By Larissa Whelan
My name is Larissa Whelan and I’m the daughter of a veteran who did three deployments to Iraq in 2005/2006, 2007/2008 and 2010/2011, he was also in Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.
Being a teacher is something that I always wanted to do. I remember when my Dad was on deployment I would play ‘teachers’ with my little sisters. My little sisters are my biggest inspiration for becoming a teacher. I am currently in my 3rd year of a Bachelor of Primary Education. It’s a future goal of mine to do my master’s in special education and become the principal of a small rural school.
To achieve these goals, it meant I had to move far from home, 577km to be exact. I went knowing that my parents could not afford to help me out, but it was my dream course.
University is expensive, accommodation, textbooks and just living on my own for the first time. In the beginning, I was struggling to pay for all my bills and still be highly dedicated to my studies. Thankfully, I found the Australian Veteran’s Children Assistance Trust and Global Defence Solutions. AVCAT helped me cover those expenses that I was stressed about. I can now live comfortably and cook decent food; I can study without worrying if I have enough rent money for the month.
AVCAT allowed me to try my hardest for my studies and my future students without the stress of money. I have been able to learn everything that my future students will need to learn themselves, from mathematics to literacy, to the fun stuff like creative arts and physical education. I am also able to volunteer for my university every week.
Receiving a scholarship from AVCAT made me feel that someone out there was looking after the children of veterans. We can be overlooked by many people and organisations. Not only did the scholarship help me, but it also helped my family. It gave my family, particularly my Dad, peace of mind that I could attend my dream course.
Larissa was awarded the Global Defence Solutions Scholarship in 2019.