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Lachlan Barrett (Fr 2017)

Lachlan Barrett St Andrew's College Alumni

Lachlan Barrett (Fr 2017) was raised on his family’s farm near Coonamble in regional NSW but made the move to Sydney after school to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher. Since completing university, Lachlan has returned to the country and now works as a Classroom Teacher and Boarding Staff member at Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange, NSW. During his time at Drew’s, he made many contributions to the college community, notably through his positions as a Pastoral Care Leader and the Honorary Assistant Treasurer. Lachlan shared with us his motivations for pursuing a career in education, his advice for current College students, and his fondest memories from his time at Drew’s. 

Please tell us a bit about yourself – where are you originally from and how did you come to be a resident at St Andrew’s College?

Having been born and raised on a farm outside of Coonamble, NSW, I developed a solid work ethic, an entrepreneurial drive and a deep sense of belonging. My upbringing in Coonamble taught me to appreciate the importance of community, opportunity, and friendship. My transition to residency at St Andrew’s College seamlessly aligned with these values, making my journey to Drew’s feel like a home away from home. 

What parts of College life were you involved in? Do you have a favourite memory you would like to share? 

Starting from the early mornings of B-Lane swimming, to engaging in St Andrew’s College Sony Children’s Camps, countless hours of conversation in the Dining Hall, and actively participating in strategic discussions and planning in House Committee meetings, I cherish many memories from my College days. Among these, being honoured with a standing ovation for the ‘Service to Students Club Award’ during our cohort’s Valediction Ceremony in 2019 stands out as particularly special. As time passes, these memories become increasingly precious, and sharing them with fellow Androvians over a glass of something adds to their lasting legacy!

You were a Pastoral Care Leader and the Honorary Assistant Treasurer whilst at College, what was your highlight of being in these roles? And what advice would you give to any current students looking to apply for either role in the future? 

Without a doubt, the highlight of being in these roles was the opportunity to make a positive impact on the College Community.

As a Pastoral Care Leader, the best part was being able to support my peers during both the challenges and joys of college life. Building meaningful relationships and being a trusted friend for fellow peers was incredibly rewarding. My advice to any student looking to apply for this role in the future would be to prioritise empathy, active listening, and genuine care for others. 

As the Honorary Assistant Treasurer, the highlight was gaining practical experience in contributing to the smooth operation of the Student’s Club. Being able to help organise events, track and evaluate strategic changes, and ensure transparency was fulfilling. My advice to future applicants for this role would be to demonstrate reliability, integrity, and accountability in managing tasks to achieve the best outcomes for all involved.

Did your time at St Andrew’s influence and or impact your life after College?

My experience at St Andrew’s has left a lasting impact on my life beyond College, and it continues to influence me to this day. The experiences, lessons, and connections I gained during my time at Drew’s continue to mould my values, relationships, and optimistic approach to both personal and professional challenges. I am deeply grateful for my time at Andrew’s; it will forever be a rewarding, empowering chapter of my life.

Were there particular academic, professional, or personal experiences that motivated you to pursue a career in education? 

Education holds immense power, impacting everyone in profound ways. A particular experience that motivated me to pursue a career in education was during my early University days when I had the privilege of attending the admission of my sister into the NSW Supreme Court. This celebration sparked my belief in the power of education. Reflecting on the rich history of legal admission, which traces back centuries to the 1200s (1800s in NSW), I realised that it all began with education – a catalyst for opportunity, conversation and achievement. This realisation continues to fuel my daily motivation in the education sector, driven by a desire to empower future generations to seize opportunities, question authority and achieve beyond their perceived limitations. 

After completing your studies, you worked in Sydney for a few years before moving to Orange. Why did you move out to the country? What has been challenging or beneficial about making the change? 

My years in Sydney were some of the best of my life, and I would not be the person or educator I am today if it were not for the Sydney experience. After five years in the city, I moved back to the country, to be closer to my parents and ready for another challenge. Establishing new support systems in a different community was initially daunting, and learning to prioritise invitations, whether professional or personal, was an adjustment as I aimed to expand my social circle. However, the transition back to the bush has continually yielded rewards on both personal and professional fronts, affirming the truth that home is where the heart is. 

You have experience teaching in both urban and regional areas of Australia. What key differences have you noticed between the two in terms of your job as an educator? 

This a great question, as there are many similarities, but also important differences, to acknowledge teaching in urban and regional areas to bring out the best in your community. Urban areas often offer more diverse student populations and access to resources, fostering a fast-paced environment. In contrast, regional areas emphasise community connections and a more adaptive, personalised approach to teaching. For me, at the heart of education is community, so teaching in the regional area of Orange at Kinross Wolaroi School will always be one of my life’s ‘perfect fits’. 

You have been involved in several aspects of the Kinross academic and boarding community. What do you find is the most valuable thing to teach students? 

I have found the most value in teaching students about the importance of holistic well-being. Beyond academic achievement, I emphasise the significance of mental, emotional, and physical health. By nurturing a supportive environment that prioritises well-being, I believe students can thrive academically and personally, fostering a foundation for empathy, lifelong success and fulfilment.

What does a typical day at work look like for you as both a teacher and boarding staff member?

My dual role at Kinross allows me to contribute to students’ academic and personal growth throughout the day. In education, it is hard to describe a typical day, as there are always different stories to share and moments to learn from. Currently, the teaching aspect of my role includes classroom teaching in English, maths, science, geography, history and PDH, with sports coaching and administration of an afternoon. As a boarding staff member, I work evenings and weekends with young men to support them in their lives beyond the classroom. 

What do you like to do outside of your work?

I love the outdoors and enjoy keeping busy. Orange has many great social sports offerings, so I have found myself on the footy field, netball court, or in the swimming pool. Recently, I have reached the personal milestone of completing a dual number of marathons and have been enjoying year-round swims (or dips!) in Lake Canobolas. I have put my social media skills to the test by launching a 2800 Dipping Instagram page to stay accountable and share my experiences. Since moving to Orange, I have reconnected with my ‘green thumb’ and enjoy appreciating nature’s beauty in the Central West. 

What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment that you’d recommend to others? 

A fellow Fresher (Nickoletta Flannery) gifted me Ash Barty’s memoir: My Dream Time. I proudly recommend this book to others. It is a must-read – a refreshing book fix from the perspective of an inspiring, empowering young woman. 

Is there any advice you would give to young Androvians looking to pursue a career in the teaching world?

My advice is to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. Stay adaptable, seek mentorship from experienced educators, engage in diverse teaching experiences, and never stop refining your craft. Maintain passion, foster community connections, and importantly treasure the chance to engage with minds of all ages, as no day is the same in education!