Sophie Hodge screamed with excitement when she discovered she had received a scholarship to Melbourne Girls Grammar.
“I was screaming my head off at the time, thinking ‘I’m actually going to go to school and have four years of the best education and not feel like a burden on my family’,” Sophie explained.
A partial scholarship allowed Sophie, who hails from the regional Victorian town of Numurkah, the opportunity to complete her secondary education at MGGS and add another chapter to her family’s legacy at the School.
The 2020 School Vice Captain was part of the fourth generation of her family to attend the School. Her sisters Amy (2015) and Laura (2017), their mother Katharine Hodge (Creswell, 1982), grandmother Rosie Creswell (Dowling, 1956), and great grandmother Jessie Dowling (Blanch, 1919) all attended MGGS.
“The scholarship made it more accessible for my family,” Sophie said. “The scholarship allowed me to start in Year 9 and have the complete boarding experience up to Year 12, which was very good for my personal development.
“It gave me to access high-quality education at a good stage in my life. Year 9 was the best age to come in, and it was made more accessible, and socially it made it more of an easy process.
“To know I was supported by the School and knowing they have me and my family’s back, that was an exciting time.”
Similarly, a partial scholarship not only took the financial stress off Anna Roxburgh’s parents but gave her and her older sister Henni the opportunity to learn and develop independently.
Anna, who hails from Hexham in Western Victoria, joined MGGS in 2016 as a boarding student, graduating as part of the Class of 2020. Rowing and boarding were important parts of school life for Anna.
One of the main things Anna, now a Bachelor of Project Management student at RMIT, discovered about herself at Melbourne Girls Grammar is how resilient and independent she could be.
“Over my five years as a boarder, I grew so much as a person and went through so many life lessons, coming out the other side a much stronger person,” she said. “While being a boarder, I also got a much larger appreciation for life out of my little country town. Back home, I was in a bit of a bubble, very much in my comfort zone.
“Going to MGGS pushed me out of this bubble, which helped me grow up and mature into the person I am today.”
When Anna started in Year 8, she still had support from her family and the boarding house staff, but her mindset shifted to being more independent in her studies and life in general.
“Before most other girls my age, I was able to confidently make my way around Melbourne using public transport, make friends and speak to people more easily through social skills I developed in the boarding house,” she said.
“I found this led to me being very capable of looking after myself, and this has been a valuable characteristic to have, especially after leaving school and having to rely on yourself more often.”
Sophie, who joined MGGS in 2017 and graduated in 2020, said the education she received made her a more empowered person.
“I have been made to feel more empowered and to love myself and the people around me. The School gave me that, and I had more opportunities — academically and socially — because of that,” she said. “I like to think that I was very present and took on every opportunity I could. That made me a grateful and enthusiastic person who loves to live. I was empowered to do that at MGGS.”
The Monash University Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Global Studies (Cultural Competence) student never regretted taking her opportunity and encourages other regional students to take theirs.
“I would say to them if you get the opportunity to go for a scholarship or they have the opportunity to pursue an amazing education, then they have to take it,” she said.
“If they think it’s an exciting idea and feel internal excitement about a boarding school — and it is so cool if they have that mindset as it makes everything so amazing — then chase it. It lives up to the expectation, and it’s an opportunity that’s accessible. To someone who wants to live life taking chances, this is one of them as the rest of your life changes in a positive way.
“I never thought I would get my chance, and I did. You have to be in the running, and I did what I could, and a year later, I’m running around the hallways at MGGS, and it was worth everything.”
MGGS awards several scholarships including academic, boarding, music and Indigenous annually so young women can make the most of every opportunity.