Emma Blackford, in the nicest possible way, prefers not take no for an answer. She is on course to become the youngest female commercial pilot in Australia but only because she is resourceful and determined enough to have made an application for a cadetship for which she was, by the book, too young to apply.

Emma has already received a Scholarship from the Bendigo Flying Club and went solo after just 7.6 hours of flying. Subsequently she received another Scholarship from the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.

Now, she has received the 2017 OGA Departing Girtonian Scholarship.

Emma has the kind of focus that most of us dream about and upholds many of the values of the school that make her a deserving recipient of the OGA Scholarship.

In her Scholarship interview, Emma talked about how much she has appreciated being in a learning environment at Girton where her teachers and her peers wanted to see her do well.

“There is a culture at this school where everyone brings one another up, which is especially important in the last couple of years of school.

“Our teachers take their work, but not themselves, seriously. This has allowed my cohort to build report with teachers, which is so important.

“I also noticed when I moved to Girton from another school that peers really respect one another as well as their teachers and it’s OK to put your hand up in class. This was all a huge relief for me,” Emma said.

Emma is all too aware of the hard work that is required to become a commercial pilot and from a young age has been willing to put in the miles.

“I come from a family where it was made clear to me early on that unless you put the work in you, you won’t do well.

“I am highly dependent on myself for achieving the things that I need to achieve and I believe there is always a way forward – under, around, through – there is always a way,” Emma said.

It would be easy to assume that somebody so focused might carry a high level of stress, but Emma’s advice to students who are new to the school is to relax and have a good time.

“Everyone tells you how hard school is going to be but actually, it goes very quickly.

“If you go through school stressed you will regret it. I am personally expecting life to be harder when I leave school than during school, so I’ve tried to enjoy my schooling journey as much as possible,” she said.

Emma wholeheartedly upholds the Girton “Imagine” value of respect. She says that understanding that every single person is different is where it all starts.

“I think there is something to be learned from absolutely everyone that we meet.

“We all need to consider each individual and consider what we might learn from them.

“Because even if that is something negative, you are still learning something from that person and can perhaps turn it around in your own mind,” she said.

Emma is excited about leaving school and embarking on the next phase of her life. She is grateful that there is a culture at Girton beyond the school years and said;

“I feel like this school is not just about the learning, it’s about the community that we are in.”

Below: Emma receives her scholarship from Chairman, Mr Rob Ketterer