The supportive environment of Canberra Girls Grammar School’s boarding house has assisted four young women to pursue their passions internationally.
Harriet Wallace and Zara Collisson have accepted full scholarships to further their rowing careers in the United States from next year, while Nancy Xia, was offered a place at Parsons School of Design in New York City where she will study Fashion Design from January 2020.
Brumbies W League player, Grace Kemp, recently returned from a tour of Fiji with the Australia A Wallaroos team where they competed in the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship.
All four Year 12 students credit the support of their school, and specifically, the culture of the boarding house as essential to their success.
“Boarding at Girls Grammar has allowed me to live closer to the Brumbies headquarters,” said Grace, whose parents used to have to drive two hours each way to get her from her hometown of Harden to Canberra.
“It’s also allowed me to be more flexible with homework and assignments, getting to and from training and having dinner ready when I come back [from training]!” said Grace.
Harriet, who hails from Murringo, NSW, moved to Canberra at the age of 11 to become a boarder at CGGS and said “it was a huge jump moving from a town of 150 people to the capital city.”
She acknowledges that being at CGGS opened her eyes to other possibilities and once she discovered rowing she wanted to share her love of it with other boarders, including Zara, who she introduced to the sport.
“Rowing is the ultimate team sport and in the boarding house we are also a team that supports each other,” said Harriet.
“It’s important that I share my love of rowing with the boarders because they’re my family, my sisters.”
Zara, who was a track and field athlete before attending CGGS, said school’s rowing program has enabled her to pursue her goals.
“I always wanted to go to the US on a sport scholarship.
“When I was given the opportunity to row and get to a higher level, I knew I’d found a sport I could go to America with.”
Nancy Xia moved to Canberra from China in 2015 with the CGGS art and design program being one of the main attractions.
She has been interested in fashion for as long as she can remember, and with laser-sharp focus, she put a plan into place to support her goals.
“I started looking into uni when I was in Year 9, that was when I realised that Parsons is the place that I really wanted to go to,” said Nancy
“I’ve been preparing my portfolio since Year 11, but deeply in my heart, I feel like I can push myself harder. But if [Parsons] think it’s good, then I’m happy.”