When I graduated, there were four in 6th class and 15 in the entire school, says Eleanor McKendrick, this week’s Alumni Catch-up guest and a founding pupil of John Colet School.
So we were often in composite classes, and in very different buildings (at Falcon Street) to nowadays, but beyond that, the ethos of the school and the founding principles are exactly the same today.
Eleanor is Mrs McKendrick’s daughter, and she and her sister Claire and brother Chris are all graduates of JCS.
She says the strength of the teachers commitment to a holistic approach; to the academic, spiritual, social and emotional side of children, enabled her and the other graduates in her year to approach any situation as best they can .
It was no issue for me moving on to Monte St Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney, where I was in a class year of over 200 students.
And she says her career direction has been shaped by her experience at John Colet.
The commitment shown by the teachers, their focus on developing as human beings, and to the school motto Bear Witness of that Light, seeing that in action every school day inspired me.
I knew I wanted to work with people. I briefly considered teaching but changed to Speech Pathology, with a Masters in Audiology.
For the past ten years Eleanor has worked for SCIC Cochlear Implant Centre, a not-for-profit organisation which, as a service of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, is Australia’s largest cochlear implant program. It provides fully integrated cochlear implantation, rehabilitation, therapy, education and early intervention services.
I joined SCIC as an audiologist, and then spent five years in the UK, setting up a Cochlear Implant program within the National Health Service.
Now back at SCIC, I m the Operations Manager, so I manage the day to day operations of the cochlear implant centres in NSW, ACT and Northern Territory; ensuring the business structure, policies and procedures for all our clinical teams are benchmarked against global best practice.
She is also doing an MBA and training to become a fitness instructor, and credits JCS for instilling in her the importance of a well-rounded education, of not stagnating, and of always working to reach your potential.
Stillness and mindfulness has given me a tool kit for responding to different situations by actively practising mindfulness, it becomes a part of your life.
Eleanor counts the four JCS graduates in her year as her close friends. She is outdoorsy, cycles to work every day and loves physical exercise. Here she is pictured at Everest Base Camp in 2012.