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GOTAFE graduates inspired with advice

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

GOTAFE students from Seymour and Wallan campuses celebrated tertiary achievements at their graduation on Wednesday with special guests paralympian Dylan Alcott and nurse-turned-comedian Georgie Carroll.

Australian entertainer Tim Campbell hosted the evening at Trawool Estate, honouring 46 graduates who completed studies in education, land and animals, technical trades, health and community and nursing.

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Buxton resident Mischa Toll, who graduated with a Certificate IV in mental health, expressed her heartfelt story at the graduation and was determined to start in her field at non-profit-organisation Menzies Support Services.

Ms Toll said the graduation felt like ‘a long time coming’, and thanked her mentors at GOTAFE who supported her to help others with their own mental health journeys.

“What made me get into mental health was my own mental issues in the past with postnatal depression, that was 16 years ago. That is my biggest driver in wanting to do it – just so that I can help other people,” she said.

“Most of us that are studying those sorts of courses, we’re not kids and we’ve got families and just trying to balance everything is pretty hard.

“Thanks to GOTAFE, my family, and Loretta, my trainer, she backed me 100 per cent. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.”

GOTAFE chief executive officer Travis Heeney, left, and board chair Candy Broad honouring graduate Mischa Toll, who told her story at Trawool Estate on Wednesday evening. ​

Later in the evening, Mr Campbell introduced tennis player and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, who was the keynote speaker at all GOTAFE graduation ceremonies.

He offered inspirational advice through his own lived experiences.

Mr Alcott previously spoke at a GOTAFE staff development day in September, raising awareness of what it was like living with a disability.

GOTAFE chief executive officer Travis Heeney said it was an honour to feature inspiring guest speakers at the graduation ceremonies that acknowledged families, friends and trainers. 

“We are incredibly proud to have a such a high calibre of guest speakers to inspire and motivate the graduating students as they enter the workforce and begin their professional journeys,” he said.

“The graduation ceremonies are an important opportunity to celebrate the success of our students and their family, friends, peers and trainers who have supported them throughout their studies.”

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