For someone who claims to have graduated from school without clear aspirations, Jac Torres-Gomez has achieved an awful lot in a short time.
Jac attended Girton in 1994 and graduated a proud Ahernian in 1999. The wide range of subjects she undertook in VCE, which included humanities, maths and science, is perhaps indicative of the equally broad range of skills she possesses and the varied career path that she has followed.
Jac’s most inspirational teachers are also in very different quadrants of the school.
“Mrs Watanabe inspired my love of languages and Mr Mac instilled in me a love of health and wellbeing. I also had an awesome hockey coach in Ms Kurle.
“When I was finishing school, I did not have major aspirations to ‘be’ someone or ‘do’ something. All I knew was that I had to leave Bendigo for a time to go and find myself.
“I ended up going to Denmark on a school exchange and doing Year 12 a second time, only this time, in Danish!
“I didn’t think I would come back to Bendigo, but here I am! It is a great place to bring up kids and I have a daughter, Isabella, who started Prep at Girton this year, so it’s a full circle scenario for me,” Jac said.
Part of the full circle includes further study after finishing school, including a Diploma in Hospitality Management, Bachelor in Education (Prep-12), Masters in International and Community Development, Diploma in Yoga Teacher Training, Spanish Diploma and a Cooking course at a Culinary Arts School in France.
With such an incredible array of study under her belt, Jac has worked in jobs ranging from sales to hospitality and teaching but it seems that Community Development is where her heart lies for now.
“I have over 15 years work experience facilitating and teaching in community development contexts including in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Japan, Bolivia and Vietnam.
“I have worked for World Vision both in Australia and in Bolivia and I now work in cultural diversity and inclusion for the City of Greater Bendigo.
“There have been many highlights, a few low times, but each has taught me wonderful lessons on life and people.
“A highlight was working in Bolivia for World Vision on their national education strategy and going to different communities to see what education aspirations they had for their families,” Jac said.
Unsurprisingly, Jac has travelled extensively and although now settled in Bendigo, ‘settled’ is an understatement. She is the President of Bike Bendigo as well as a runner and a yoga teacher. She sings in a choir with her daughter and somehow, amongst all this activity, has still found time to write a children’s book called Cycling to Grandma’s House, addressing themes around puberty.
Jac is a guest speaker at the forthcoming OGA Careers Event for Year 12 students and is likely to have some captivating stories and sage advice that will appeal to a wide range of students.