April Batchelor, Class of 2007

“What I value most from my time at Luther is all I gained from the amazing people I met.”

My time at Luther was filled with some amazing experiences and even more amazing people.

Since finishing school, I have been through quite a few unexpected personal and professional changes (mostly positive), and I can confidently say that where I am now is vastly different to where I thought I would be when I graduated in 2007.

After finishing Year 12, I was excited to undertake Business studies at Swinburne. The plan was to score a graduate role in marketing and then perhaps run my own business. I really enjoyed the course but my first experience in a marketing/advertising role helped me to quickly realise that this field wasn’t for me and, after missing out on what I thought was my ‘ideal job’ at the time, I took a project coordination role at the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources while I figured out my next move. What was meant to be a one-month contract, turned into five years of working in various project contractor roles and a great deal of overseas travel.

Whilst I still hadn’t found work I felt truly passionate about, I was so grateful to have an incredibly supportive manager who recognised my passions were outside my current role, yet continued to develop me professionally and allowed me to take long-term leave regularly to go abroad for both fun and volunteer assignments in countries including India, Nepal and Myanmar. Over this time I also undertook studies in health science as I made plans to move into this field.

Even though at the time I felt a little lost and unsure of my purpose, I realise now that it was over these five years that things were starting to come together. I was able to recognise what made me truly happy and discovered that working with supportive people plays a significant role in this. I realised that I needed to work in an area that merged my project experience with my interests in health and my desire to help others. This ultimately led to my decision to move to the Solomon Islands earlier this year. I am now working in program management for the World Health Organization under the Australian Volunteers for International Development program in noncommunicable diseases and maternal/child health. I am also completing a Master of International Public Health.

Living and working in the Solomon Islands is challenging and sometimes very frustrating but it is an incredibly beautiful place with even more beautiful people. Weekends are spent hiking, diving and swimming which, in addition to the support from the community here and back home, is contributing to this hugely rewarding experience.

What I value most from my time at Luther is all I gained from the amazing people I met. I am forever grateful for the many teachers who supported me both in school and in my life outside school. I’m grateful to Mr Lee, who played a huge role in my decision to study Business, Mr Dunn and Mr Baum who helped me get through science (which only became my passion in more recent years but still doesn’t come naturally) and Mr Bradshaw, who gave me the opportunity to continue singing and play music outside class. I consider myself extremely lucky for the lifelong friends I made at Luther, many of whom I’m still close to. Leah Walkenhorst, who made the trip to visit me in the Solomon Islands in 2017 and Ben Twine, who was my Deb partner in 2005, are still both dear friends.

I’m not sure what my next step will be but I am thoroughly enjoying life! Thank you to everyone in the Luther community for giving me a wonderful school experience.

April Batchelor in Nepal

April in Nepal.