Bianca’s Continued Passion for Service Post Santa Maria
Since participating in our Cambodia immersion program, Bianca D’Ortona (Class of 2019) has been inspired and eager to use her talents and time to assist others in need.
Her latest volunteering adventure has taken her to the Warralong Community School in the Pilbara.
We caught up with Bianca to learn more about what she did while she was in Warralong and how her volunteering choices have been inspired by her years at the College.
What have you been up to since graduating from Santa Maria?
Since graduating from Santa Maria, I’m pursuing a Bachelor of Health & Physical Education at Notre Dame University. I work part-time as an Education Assistant at Seton Catholic College, assisting students with disabilities. I am also actively engaged in netball, as I am the junior coordinator for my club and I coach at various schools and events, including volunteer work. Additionally, I contribute as a coaching representative for the Fremantle Netball Association and occasionally return to Santa Maria for coaching opportunities.
Can you tell us a bit about what you did while you were in Warralong?
During my time at Warralong Community School, which is located two hours from Port Hedland, I actively engaged with the Aboriginal community. I dedicated two to three hours daily to tutoring students in Maths and English, creating one-on-one sessions to enhance learning. Additionally, I played sports, participated in daily meal assistance, and interacted with the children, including accompanying them to Marble Bar for swimming lessons. Immersed in the remote lifestyle, I learned about the community and their way of living.
What inspired you to volunteer at Warralong Community?
Volunteering at Warralong Community was inspired by my post-Year 12 Santa Maria trip to Cambodia. There, I discovered a love for helping students in need and embracing diverse cultures. This passion persisted, leading me to work with students with disabilities. Learning about Teach Learn Grow (TLG), I hoped for a chance to contribute to a remote northern community, and that’s precisely what I got!
What did you learn through your volunteering experience?
I learned about the simplicity of life in a small remote town. Stripped of city pressures and excessive technology, the community spirit shone brightly. The care and compassion extended by the Indigenous people towards myself and my fellow volunteers was truly something to admire. The warm welcome from students and their appreciation of our presence left a lasting impression, enriching my understanding of life beyond the hustle and bustle of inner-city life.
How has your time at Santa Maria influenced your decision to volunteer?
My time at Santa Maria profoundly influenced my decision to volunteer. The importance of compassion at Santa Maria and choosing to take Children, Family and the Community with Mrs Spark, heightened my awareness of socio-economic disparities. Experiencing this firsthand in Cambodia, within my subsequent work assisting students with disabilities, and now in a remote Aboriginal community, has deepened my commitment to contribute and make a positive impact in disadvantaged communities. I love sport and can’t wait to be in that field, however, helping the disadvantaged has become a strong passion of mine.
Bianca, thank you for sharing your recent adventures with us. It’s heartwarming to learn that the Mercy values have inspired you to continue your volunteer work beyond Santa Maria.