For St Mary's College Ipswich graduate Rachel England, a Catholic education provided experiences and opportunities she will never forget. Now, Rachel is giving back to the local community, and helping other young people on their journey toward a spirited tomorrow.
Rachel has a long association with Catholic education in Ipswich. Her father is in the Defence Force, and when he was posted to RAAF Base Amberley, the family moved to Ipswich. Rachel attended St Mary's Primary School, before going on to St Mary's College. She says all her teachers at St Mary's made an impact on her educational journey and emotional wellbeing.
“I was taught and cared for by many wonderful educators who show the love of God through their enthusiasm, encouragement, love and knowledge," Rachel said. “Without the leadership team and teachers at the College, I would not have been able to get where I am today. They helped me to create and achieve personal goals in my life."
“Mr Michael Blanchfield, Ms Margareta Lemon and Ms Tammi Hammond helped me grow in faith and my enthusiasm to help others. I worked closely with all of these teachers in my role as Mission Captain, and with the Social Justice Committee."
Actively involved in the College co-curricular programs, Rachel said the combined-College musicals were a highlight, as were the many Mission activities she participated in.
“I loved all the social justice events such as Vinnies Sleepout, DanDaLion Friends and Rosie's Outreach. I got to work with similar minded, giving people and we could enrich and help others within our local community."
Since moving to Ipswich as a child, Rachel has been an active member of the local parish, Ipswich Catholic Community.
“As a young girl I would attend Mass weekly as well as Atrium groups run by Bernadette McAndrew and Karen Brennan. As I grew, I got to know many members of our church community who continue today to give advice, a smile or share a chat."
This year, Rachel is leading the Sacramental Program for Children, and helping other young people on their personal faith journey. Parish Priest Fr Stephen asked Rachel to run the program, after she volunteered her time assisting with the program last year.
“I am excited to be part of the young people's journey in our church community and grow in my own faith and understanding of the Sacraments. I know my family, the APRE's of our schools and my Parish community will be part of my journey through prayers, support, knowledge, and encouragement.
“I hope the love I have for my faith will shine and the children will want to live their life with Jesus in their heart."