Julia Sweeney-Cootes started at GVGS in Year 5 in 2015, commuting an hour from her hometown of Kyabram to Shepparton and back each day for school.
“I found the trip no problem at all because I had friends on the bus with me so it was just another opportunity to socialise, chat and have fun with them,” she says.
In 2020, Julia was awarded the Patricia Mumford Encouragement Award, acknowledging her outstanding efforts at upholding the school values in her everyday life. “Being chosen for the award was a huge honour and it was really nice to feel acknowledged,” she says.
“I always tried to be committed to online schooling and actively contributed in class discussions. I tried to put in as much effort as I could and get all my school work done during a difficult time.”
Julia says she has thoroughly enjoyed her time at GVGS and encourages younger students to embrace their time at the School, taking up every opportunity that comes their way. “Everyone is so inclusive and you are always encouraged to do your best. It’s such a supportive community – it’s just been a great experience for me. I’ve played netball all throughout school, which I’ve really loved. I was the SNA netball captain this year and it was a good leadership experience. I got the chance to mentor the younger students that played, which then meant when they saw me at school they recognised me and could ask for support if they ever needed it,” she says.
“I think you need to enjoy every minute because the time is going to go so quickly. Definitely get involved in as much as you can and commit yourself to everything you do. You’ll have a great time if you put yourself out there and put your hand up for everything.”
Next year, Julia plans to move to Geelong and study nursing at Deakin University.
“I chose Geelong because I wasn’t keen to go to Melbourne. I want to be near the beach and far away enough from home that I can grow my independence, but close enough that I can go back when I want to and see my family,” she says.
“Growing up, I always really enjoyed watching medical TV shows and about five years ago I started to consider nursing for a career. I absolutely love babies, so I’d like to specialise in paediatrics or midwifery. I think it would be such an incredible space to work in and be a part of every day.”