When my last Western Chances scholar, Pepa, was looked after for the last time - next year she will be with the Senior Campus teacher in charge - I felt tempted to start the process all over again - two students this time, one girl who's in my class now, one who was with me last year. I'm still waiting patiently to hear how they went. Meanwhile, I heard, yesterday, from my first Western Chances Scholar.
In case you don't know what this is, it was founded by Terry Bracks, wife of Premier Steve Bracks, without fanfare, without massive newspaper reporting. And because it's not a government initiative, but depends on sponsors, no one can take it away from our kids except the sponsors and if they lose one, someone else will take over,
The idea is that in the poorer suburbs of Melbourne there are kids who could potentially become professionals in one area or another - engineers, doctors, singers, wherever their talent and passion lead them - but lack of money makes this difficult, sometimes impossible. So for kids like this, you can apply for a bit of money every year, to pay for textbooks, equipment, computer, calculator, singing lessons, whatever.
My first success story emailed me yesterday. She's currently doing Law/Economics at Latrobe university, and doing well. Without a hand from WC, she might still have made it, but this made it easier. A lot easier. When I knew her she was considering Engineering, but hey, she was in Year 8, kids change their minds. ;-)
But hey, one of my babies has made it to uni and will become a lawyer, an economist or both. And her poverty didn't prevent her. It wasn't a huge amount of money and goodies, just enough to help her help herself.
Terry Bracks, ma'am, you rock!