A Tenison Woods College student is setting her sights high and already proving that anything is possible. Year 12 Graduate Lidya Mungu-Ashuze, 18, was a highscoring student last year, completing her SACE with an ATAR result of 88.55, achieving As in all of her subjects. In a feat rarely seen in such a young person, Lidya successfully completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education in the same year.
This hard work and perseverance has seen Lidya fast-track straight into employment. While many students are in a gap year or preparing themselves for university, Lidya is already in the workforce, gaining valuable experience.
She secured a job at the conclusion of 2020 as an Early Childhood Educator at the Tenison Woods College Early Learning and Community Centre. Being in the work force has always been important for Lidya, holding a part-time job since 2019 at the Oatmill Cinema and then at Kmart up until recently.
Her long-term career goal will also come to fruition, as she is enrolled to study Nursing at the University of South Australia in 2022. Lidya’s educational journey has come a long way after arriving with her family from Congo in 2013 and starting Year 5 without knowing a word of English.
She started her schooling at North Gambier Primary School, quickly picking up the English language, transitioning from her native tongue of Swahili within a matter of months. In Congo, Lidya and her siblings would only attend school about once a month, walking an hour each way from their home – a vast contrast to her experience in Mount Gambier.
“I am very grateful to be in Australia and for the educational opportunities I have had,” Lidya said. Moving to Tenison in Year 6, Lidya made it her mission to work hard and achieve the best she possibly could, with college staff commending her for her continued effort and drive.
“I am so proud of Lidya’s journey and what she has achieved over the last eight years,” Director of Wellbeing Tania Sigley said. “I have known Lidya personally since she was 10 years old, without knowing any English and I have been amazed to see how much she has grown as a person.”
Lidya highly praises the staff and resources she had at her fingertips at the college. “I am very grateful for the teachers I had during my time at the school,” she said. “I always felt supported and encouraged.”
Lidya’s focus and hard work did not go unnoticed by Tenison Woods College EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher Suzanne Pepe. “I will always think of Lidya as a dedicated, resilient girl with a tonne of determination,” she said. “Lidya shines brilliantly – and she is definitely a guiding light for her family, friends and community.
“She will continue with her future studies and face life experiences with this same resilience and strength and I am excited for Lidya and for all that lays ahead.” On Australia Day this year, Lidya and her family were granted Australian citizenship.
Lidya’s life in Australia has not come without its challenges, but she has taken it in her stride and focused her energy on her study and her future employment goals. “I would really like to do something good with the life I have been provided here,” she said.