‘The first quality that is needed is audacity.

Winston Churchill

So, there I am sitting on a bus on the way home from a victory at a dance competition and I’m bemoaning a general ennui about teaching. Around my gloom, sparkly girls are chatting explosively. The colleague sitting directly opposite, Lisa Jinga (Head of Drama) who has listened with patient exasperation says, apropos of nothing (expect perhaps to shut me up) ‘How about you try for a Churchill Fellowship?’

Shocked into thinking about something other than myself for a moment, I squeak, ‘What’s that?’

And so it started.

It takes an idea, a problem to be addressed and a general direction to get you started on a Churchill Fellowship. It takes, however, sheer audacity to see it through each of the stages.

One needs to be strong in whittling down the ideas that come. But it cannot be done alone. It takes fearlessness to constantly ask for help. Thanks to Dr Bronwyn Stuckey and Barbara Stone (Principal of MLC school) who polished the idea through numerous discussions and offered me stunning references. My gratitude goes out to the Year 7 girls who taught me the ineffectiveness of Fear Tactics in approaching Cybersafety. To the two panels – first of five and second of ten – I am thankful for your questions and interest. To Westley Field who radically changed the direction of my career and encouraged me to stoke the Fire in my belly, I say thanks. To Her Excellency, Marie Bashir, the Governor of NSW who presented us with our certificates and charming lapel pins, I bow with respect. To the gentleman on the final panel (his name escapes me) who said, ‘What set you apart was the humanity in your eyes.’ I give a surprised, ‘Oh!’

And to my partner of 17 years, Stephen Groenewegen, who will now be living without me for six weeks, I give my heart.

So. Audacity. Got that. What’s next?