Claire Wilson (class of 1999)

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The former Claire Aperloo, now Claire Wilson, is another delightful St Mary’s College alumna who has made the College her teaching home.

After attending a small inner-city state school for her primary years, Claire started St Mary’s in Year 7 in 1994. Although overwhelmed at first by the number of students, she soon settled in and began to enjoy her introduction to life in the Senior School.

That enjoyment was to continue for the next six years, in an education which Claire in retrospect acknowledges has had a ripple effect on her life. In her words:

The high calibre of educators teaching at the College as I went through (and, of course, this is still the case!) meant I had many positive role models continuously for six years. I always felt listened to and cared for. It was a very supportive environment for me as a student. A particular mention I feel I need to make is Mrs Anne Stanfield. Anne was Deputy Principal and Acting Principal during my time and she was always accessible, having that remarkable balance of kindness and empathy, combined with a strong sense of fairness and equity. I feel lucky that in Year 12 we had so many opportunities to work with her; we felt like young adults and she respected us and we respected her.

In fact, Years 11 and 12 stand out in Claire’s memory as the highlight of her St Mary’s experience. The College encouraged the students at that level to be independent thinkers, to be more accountable for themselves and to enjoy the extra freedoms which the senior secondary part of the school afford them. The students all looked out for each other and worked well as a team.

Claire was always an active member of Vinnies and its activities, while her dedicated membership of the choir opened up many opportunities for her to perform widely both in the school and beyond.

Attending Masses, singing at funerals and on other occasions as part of the choir gave me an appreciation of life outside the College. Being a teenager, you don’t always see what is in front of you, but participating in extra-curricular activities through the College encouraged me to appreciate others. SMC helped me to be prayerful and meditative…Catholicism is multi-faceted and embraces Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I felt like I belonged to a community from the moment I walked through the gate at St Mary’s.

Claire belonged to Presentation House, and she and her peers referred to their House colour as gold rather than yellow, as gold sounds like a more winning colour!

In Year 11 the accomplished Claire was a Prefect and in Year 12, she was elected Deputy Head Prefect. She served with distinction in both roles.

Claire recalls the Presentation Sisters with great fondness. When she was in Year 7, the late Sister Ona Kaukenas was Principal of the College, and sadly, the last Sister in that leadership role. Claire also remembers Sisters Barbara and Joseph as being very much part of the fabric of the College and being treated with great respect as they went about their roles.

Claire still loves the tradition that is at the core of St Mary’s College, the rituals, big and small, which make our school unique and memorable.

As an all-girls school, the College presented her with a different dynamic, but she feels that she experienced an holistic education.

After completion of Year 12 at St Mary’s, Claire progressed to UTAS, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts degree, as well as her teaching qualifications, totalling five years of study. She thoroughly enjoyed UTAS, at which time all teaching and learning was face-to-face, which meant full interaction with lecturers, tutors and other students. Claire applied for a teaching position at St Mary’s College in 2005, her first year after graduation, and was given a Year 4 class. Since then, she has been mostly based in the early years, although this year she is teaching Year 3, which she thoroughly enjoys, while at the same time missing her younger charges.

In 2010 Claire married the love of her life, Andrew Wilson and together they have a young daughter, Maggie-May.

Margaret Rootes
Heritage Officer

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