2021 Travers Morphett Lecture

30 June 2021

Wednesday 30 June marked a special day in the history of Fahan School with the return of Commander Phillipa Hay, CSC and Bar, ADC, RAN and Class of 1992, to receive the prestigious Gerdy Jevtic Medal and deliver the 2021 Travers Morphett Lecture to senior students and members of the Fahan Community.

Then Principal, Mrs Penny Curran-Peters, presented Phillipa with the Medal, awarded to a member of the Fahan Alumni who has brought honour to our School. Phillipa spoke candidly to the girls in Years 7-12 and special guests, that included alumni, parents and her former teachers, about her learnings over the years and how the “imperfect career pathway” has led her to true success.

Mrs Curran-Peters said, “At Fahan, our Alumni hold a very special place in the heart and soul of the School and it was an honour and a privilege to present Commander Philippa Hay with the Gerdy Jevtic Medal for 2021. Her TM Lecture will be remembered as one of the most honest, heartfelt and impactful addresses in the history of the School.”

Commander Phillipa Hay graduated from Fahan in 1992. She joined the Royal Australian Navy on 25 January 1993 at HMAS Huon, Tasmania, graduating the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1995. She comes from a seafaring family, having sailed around the world at the age of ten. Phillipa is the Commanding Officer of HMAS Moreton with the Royal Australian Navy and was the first Australian woman appointed to command a task force in the 49-year history of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Phillipa shared insights on the journey to embrace all opportunities presented at Fahan and beyond, showing students that it is okay to be ‘the first’ or ‘the only one’. She encouraged our girls to always surround themselves with good supporters – families, friends and loved ones. She said, “Always take and chase opportunities; be brave and define your own success while also encouraging and supporting others in theirs. I never regret my choices - you make choices that are right at a point in time. I stand amongst giants, but I never compare myself with others.”

Head Girl, Miranda Jones, said, “Commander Hay’s presentation was incredibly inspirational and a true homage to her time at Fahan. It was a celebration of the experiences that taught her lifelong lessons and was an opportunity to pass her wisdom on to everyone in the room. Her stories of resilience which accompanied her philosophy of never quitting spoke to me in particular; meeting Phillipa was a stirring and motivational experience.” 

Year 12 student, Lilly Ansell, agreed. “Commander Hay taught me that my success is not defined by others, but by myself. It is not dependant on a timeline but the richness and experiences throughout my life.” 

Later in the program of events, the Pride of Fahan Alumni Award was presented by Fahan School Alumni Association President, Mrs Pip Cooper, to Year 12 student, Chris Anderson Black. This prestigious Award is presented annually to a student in Years 10-12, giving them the opportunity to fuel their dream in an endeavour they are passionate about, and have achieved some success in, but require extra assistance to fulfil their ambitions. Pip said, “Chris had a very clear goal in mind. She is an extremely talented artist with a goal to exhibit her works in a public exhibition. It was obvious Chris lives and breathes her endeavour, she was able to tell us what she needed the Award for, how she was going to make it happen and how she would bring her experiences back to the School. We really felt she exemplified the values of Fahan – it’s learning, spirit and community.”

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