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Humans of St John’s

Thu, 29/06/2023Posted by:

Welcome to the latest edition of Humans of St John’s featuring Secondary Teacher, Maritha Youell, and her journey from South Africa to St John’s.

Pictured: Maritha and her family celebrate becoming Australian Citizens

Life is a journey, and we all follow a different pathway. My journey to St John’s started in South Africa. I attended primary school in Johannesburg which is the largest city. After completing primary school my parents decided that city life was too busy, and we moved to a farm where things were peaceful and quiet away from the hubbub of the city.  There were no schools near the farm so for high school, I became a weekly boarder at a school in a town nearby.

As I spent my weeks away from home, weekends and holidays were spent with my family. Being a family with five siblings it seemed we always had friends around the house and more than enough players to play a game.  We loved playing sports in the big yard and there was always some sort of competition, whether it was a board game, a darts challenge, or a cricket match.

My favourite subjects at high school were accounting and maths. There was nothing more exciting than solving a difficult maths equation or balancing a statement. As I approached the end of my high school career, I realized I needed to choose a career that incorporated my love of maths or accounting. I had numerous options. The advice my parents gave me was to do something using maths. So, I embarked on a career in electrical engineering.

After university, I started working as an Engineer in a large Petrochemical factory. During this time, I was privileged to work in a field that I had a passion for. Solving problems daily to keep the plant running are skills I learnt using the logic and discipline I gained through maths.   During this time, I also discovered a new passion, developing young people.

My journey came to a crossroads when my husband and I decided to change careers and immigrate to Australia. The four of us, my husband, two children and I immediately fell in love with the country and the people. The welcoming nature of Australia enabled us to become involved in school events, play sports, and become part of the community.  One of our proudest moments was when we celebrated becoming Australian citizens and becoming a permanent part of the community.

This big move overseas brought many new opportunities for all of us. One of these opportunities has allowed me to pursue my new passion for developing people by completing a Masters in Secondary Teaching at the University of Queensland. This ensured that I could continue to work with younger people and teach others how to solve math problems.

My first encounter with St Johns was when Mr Morgan graciously invited our family to attend the musical Annie. We were astounded by the remarkable talents displayed by the students and the exceptional dedication of the staff and community. At that moment, I realised that St John’s was a place where both my children and I could flourish and blossom. I joined St John’s in 2022, and teaching here has only reaffirmed that I am in the right place. The students at St John’s are eager learners, they are polite and engaged, and demonstrate a love for learning. The warm welcome and support from the St John’s students, staff, and parents have made me feel right at home. I am immensely grateful to be a part of such an amazing community.

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family. Most weekends we are somewhere near a sports field, or out exploring the wonderful gifts of nature.

We all continue our journey on different pathways. My journey at St John’s fills me with excitement, and I am committed to living by the words of Nadia Comaneci, a former gymnast: “Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do.”