St Catherine’s College and Leeuwin share alumni tie

Did you know that a number of Leeuwin volunteers are past or present residents at St Catherine’s College UWA?

One of those residents is Courtney Hanlon. Courtney first sailed on a Leeuwin voyage in 2016 as a Year 10 student from Geraldton Grammar. Read about her Leeuwin experience below, what she’s studying now, and the similarities she sees between Leeuwin and St Cat’s.

I have found my time at St Catherine’s to be among many other things, valuable, convenient and enjoyable. The available resources and connections that come as part of being a resident are extremely valuable, especially the faculty dinners! The location of St Catherine’s college is very convenient due to the close proximity to UWA, the city, and public transport services. The social aspects to being a resident are second to none, and being a regional student, is an experience you can’t get elsewhere.

I am studying a Bachelor of Arts, with a double major in Psychology. Over the years I have had many sporting and academic achievements. Throughout high school I received many academic awards and was a successful netball state league player along with other sports. I am involved in the dirt track motorsports community, and have years of boating experience. Some of my aspirations involve wanting to pursue post-graduate studies in UWA’s Masters of Corporate Psychology course. I would love to own my own business one day and help others to operate successful businesses using my understanding of human behaviour and thought processing in the workforce.

I first participated in a Leeuwin Voyage in 2016 when I was in year ten at Geraldton Grammar School. I was introduced to Leeuwin program through school: I knew other students who had participated in the program, and had many years boating experience so I was keen to get out on the water and see what new skills I could learn.

There were endless elements I enjoyed about the voyage. Looking back, I really enjoyed the new information I was able to learn. I also really enjoyed working with so many other people from various backgrounds to achieve a big goal. At the beginning of the voyage, it felt as though the end goal would be near impossible.  By the end of the trip we were able to successfully achieve that goal, and that was the most enjoyable feeling for myself. I also loved making some great friends who I am still in touch with today.

I learnt a great deal of skills and lessons on board the Leeuwin- I think I would be lying if I said I remember them all! At the time it was really fun to learn all of the practical skills needed to operate the ship effectively. Reflecting on my experience, the most valuable lessons learnt for myself was the developed understanding of leadership, as well as the self-development process I experienced. I have a sound resume of leadership experiences, especially in the sporting field. However, my time on the Leeuwin was a leadership experience like no other; I still implement skills I learnt in that time nowadays. The Leeuwin also taught me endless strategies regarding working well in teams and finally, it taught me to make the most of your opportunities- which is a very valuable lesson to learn at that age!

I think the community at St Catherine’s and on the Leeuwin, is strikingly similar. Despite the Leeuwin being a sailing ship program and St Cat’s being a residential college, both programs have a very strong sense of community that I would compare to a family. Both communities are very resourceful and supportive. In both these communities you have the resources and the support that you need to challenge yourself, achieve big things and obtain a very positive experience.