A Fairholme Story
Emily O’Rourke first donned a tiny pair of tartan shorts in 2005, and so began her beautiful journey on the college grounds of Fairholme.
‘I started in 2005, in the Kindy classroom. Mrs Darbyshire and Mrs Harris were my Kindy teachers,’ Emily says as she admits the thought of her journey brings emotion.
‘In one sense I think it will be a good thing to go, but then you get sentimental and think “well this is all I’ve ever known. I don’t know what’s out there.” It is a bit scary to be leaving all of this, but I do feel a sense of confidence.’
Still etched in her memory is the move from the Junior school to Middle school.
‘I remember the first day of Middle School, and Mum was like, “do you need your chair bag?” and I said “I don’t know…” so I took it and all of my friends said “Emily you don’t need your chair bag”,” she says laughing now.
With a change so simple as leaving a chair bag behind, came the realisation that Emily and her friends were growing up.
‘It was a timely change. Actually having a new influx of girls was good too, and throughout the year I found a new group of good friends, who became my people.’
People who have ‘graced’ her with support in her final years.
‘I’ve many best friends, but I think those constants would be Grace Elliot – since we met in Year 6 – and Grace Lange. We’ve all been there for each other.’
‘I remember the first late night this year, I just all of a sudden felt really overwhelmed with everything that was going on. Committee meetings, responsibilities, leadership. Then I just got really organised, and I started writing things down and all of sudden it didn’t seem unachievable.’
Emily’s final years have involved lots of meetings with Mrs Anderson, Mr Peacock and her set planner, Dr Evans.
‘I’ll admit the first set plan I had with Dr Evans at the end of last year, I was really nervous – I had an email saying I had to “go and see Dr Evans”. I couldn’t help but feel like I was in trouble! But it was the opposite - she’s so invested in all of us, and she’s realistic about where we are headed. I think she keeps us grounded.’
While Emily admits it doesn’t really feel like she’s leaving yet, she says it will quickly become reality next year.
‘I’ll hopefully be going to Brisbane. I’m still deciding between education and law – I guess I will see where my OP takes me.’
She’s quick to thank the teachers – all of whom have made an impact on her learning journey, but particularly two.
‘My grade 3 teacher Mrs Cochrane would have to be my favourite Junior school teacher – I just remember having fun and learning so much with her. And in Senior school it would be Mr Davis. He’s been my English teacher for 2 years and English extension. He fixes stress levels with humour.’
And if there’s one piece of Fairholme advice she’ll take into the world, it would be this.
‘Don’t stress too much about the little things – there’s a bigger picture. One way might not work, but try another, and maybe another - and you’ll get there somehow. It feels good when you find the right path.’