BSSC Alumna, Ella Pickles (Class of 2016), has no hesitation in saying that, for her, drawing has—and continues to be—a form of survival.

“If you saw my school books from Grade 6 onwards, the margins are full of cartoons,” she said. “I have an extreme form of Dyslexia that affects my reading writing and spelling, so cartoons, video games and drawing were the things that really got me through… it was a form of escapism.”

Today, Ella returned to BSSC to share her journey from BSSC to Swinburne University (via Bendigo TAFE) and the important role BSSC NETSchool played in her academic progress.

“NETschool was the best decision ever,” she says. “I remember being so anxious the day I walked through the door, but it really helped me gain the confidence to get back into mainstream education and to where I am now.”

The PowerPoint Ella presented to several BSSC Visual Art classes today, including NETschool, is testament to her unique creativity and growing skills in animation. It even included an animated version of Ella herself, as well as examples of the work that saw her graduate from TAFE with a Diploma in Screen Media… the only student to do so in her year level.

Ella also spoke about her move from Bendigo to Melbourne, the challenges of living away from home, and the Mason Family Trust bursary of which she is a recipient.

Her message is an inspiring one

“I still suffer from severe anxiety, especially in new situations,” she said. “I hope that by sharing my experiences, other students will see there are many pathways to getting where you want to be.”

The college thanks Ella for generously giving her time to share her story.