Introducing our Old Girl’s Association Committee – Gemma Varone (2009)

It doesn’t feel like all that long ago that I left Santa Maria College, but time has definitely flown by! Like many, I was unsure about what I wanted to do after school, so started a science degree. Five years later, I had a degree in journalism (chemistry wasn’t as fun at uni as it was at school), a full-time job in real estate (started as a part-time gig, but I loved it) and had ticked dozens of destinations off my travel wish list. On my last day of uni, one of my tutors gave me the phone number of a radio station boss in Sydney. A few days later I had booked a one-way plane ticket. 

Within days of arriving, I was racing around Sydney from press conference to press conference, armed with a radio microphone and a notepad. It was surreal! There was no such thing as a typical day. In a matter of weeks I had covered a NSW state election, the re-opening of the Lindt Café following the siege, spent Australia Day on a navy warship and interviewed Tim Cahill after the Socceroos Asia World Cup win. I then took a job working as a producer for radio legend John Laws. I worked with John (or “Lawsie” as many know him) for two years, and while on his team I also began reading the weekend news on Sydney and Melbourne’s SmoothFM.

A job opportunity with Southern Cross Austereo lured me back home to Perth, which meant I could finally read an entire radio news bulletin without the stress of mispronouncing a suburb or an NRL player’s name! Then a job offer came from Nova937, to be their afternoon newsreader. I jumped at the chance to finally ditch my dreaded 3.30 am alarm! 

I soon made the switch to TV, taking an amazing opportunity at Nine News as their Chief of Staff. I didn’t really know what the role entailed before I took it, but once I started, I knew it was exactly where I was meant to be. I have now been with Nine for two and a half years, and still love going to work every single day, even though the early alarms are back! 

I joined the OGA Committee at the beginning of 2017, after moving back to Perth. For me, it was a great way to reconnect with the SMC community and expand my network. I was elected President in 2018, a huge honour. During my first year with the OGA, we rolled out the mentoring program, an initiative I am very proud of. The Wedding Dress Exhibition we held in 2018 was also a massive highlight for me. It was so worth the months of planning and hard work to see the finished product and enjoy it over a wonderful weekend with hundreds of our members. 

As a boarder, so many of my favourite memories of school were made in the Boarding house. We had a lot of fun over the years keeping ourselves entertained. Before the era of iPhones and Netflix, we would make our own adaptations of movies with a trusty digital camera. We were pretty convinced that our versions were Oscar-worthy, until we watched them back a few years ago! 

Another highlight of school for me was in Year 9, hosting a weekly radio show from the back of our Society and Environment classroom. Perhaps it was there that my love of radio first began?! As part of this experience, I was lucky enough to interview Nova’s breakfast radio hosts at the time, Nathan and Nat. Little did I know that 10 years later, I would be working alongside them! 

I could honestly write a kilometre-long list of all of the things I loved about my time at Santa Maria. Being part of such an incredible community was, and still is, an absolute privilege. 

 

What A Term! So Many Opportunities – Jennifer Oaten

As I look back on the past nine weeks, I am so grateful for who we are as a community and what we have achieved. Through the dedication of our staff and the enthusiasm of our students, we have established new connections, immersed ourselves in opportunities and worked through challenges.

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