• BLPCP Team

Medical students help raise secondary students’ aspirations

Bendigo-based Monash University medical students have been recognised for their voluntary contribution to The Smith Family’s senior secondary tutoring program this year.

The program provides Smith Family scholarship students in years 11 and 12 with homework support and ultimately aims to lift students’ aspirations and improve their confidence.

Up to 23 secondary students took part in this year’s tutoring program in Bendigo, working with a core group of five Monash medical students.

Year 11 student Tia Hendry said without the tutoring program she’d have struggled this year.

“You’ve helped me go from a solid fail to a pass,” she said of the medical student tutors.

Although she’s not certain what she’d like to do on finishing school, Tia is now thinking about studying health professions at La Trobe University.

Year 12 student Reza Azimi knows exactly what he wants to do. Reza sought help in Maths Methods to lift his ATAR result so he can get into law and global studies at Monash University.

Year 12 student Genevieve Somerville is also focused on her goal: to study a Master of Dietetics at La Trobe University. She was grateful for the exam tips the medical students were able to pass on.

Medical student Zak Doherty, who volunteered his time for the tutoring program, is determined to pass on exactly that kind of information. Hamilton-born Zak has spent his first clinical year in Bendigo gaining experience in the Bendigo Hospital and he remembers very well how disadvantaged country high school students can be.

“Why should those students be disadvantaged because they don’t go to that flash private school in Melbourne?” he said.

“In medicine you typically require really good marks to get in and I see people who didn’t get in from my school that probably should have because they didn’t have that teaching advantage.

“It’s just a little thing but if I can reduce that inequality … close the gap a bit, that’s a good thing.”

A previous Smith Family scholarship student herself, Dayle Howlett grew up in Rosedale in Gippsland. She has also spent the year studying medicine in Bendigo and tutoring in her free time.

“A lot of it is encouraging them to keep going because it’s very tiring being a VCE student,” she said. “I really enjoyed teaching – it’s a stress release for me to be able to explain something I’m comfortable with.”

Bendigo program coordinator Lia Comodo said one in seven Australian children and young people grow up in disadvantage, which can limit their opportunities and outcomes in life.

“Investing in education support gives students from all backgrounds the chance to succeed in their studies and opens up their future pathways,” said Ms Comodo.

“A program like this not only delivers long-term benefits for the student but also their family and the wider community.”

[Image: Confidence inspiring: Monash medical students have been working with Smith Family scholarship students to raise marks and aspirations. L-R Ravali Gaddam, Lachlan Elliott, Zakary Doherty, Dayle Howlett, Liam de Vries.]

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