Mother-daughter graduates

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It’s not unusual to have generations of whānau gain qualifications from WITT, but it is a novelty to see a mother and daughter sit by side and gain a qualification, then re-enrol and embark on a three-year degree together.  

Health Care Assistant and super-mum Michelle Stojanovich wanted to support her daughter Skylah (18) into tertiary education, following Skylah having extended time off secondary school to recover from an oil burn to her leg.

“Skylah received deep dermal burns to her left leg in Year 11 and underwent skin grafting, which meant she was in a lot of pain and struggled to complete her schooling,” says Michelle.

Aware of Skylah’s lifelong dream to become a nurse, Michelle enrolled at WITT to support Skylah into tertiary study and catch up on her schooling.

Michelle remembers Skylah was very vocal about becoming a nurse during her intermediate schooling.

Together they gained the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) and the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) qualifications last year and both work as healthcare assistants for Geneva Healthcare.

Studying proved to be a great distraction for Skylah, and the pair were pleasantly surprised to see how well they did describing themselves as ‘workaholics’ juggling study and work as Healthcare Assistants.

“It’s felt like a big achievement and I didn’t think I would be able to get as far as I have,” says Skylah.

Reflecting on Skylah’s achievements at school before her accident, Michelle isn’t surprised.

“She did well at school and was active in sports, Kapa Haka and leadership roles at primary school.”

Both have now been accepted into the Bachelor of Nursing programme for 2024.

Michelle said she could see a different side to Skylah begin to emerge.

“I could see a different side to Skylah and growth and pathways opening and making sense to her.”

They attributed part of this to the environment at WITT.

“Everything about WITT is welcoming and homely.”

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