Hannah’s journey complete: she’s home and happy and teaching at Moree Secondary College

HANNAH McLaren’s education journey has come full circle – she has joined the ranks of the Moree Secondary College teaching staff she so fondly admired as a student of the school.

Former mentors are now colleagues, past classrooms are now her office and she is determined to educate and inspire a new generation of local youth – just as she was.

“I love being able to make a difference – or I try to anyway,” Hannah laughs.

“There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing students trying their best and gaining results from their hard work.

“I love that there are so many opportunities for all students at Moree Secondary College, and that there is so much support from staff for them to achieve their potential.”

Hannah McLaren’s education journey has come full circle.

A 2008 graduate, Hannah completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science, Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from the Southern Cross University in Lismore, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Educational Studies in Mathematics.

“Until Year 11 I had no idea what I wanted to do, but the school, together with my parents, offered so much guidance as to the different options available to me,” she said.

Enjoying teaching piano to primary school students during high school sparked an interest in education, and Hannah admits that once she started her career, she knew it was the job for her.

“Teachers such as Mrs Tickle were also a huge inspiration behind my decision. Her high expectations definitely got me through my HSC,” Hannah said.

“She has set a very high teaching bar for me, and I’m excited to rise to the challenge.”

Miss Bugden was another firm favourite, even more so thanks to their shared love of netball.

“Miss Bugden was also my netball coach, and she not only taught me so many skills in this area, she also encouraged me to become more community oriented through sport,” Hannah said.

To this day, the keen sportswoman continues to contribute to netball in Moree.

“I am part of the Moree and District Netball Committee and assist in running the Saturday competition. I love coaching the girls and volunteering over the weekends,” she said.

“I also enjoy playing the sport socially and representing our town in the Regional League Netball Competition.”

Hannah returned to Moree as soon as she completed her degree, starting her career as a casual teacher at Moree Secondary College.

Working her way up into a Mathematics teaching job, Hannah is currently in her sixth year of teaching.

“I returned to Moree primarily because of family, but also because a lot of friends have returned to Moree, which says a lot in itself about our great town,” she said.

“During my Moree Secondary College years I made lifelong friends and the social aspect was definitely a highlight for me.

“I also enjoyed mixing with the other schools, such as St Philomena’s and Moree Christian School.

“Having come across from St Philomena’s for high school, there were still plenty of opportunities to socialise with old friends and new, and we all had really nice friendships across all the high schools in town.

“I was also exposed to excellent sporting opportunities and the staff always encouraged me to go on sporting trips.”

In turn, Hannah has now created the Moree Secondary College Girls Fitness Group, continuing to encourage MSC students into sport and fitness.

“Through Girls Fitness Group, we support local businesses and also promote positive health and wellbeing in our members. I also try to assist young girls improve their skills in netball both on the weekends and at school.”

In 2015 Hannah became a Year Adviser, but her biggest highlight since moving back to Moree is without a doubt her marriage to her ‘best friend’, Daniel McLaren.

The couple is excited by their future, and to start a family, here in the Moree community.

And while it may not seem that long ago that she herself was a student at the school, her advice to seniors at the school is sage.

“Don’t give up now, keep trying and keep on top of everything,” she said.

“If you are planning on going to university, talk to one of your teachers to get some advice, as it is very different to school.”

“And at the end of the day Moree will always be home, and the opportunities here are endless.”

Words and Image: Georgina Poole