Moree Secondary College values still very much alive for successful local export Ben Mack

A SCHOOL that gives students enough rope to be independent, the courage to bear the consequences of their decisions, and a safety net of support if necessary is how Moree Secondary College graduate Ben Mack reflects on his cherished high school years.

“Moree Secondary College is a school that encouraged us to make our own decisions on the basis that only our own mindsets would limit our future,” Ben said.

“These were the values which I still remember today.”

A 2005 graduate, Ben is currently enjoying a stellar career in Chicago, USA, where he has recently taken a position as associate vice-president of International Recruiting and Marketing at IES Abroad, an international study provider.

To this day, he credits much of his success to the ‘future-focus’ culture of Moree Secondary College, and its teachers.

Former Moree Secondary College student Ben Mack is now associate vice-president of International Recruiting and Marketing at IES Abroad in Chicago.

“Looking back, three teachers stand out – Mrs Tickle for mathematics, Miss Asher for economics, and Mrs Cayirylys as my careers advisor,” Ben said.

“These three teachers challenged me with expectations to perform at a standard above where I thought I could, and encouraged me to be persistent and disciplined and open to new opportunities.

“Mrs Tickle taught me the value of developing good habits and routines to reach success over time.

“Miss Asher taught me to be inquisitive, and understand the nature of cause-and-effect, and to dream big.

“Mrs Cayirylys was a constant support and always suggesting new ways to get involved.

“I’ll always be thankful for their contribution to my life,” Ben said.

Ben’s life thus far has revolved around seizing every opportunity, and the results speak for themselves.

With the backing of the school staff, particularly Mrs Cayirylys, Ben received a full tuition scholarship at Bond University on the Gold Coast – worth approximately $120,000.

Ben explains that this allowed him to study two bachelor degrees, a Bachelor of Commerce (Business Economics and Finance) and Bachelor of Communications (Corporate Communications) Marketing.

On Thursday, August 9, we will donate 50 cents from every drink we sell to drought relief. We have many loyal customers that are off the land, and every day we notice how much harder it is for our farmer friends to smile or share a joke. There are virtually no crops to harvest this winter and sheep and cattle are starving. As one farmer told us while buying his coffee: “There are only so many sheds you can clean.” And he didn’t smile. He wasn’t trying to be funny. Our donation might only be small but we hope it will help in some small way. Next Thursday we will pledge 50 cents from every coffee, hot chocolate, milkshake and cold drink that we sell, whether they are purchased in-house or as part of an in-town delivery. Every little bit helps and by purchasing a coffee or cold drink from Deluxe Café Moree on Thursday means you have helped a farmer – and they need all the help and support they can get at the moment.

During this time Ben, ever motivated, gained employment at the university to cover living expenses and save some money.

He often ponders whether his small school community is responsible for his appetite for opportunity.

“I was involved in a lot during my time at MSC,” Ben said.

“Moree has a great ‘students to opportunity ratio’, as it’s the only Year 11 and 12 school in town. All the opportunities are directed toward MSC and its really up to the individual students to take advantage of that.

“I was involved with Lions Youth of the Year, Toast Masters, Airforce Cadets, debating and the SRC while at school.”

This adventurous spirit continued after his degree, with Ben taking a year off in 2010 to backpack across South East Asia, the Middle East and Europe, before returning to Bond University to work on their International Marketing Team.

 His career in marketing continued at Brisbane Marketing, where this boy from the bush managed Brisbane’s international education marketing program.

His first home purchase in north Brisbane, and a further step up the career ladder managing a team as the Director of Recruitment, Marketing and Admissions for BROWNS English Language School, all followed.

Again, he believes the unique skills he developed at Moree Secondary College all contributed largely to his success, both in his career, and personally.

“Moree Secondary College was a great arena both socially and academically. The school is fortunate to have some extremely passionate and experienced teachers and school facilities.

“The student population is extremely diverse, which helped me develop soft skills including adaptability, empathy, stress tolerance and independence – traits that have helped me immensely since leaving MSC,” he said.

Words: Georgina Poole