Many teachers describe Baelea Collins as quiet and self-assured. She is considered by her teachers a welcome influence on any classroom, and this is one of many reasons that she has been awarded the 2020 OGA Departing Girtonian Scholarship.

Each year, the Old Girtonians’ Association grants a $2,000 Scholarship to a departing student who epitomises the values of an Old Girtonian. They must have demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm to all aspects of the Curriculum, Co-curriculum and to Community Service, and Baelea has done just that.

Baelea is a proud ‘lifer, commencing at Girton Grammar School in Prep and immersing herself broadly in all that the School has to offer, especially since Year 10 when she made a conscious decision to take on leadership opportunities and to become more connected to a broader range of peers.

Receiving Half and then Full colours in every year since Year 7, Baelea has played several musical instruments including piano, viola, and clarinet. She has been a member of the Concert Choir, Vocal Stagecraft and Senior Percussion.

Baelea was instrumental in helping to establish the Girton Kayaking Co-curricular and has Captained the sport for two years and been a Junior representative of the Bendigo Canoe Club as well as the Assistant Coach of the Junior Kayaking team at Bendigo Canoe Club.

As a hardworking, diligent and mature student, Baelea has a strong academic record and has achieved several Academic Excellence and Academic Endeavour awards, as well as achieving first place in two subjects in Year 11. Her teachers credit her with a drive to succeed, and an ability to seek out assistance and these things combined with a strong work ethic, have made Baelea an upstanding Girtonian.

The road has not always been easy for Baelea. Despite significant personal challenges owing to her mother’s health as well as coming from a farming family that has endured drought, she has displayed resilience and determination in her studies and in life. Baelea has not always been a badged leader, however, in her time at Girton has developed quality relationships with her peers and teachers, always seeking to help others and to enthusiastically foster teamwork.

In her OGA Scholarship interview, Baelea indicated that she has consciously stayed true to her values and to being the best version of herself, which she hopes is an inspiration to those around her. She encourages other students to fill their weeks with co-curricular activities and to have an open mindset. She said that over the years she has learned not to be too hard on herself and that although sometimes things can be overwhelming, the School has many things in place to support every student.

During her interview for the Scholarship, Baelea was asked what it means to be an Old Girtonian. She responded by saying that it was about carrying forward all that she has learned about respect and about compassion in her time at Girton. She says she has learned how to be kind and to understand people and this is evident in Baelea’s active volunteering in a range of activities over the years at Girton, where she has offered her time and services on many different occasions.

Baelea is known to be considerate, respectful and supportive of others and people naturally warm to her sympathetic character. She was awarded the OGA Departing Girtonian Scholarship because she displays so many of the qualities expected of graduating Girtonians. She is positive, thoughtful, diligent and demonstrates a life-long commitment to learning, leadership skills, resilience and a commitment to social responsibility.

The OGA congratulates Baelea on receiving the Scholarship for 2020.