Ryan Catholic College Townsville

Defence Mentors

At Ryan Catholic College students have access to two Defence School Mentors to meet the needs of students from Prep to Year 12.

It is well recognized that the mobile lifestyle associated with employment in the Australian Defence Force can present changes and challenges for the serving members' families. This is particularly so for students who move schools - often interstate. This does not have to be a negative experience and with the assistance of Defence School Mentor these changes can be a lot smoother.


Defence School Mentors work together with other College staff including Administration Staff, Teachers, Teacher Aides and the Guidance Counsellors. They respond to student concerns on an individual basis and find solutions for each student as required, being mindful of their age and situation.

This might include:

  • Being a supportive point of contact for the Parents/Carers of the student
  • Writing letters, emails and creating craft items for the absent Parent/Carer
  • Working with a student on a peronal basis to provide fun activities as a form of diversion from their concerns
  • Assisting with applications for Educational Allowances to provide academic support to ADF students
  • Planning farewell events for students posting out
  • Linking students to activities and programs offered both within the College and the wider community
  • Referral to other services where appropriate
  • Regular activities like pizza parties, board games, craft and activity sessions to help build networks between the ADF students and their friends
  • Special projects from time to time
  • Assistance with the DP Builder if required to provide a digital profile for the College at their next posting
  • Developing programs in cooperation with other DSM's to provide opportunities for group learning. E.g. "On the Road Again...." (workshop for adolescents posting out); "The Rollercoaster of Deployment" (workshop for adolescents facing deployment of serving Parent/Carer)
  • Anything else that might meet the needs of the student and/or their family

Please feel free to contact the Defence School Mentors if you require further information:

Nikki Blackwell
Prep - Year 12 Defence School Mentor
Email nblackwell@ryan.catholic.edu.au

Jacklin Weston
Year 5 - Year 12 Defence School Mentor
Email jweston@ryan.catholic.edu.au