Last week CatholicCare, in collaboration with Australian Catholic University celebrated the completion of another successful semester of Clemente Fitzroy. Over the past few months ten students participated in a written communication unit with the support of 12 learning partners and eight peer support partners. Tiffany Pantano from ACU coordinated the Clemente program for the first time this semester and did a magnificent job providing support to all the volunteers and students involved.
Throughout the night we heard from past and present Clemente students who spoke of their journey, the highs and lows, and the progress they have made in their lives since starting the Clemente program. The event was hosted by two Clemente graduates Patricia and Anne.
One student from this semester took to the podium saying ‘Clemente is so supportive, everyone is so positive, and it’s been very encouraging – I’ve been able to complete all of the assignments to date and I haven’t had one extension!’
Another student named Genaya, who has completed the first of four semesters said ‘starting Clemente has given me hope and I have developed confidence, skills and independence. Each week I look forward to seeing my peers that have now also become friends. I feel like I can be myself.’
The written communication unit Genaya completed has helped her to improve her writing skills and even motivated her to start her own online blog. ‘I feel more excited about learning and have aspirations to continue as a university student at ACU in the future’.
The journey Genaya is on and her dream to continue her tertiary study is certainly achievable as we have witnessed several Clemente students having been accepted into university and completing bachelor degrees, with some even going on to pursue their masters.
Helen, a previous Clemente student who attended last night's celebration, has just recently completed a Bachelor of Social Science. Helen was noted as a student ‘who was persistent in the face of challenges, and who was a support to colleagues and students in the Clemente program and in the broader ACU community’. Helen fashioned her robe and academic cap as she was called from the audience to receive her certificate of achievement.
CatholicCare's Clemente coordinator and family counsellor Gerard Koe, who has been supporting the students, stood up to speak about their steadfast commitment for completing this semester of Clemente before calling them up to receive a certificate for their participation.
‘It is truly no small achievement for Clemente students to pull through each semester,’ said Gerard. ‘We today want to acknowledge this struggle and congratulate you all for your courage, perseverance and for not giving up even when the going is very tough’.
CatholicCare would like to congratulate all past and present Clemente students and thank all of the volunteer learning partners for their dedicated support.
CatholicCare would also like to acknowledge the partnership with ACU and the generous support of our philanthropic partners: the Noel and Carmel O’Brien Family Foundation, the Ryan Family Legacy Foundation and Anne Tuohey. Together, we are changing the lives of many, providing opportunities for students to grow and flourish, so that they may achieve whatever they set their heart on.
This article was originally published here