In a Q&A series with people involved in the Ourschool program, Caroline Milburn, Ourschool’s CEO and co-founder, talks to: Ngoc Tran, Alumni Program Coordinator at Fountain Gate SC.

Ngoc you’re a former student of this school, and you’re now employed as the Alumni Program Coordinator at Fountain Gate Secondary College. Can you tell me what you’ve learned being in this role, and what are the benefits for your school and the students?

I graduated at the end of 2019. I remember hearing from alumni as a Year 12 student myself, and learning a lot about what life was like on the other side of the school gates.

What was really inspiring for me to come back into the role was that positive experience I had (with the alumni program).

It’s been great so far, having the experience of inviting all these amazing alumni back to the school, hosting events, and seeing the impact on the students, staff, and school community.

I’m so excited to see where the program continues to grow within the Fountain Gate community, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

What impact do you think it has on students to see alumni coming back to school to speak about their career pathways, and to give practical advice to students?

I think for a lot of students they tend to be a bit shy in asking for help or wondering what it’s like to be in a certain position.

When alumni come back to share it, you can see students listening attentively, and engaged, and really taking something taking something away from it.

That’s what really keeps me coming back to this role, the students are taking a lot from the alum, and the alum are actually taking a lot from the students as well.

And that connection is really powerful and so meaningful.

What benefits can you see for teachers and for those alumni coming back to school?

The teachers here have just grown support for alumni program.  It’s so lovely to have staff reach out and say, ‘I love the program. You did for this the faculty, can we replicate that and do the same thing in my class?’

Or they’ll say, ‘My students would love to talk to an engineer – can you see on your database if there’s an engineer who’s willing to come back?’

It’s so great to see that the staff are identifying the needs of their classroom, and for us to be able to help and work towards that, with the teacher and gaining their support.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. Fountain Gate Secondary College receives Ourschool’s Network service to help grow its alumni program.