Bright prospects for Rubie and her graduate family


Jackson, Rubie and Debbie

USC’s week of graduation ceremonies from 6 April will be a quadruple celebration for new Maroochydore State High School teacher and double USC graduate Rubie Orman.

She and three family members will graduate with USC degrees between 6-10 April, watched in the USC Stadium by audiences including Rubie’s baby daughter Averie and Averie’s great-grandparents.

Rubie, 23, will walk across the stage for her Master of Teaching (Secondary). Her fiancé Jackson Ditchfield, 24, will graduate with a Bachelor of Laws and her mother Debbie Orman, 51, will receive a Bachelor of Health and Community Care Management.

In addition, sister-in-law Samantha Oldham, Jackson’s sibling, will gain her Arts degree.

“We are all super excited,” said Rubie, a new mum living at Mount Coolum and working at the same school where she was school captain as a Year 12 student in 2014.

While COVID-19 restrictions interrupted Rubie’s class time with students this week, the 2019 USC Science graduate enjoyed her first term teaching Science and HPE (Health and Physical Education).

“On the first day of term, it was pretty daunting,” she said. “I was like, ‘where is the teacher?’. But the teacher was me! Now I’m into the groove of things – and I don’t have to worry about finding my way around the grounds.”

She said it was satisfying to secure the one-year contract while still studying last year.

“I finished my last assignment two weeks before Averie was born, and when I started the job this year, she was only two months old,” said Rubie, who is also looking forward to her wedding ceremony with Jackson at Twin Waters in the school holidays.

Jackson, who initially studied Mechanical Engineering because he liked tinkering with cars and his dad was a mechanic, said he was stoked to be graduating with a Law degree.

“I’m now doing my legal training to become a practising lawyer, while also working in hospitality,” he said. “Ultimately I’d like to complete a PhD in environmental law.”

Rubie’s mother Debbie, who actually graduated in 2020 but was unable to attend a ceremony last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, can’t wait to participate in person.

She is among hundreds of 2020 graduates who have jumped at the chance to participate in this round of graduation ceremonies at the USC Stadium.

“I’m the first in my own family to have completed tertiary education and I can’t wait to show my parents our achievements,” said Debbie, who gained a USC Associate Degree in Business before her healthcare degree.

She works at Suncare Community Services, which provides in-home care services across Queensland. Her role is Volunteer Team Leader, coordinating more than 200 volunteers.

“Starting out as a stay-at-home mother, going to university was a dream that I didn’t think was possible,” Debbie said.

“Without the support and flexibility of USC staff, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to juggle study with being a mum, wife and now professional. I can’t wait to commence my Graduate Certificate in Aged Care soon.”

Rubie said, “We’ve all benefited from the luxury of staying on the Coast to study at university. USC has given us the opportunity to find a balance between study, work and family life.”

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