Student Voice — Stories of Success: Hannah Gandy
Hannah Gandy attended three high schools before enrolling at the Pavilion School — an institution catering for students who have been disengaged or excluded from mainstream education. Through determination, passion and the support of teachers Hannah became the first Pavilion School student to graduate with a VCE.
We originally met Hannah in 2019; since then she has graduated with a Bachelor of Laws/Arts from La Trobe University, completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and is now on her way to being admitted as a lawyer.
Hannah reflects upon her journey through higher education, access to university for those who don’t feel as though it’s a possibility for them, and what the future holds.
— Hannah’s story (2022)
It was a long time before I was enrolled at La Trobe University when I realised that I wanted to help improve the lives of young persons suffering disadvantage. This didn’t mean that I knew I wanted to be a lawyer or that I had my career planned out — following my passion led to incredible opportunities that helped cement what I would do. Where I am today is a direct representation of following those passions, and I’m proud of that.
I really care about the people that I support through all avenues of my work and can place myself in their shoes to better understand their needs when dealing with problems, whether legal, social or practical.
Since graduating, I’ve started working at the Centre for Multicultural Youth as the Senior Liaison Officer for the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program, which supports young people in the legal system. I’m still working as a Youth Worker for Banyule City Council, and providing support work for a private social work practice to people with a range of complex needs.
The most important thing for these young people to understand is that anyone can go to university, but they must take positive steps to achieve it. For disadvantaged young persons, there are undeniably emotional, financial and social barriers to accessing tertiary education which prevent them realising university is an option. The biggest message to send to young people in this situation is that they can go to university, and that they are in control of that.
At the end of 2021, I was announced as a 2022 John Monash Scholar. The scholarship supports people to study a postgraduate course anywhere in the world. In September this year I will commence a Master of Laws specialising in Law and Social Justice at University College London. This opportunity will help me gain a more in-depth understanding of legal issues that impact young persons suffering disadvantage, and how they can be overcome.