Casey Day

a group of people standing on top of a mountain

Graduating from Caulfield in 2020 was particularly challenging for Casey and her peers due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Despite this, her high school experience was a positive one including lifelong friendships and happy memories such as her visits to the Nanjing Campus in Year 9 and on the Year 11 Language Tour. It was this experience that solidified Casey’s love of travel and her desire to apply for a traineeship after school.  


In March 2021, Casey accepted a traineeship in Jabiru and moved away from Melbourne for the first time. She spent a year learning how to deliver the on-country program to Year 9 students at Jabiru. She also learned about living in a small community, working as part of a staff team, leading students in activities, managing behaviour and wellbeing issues. It was a thrilling experience – wonderful people, new friends and a great working environment. 


Casey believes that her Jabiru experience helped her gain much greater independence. She learned new skills and discover different ways of doing things. Acting as a role model for younger students also meant that she took on a lot of responsibility. 

Casey also formed incredible relationships in Jabiru. Living in a community where everyone knew each other allowed her to build strong connections with others and learn more about their lives. She forged strong friendships with the other trainees and Caulfield staff, providing her with a solid support system while away from home. Working with Indigenous people presented her with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their culture and the land they live on, as well as a fresh perspective on living in Melbourne. 


After her traineeship, Casey commenced a psychology degree. She found the transition back to city life quite challenging, including fitting back into friendship groups and getting used to university life. Not long into her degree she decided to switch to part-time study online, so she could accept a job offer as a mentor with the Stars Foundation back in Jabiru. Her role involves supporting young indigenous girls to attend school, so they can complete Year 12 and move into work or further study. Casey gets great satisfaction from seeing the improvements the girls she works with make, whether it be in attendance, behaviour or academic performance. 


The girls come to see Casey in a safe place – a dedicated Stars room. She meets with each year group once a week. She runs activities, sets goals, tracks attendance, and provides avenues for the girls to attend school. Additionally, she organises excursions and camps to help them gain new skills and increase their enjoyment of school. All activities are based on the four pillars of the Stars program: 1) healthy relationships, 2) wellbeing, 3) education/training/employment, and 4) community. Casey is at the Jabiru Area School before and after school, as well as during the whole school day, to support the girls in achieving their goals. 

Casey’s day typically begins at 6am. She starts her work by picking up some of the girls from their homes and bringing them to school. The girls then participate in sports activities followed by a healthy breakfast. Throughout the day, Casey provides support to the girls to ensure that school it is a safe and nurturing environment for them. After school, Casey usually heads home to work on her university studies before unwinding with some relaxing activities such as painting or watching TV. 


Casey did some work with the Stars Foundation during her time as a Caulfield trainee. She helped run activities for girls in Jabiru and was struck by how beneficial the Stars program was for them. It also helped her realise that careers in education can be versatile and she could use her skills in different ways. In addition, Casey was excited to move back to Jabiru, a place she loves. 

One thing Casey has learned is that it’s crucial to push yourself out of your comfort zone, even if you feel hesitant or nervous about a new experience. She believes that there’s a common misconception that a degree is essential to gain adequate work experience. Her journey has shown that there are other options available beyond the traditional route of attending university. 


In the future Casey hopes to complete her psychology degree and possibly pursue a career in clinical psychology or obtain a diploma in teaching. She would like to work with young children in remote communities and gain experience in a variety of settings to expand her skillset. Currently Casey is exploring the best way to combine her passion for both psychology and teaching. 


Casey’s advice to her younger self would be not to doubt your dreams and aspirations for fear of being left behind or being different from others. She hopes that no one is afraid to take a different path from what others might be doing, and instead, follow their own passion and interests.  


“If I hadn’t done the traineeship, I would never have realised I liked teaching and working with kids”.  

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