When a blue-eyed Tamworth girl arrived at Ascham in 2017 as a Year 7 boarder and Music Scholar, violin safely tucked under her arm, she did not know where her high school journey would lead her.
Jamilla Hill, then 12 years old, was already exceptional on her instrument—her talent continued to flourish as she dedicated countless hours to violin practice and performance throughout her schooling. Yet Jamilla also carried with her a deep love of animals, inherited from her parents who have dedicated their lives to working with creatures great and small. Both Jamilla’s parents are veterinarians in the Tamworth area—Dad has his own equine practice and Mum works at a local vet surgery, also assisting Jamilla’s father with weekly surgeries.
As Year 12 graduation approached in 2022, Jamilla decided she too wanted to make her love for animals into a career, heavily influenced by the way her parents are able to manage the real challenges that come with being a vet, namely the loss of animals and sometimes difficult or emotional owners. This year, Jamilla has embarked on a six-year double degree, Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. At this early stage, Jamilla hopes to be able to work in mixed practice somewhere rural, with a focus on large animals such as horses and cattle.
Reflecting now on her years at Ascham, Jamilla acknowledges how much she reaped the benefits of Ascham’s unique learning framework, the Dalton Plan. The combination of Boarding and Dalton gave her a strong foundation in becoming an independent and collaborative learner, who is organised and focused. She cites access to the after-hours homework and assignment support by tutors, known as Boarders’ Prep, as a definite positive in the Ascham Boarding experience.
‘I loved the Dalton Plan,’ she said. ‘It allowed me to work at my own pace and not be too influenced by what others were doing around me. I also loved the diversity that my subject choice allowed. The study of music nurtured my creative side, along with my more science-based and critical-thinking subjects of chemistry, biology and maths. The variety of subjects also helped to break up my timetable between practical and non-practical elements.’
Jamilla said that despite only being a few weeks into her degree, she has already recognised her ability to be organised and plan her work. ‘It’s something I believe is a result of the Dalton Plan—this organisation will hopefully prevent me from becoming too overwhelmed with the intense workload that comes with a competitive six-year degree.’
With the unique skill set provided by the combination of Ascham Boarding and the Dalton Plan, students like Jamilla are set to truly succeed at university and at life, whatever pathway awaits them.
Read more about how your daughters can get their head start at Ascham Boarding.
Image: Jamilla Hill has achieved her dream of pursuing a career working with animals.