Tegan is proud to be a role model for her children. Photo captured by Peta.
I’m a teacher, let’s start today! Saint Mary MacKillop

CEO of Mary MacKillop Today, Jane Woolford, talks about the power of scholarships.

I spent many years as a teacher where I witnessed the transformative power of education on a child’s life. That’s why I joined Mary MacKillop Today — because, like Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of Saint Joseph, I believe education is the key to improving lives through opportunities.

With the generosity of supporters, we do whatever it takes to continue Mary’s inspiring legacy as a growing force for change. And one of the most compelling ways I’ve seen this in action is through our First Nations Scholarship program. A program whose origins, more than twenty years ago, came from the Sisters dedication to education for all.

Let me introduce you to Tegan, a proud First Nations mum.

“I’ve wanted to be a schoolteacher since I was young.  However, when I finished high school, my life took a turn and I had my first baby, Ryder, just a few years later. I took a job in retail to pay the bills and I had two more beautiful children, Ruby and Oli.

One day, I found myself thinking, “What sort of life do I want for myself — and for my kids?” 

The next year, I started my teaching degree. But in my second year of studying, Ryder was diagnosed with leukemia at nine years old. I had a seriously ill child plus a six-year-old and a four-year-old.

Then COVID hit. I thought, between COVID and cancer, how do I keep going? I felt so overwhelmed, so I decided to defer my studies.

When I found out about Mary MacKillop Today’s First Nations Tertiary Scholarship, things began to change for me.

Thankfully, Ryder responded well to his treatment, and I was ready to get back to my studies. The scholarship became my survival tool. It helped me pay the mortgage, buy food and petrol so I could study full-time.

When First Nations people receive scholarships, it is a circuit breaker. I’m the first in my family to go to university. 

It’s been an eventful road. But I did it. I’m so proud that I got to the other end and finished my Bachelor of Education (Primary). I AM NOW A TEACHER! 

I am forever grateful for this scholarship. Without it, I don’t know how I would’ve made it this far.” 

Tegan — proud First Nations university graduate, teacher and mum.

Tegan was losing hope of achieving her dream… until her pressure to work full-time while studying was lifted — and that’s because of the scholarship she received, made possible by our generous supporters.

Here in Australia and in neighbouring countries, Mary MacKillop Today has a range of programs to bring education opportunities – not only for aspiring students, but also for rural Australians seeking financial education, parents learning to support their children’s schooling in Timor-Leste, women learning skills to earn a fair income in Peru, and empowering young women to be agents of change within their community in Fiji.

But none of this is possible without our supporters. If you are in a position to give, I call on your Josephite spirit, and urge you to support our work, knowing you will make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people.

Please make your life-changing tax-deductible donation at www.marymackilloptoday.org.au/donate