, the same way her teachers inspired her. From friendships to a fiancé, Elena holds the School and her memories as both a student and teacher close to her heart. She has kindly offered to share what she learned whilst being at Oakleigh Grammar, how her experience as a student influenced her decision to do teaching and some advice for those who may be starting to think about their careers after School.
Can you briefly tell us your fondest memory of Oakleigh Grammar?
There are definitely way too many to choose from. To narrow it down as best as I can, I would say my fondest memories were the range of sporting events that I was lucky enough to be a part of and making life long friendships with the people who continue to inspire me each day.
What is one important thing you learned while you were at Oakleigh Grammar?
The most valuable learning I acquired whilst being at Oakleigh Grammar was the very important skills needed for your everyday life that goes beyond your classroom experience. Oakleigh Grammar nurtured the skills of respect, resilience, empathy and realising my own potential and how success is measured through hard work and determination.
Do you keep in touch with other alumni from Oakleigh Grammar?
I have been fortunate enough to have made life long friends at Oakleigh Grammar which till this day, are still the greatest influencers in my life. I met my fiancé Nathan and my best friend Tini who are both Oakleigh Grammar Alumni’s. We have been lucky enough to have grown up and experienced some of the most important moments together.
Why did you decide to become a teacher? Did being a student at Oakleigh Grammar influence your decision to pursue a career in teaching?
I decided to become a teacher because I was passionate about the education system and making a difference in each student’s life through inspiring each individual to reach beyond their capabilities. Attending Oakleigh Grammar and having such influential and inspiring teachers, definitely made me want to pursue a career in teaching. The moment I knew I wanted to become a teacher stemmed from a conversation I had with my teacher/mentor Sharron Frame at the time, who said “Never give up, because great things take time and the only failure you will endure, is if you stop trying altogether”. These words resonated with me and gave me the strength to soldier on. That moment when my paradigm changed and I knew I was going to be the catalyst to achieving my dreams was the moment I wanted to be that same exact inspirational figure to others.
What made you decide to come back to Oakleigh Grammar to teach? How are you finding being a teacher where you went to school yourself?
The decision to come back to Oakleigh Grammar as a teacher was an easy decision. I wanted students to experience both the love for learning and the family unity Oakleigh Grammar has in nurturing students to follow their dreams and I wanted to do that with the teachers who helped me follow mine.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (both personally and professionally) since leaving Oakleigh Grammar?
My greatest achievements professionally was completing my Bachelor in Education degree and entering an industry which I am extremely passionate about. As a teacher, seeing my students develop a love for learning with a smile on their face and determination to succeed corresponds directly towards my pedagogy of fostering a love for learning and making a difference. My greatest achievement personally is taking the notion of “making a difference” to the community and volunteering for a range of events that help support disadvantaged families.
Do you have any advice for current students who may be starting to think about what they want to do as a career after School?
My advice would be to speak to as many people as possible who are in the industry you aspire to be apart of, to ensure you get a full understanding of the role. Kobi Yamanda once said “She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans”.
What advice do you have for current students to make the most of their experience at Oakleigh Grammar?
I would say set high personal and academic standards for yourself and live up to them with the help and support of your friends and teachers who are on this rollercoaster ride with you. Enjoy every single minute of it and settle for nothing less than your personal best.
What is something people may not know about you?
I am a soccer fanatic and once kicked 13 goals as a striker in a soccer match.