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Local mum receives top medal

Local mum receives top medal

Deborah with USC Chancellor Sir Angus Houston

A major car accident and the arrival of her second child could have spelled the end of university life for Landsborough local Deborah Kelsey but instead she went on to exceed all her expectations.

She not only graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) with a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) last week but also received a Chancellor’s Medal for her distinguished contributions to university life.

Among many involvements in university life she was a member of the Student Representative Council, Academic Board, Academic Appeals Committee, Student Engagement Leadership Team and worked as a USC ambassador, a mentor to other students, a specialist

technologies officer and helped set up USC’s School of Education Society.

Deb, 30, says that despite facing challenges along the way, it was the support of her lecturers, tutors and university staff that kept her going to achieve a grade point average of 6.29 (from a possible seven) and gave her the confidence to take on responsibilities outside of the classroom.

“I was studying when I found out I was going to have another baby and I thought ‘what have I done?’ but that was pretty short-lived after I had discussions with staff and worked out a study plan,” she said.

This included bringing her baby to classes, asking for help from her lecturers and USC support services, and juggling childcare with her mum who is studying social work at USC.

Even when a car accident left her with concussion, whiplash, hearing loss and nerve damage, Deb found a way to carry on, driven by a passion for ensuring children have a quality education in their vital early years.

USC senior lecturer Dr Ali Black said Deb’s contributions extended to the wider community where she had been a parent representative at her children’s kindergarten and advocated for children while supporting local education and sustainability initiatives.

Deborah completed her placement at Mooloolah State School while also working at USC in the information technology and marketing departments.