“While the grounds have changed into a beautiful and tranquil space the community and spirit of the staff and girls has certainly stayed the same."
Recently St John Fisher College students were addressed by 2004 graduate Hollie Brown about her work with Australia's CEO Challenge: Darkness to Daylight, an initiative that raises awareness and funds for domestic and family violence.
The room was silent, and ears were pricked as Hollie spoke to the girls about her journey to date, reminiscing on her time at St John Fisher and how she came to be so passionate about working to make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by domestic violence.
She reflected on the feeling of community that was created at St John Fisher and how girls were taught to support each other. “It is this culture that was instilled in our education, that has led me to this essential role at Australia's CEO Challenge, one that supports the community and women at such crucial times in the lives."
Hollie said that despite not being a 'stand out' in any particular field, of sport, academics, music or the arts, there were teachers at St John Fisher who believed in her and supported her to challenge herself and step outside of her comfort zone. Her inspiring words rang true to students and staff around the room when she said; “I didn't always know what I wanted to be, but I knew the woman I wanted to become."
Hollie began her career in hospitality whilst still at school and continued in this field for many years before moving into hotel and event management. These years of experience provided unfiltered interactions with people from all walks of life. It was during this tenure that Hollie learnt the importance and monumental impact that small acts of kindness can have on others.
“After many years in hospitality management supporting people using abusive behaviours and those experiencing abusive behaviours, I was able to use my skills in event management to transfer to Domestic and Family Violence Prevention (DFV)."
Hollie now works as Community Engagement Coordinator at Australia's CEO Challenge and is challenging the St John Fisher community to get behind the Darkness to Daylight initiative. Senior students, staff and parents are invited to collectively log their kilometres as a group from 1 May to 30 May until they reach 100km with the final 10km run or walk to be held live on Monday 31 May. Each kilometre symbolises a life lost to domestic and family violence with the movement representing a community that cares and is committed to change. To join the St John Fisher team or to donate head to: Australia's CEO Challenge - St John Fisher College Bracken Ridge (darknesstodaylight.org)
© Brisbane Catholic Education, St John Fisher College Bracken Ridge (2021)