Korowa Anglican Girls’ School principal Helen Carmody is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children through education.
She first saw the impact schooling has on the lives of young children, and the community they live in, when she taught in the Northern Territory while a student at the University of Canberra.
“I was fortunate to be awarded a Commonwealth Teaching Scholarship before I finished year 12, so I commenced my course as soon as I finished school at St Clare’s College in Canberra,” Helen says.
3 things I have learnt
1. Teaching is a social experience. It is as much about relationships as it is about skills and knowledge.
2. Working with young people has taught me how important it is to see the world from their perspective.
3. There is always more to learn as an educator. I started my career as an early childhood teacher, then studied and worked with computers and later moved into organisational change and school improvement before becoming a school leader.
“The scholarship required students to take up a placement in the Northern Territory in our final year of study and I went to a school in Wadeye, which is a tribal Aboriginal Catholic community situated on the western edge of the Daly River Reserve in the Northern Territory.
“That experience showed me that education could open doors and create new possibilities.
“I realised I wanted to make a difference to children’s lives but I also saw that education is a way forward for whole communities and our society.”
While Helen’s experiences at university inspired her career path, it was in secondary school that she honed the public speaking skills she has used throughout her career.
“From an early age I entered poetry and public speaking eisteddfods,” Helen says. “In my senior years I was selected in state-level debating teams and had some great experiences debating in a television competition – we also debated against a team of inmates from Parramatta jail.
“I still remember the topic was: ‘It is better to be wanted for murder than not wanted at all’,” she says.
Helen wasn’t a particularly sporty student and says debating offered her an alternative.
“Debating offered me the chance to be a part of a team, participate in competition and represent my school doing something I really loved,” she says.
“Education enables us to come to know ourselves better as we learn to focus on our strengths and find ways in which we can benefit society.”
While not sporty at school, Helen has taken up long-distance running as a teacher and principal – often travelling to compete in marathons.
“I’ve completed six marathons in the past six years and enjoy combining travel with running events,” Helen says.
“I’ve often combined running and fund-raising, where my interests are in supporting cancer research and in raising funds for underprivileged girls to participate in sport.”
Helen started as principal at Korowa in January, moving from Toorak College, where she had also been principal. She says it was Korowa’s school motto, in part, which drew her to the new role.
“I was especially attracted to the Korowa school motto: Palma Non Sine Pulvere, which translates to ‘no reward without effort’,” she says.
“Korowa also has a strong commitment to excellence in all its dimensions – academic, sporting, cultural, the arts and social service through commitment to the curriculum and extracurricular activities – [so that attracted me also].
“I value aiming for personal bests and certainly try to reach that goal in my own life, so Korowa is a great fit for me.”
About Korowa Anglican Girls’ School
- An Anglican school for girls catering for students from three-year-old ELC to year 12
- Korowa’s Junior, Middle and Senior campus is in the leafy surrounds of Glen Iris
- Has a mission to empower students to make a positive contribution in a rapidly changing world.