Low school attendance leads to lifelong passion
TWO YEARS ago, a CQUniversity Careers Expo would have been the last place Alethia Jeffries, 16, expected to be.
At the time the Emu Park girl was 14 and had a virtually non-existent school attendance.
But thanks to the staff at Yeppoon State High School, Ms Jeffries was not going to be just another student who fell through the cracks.
Instead, what would come from her extensive absence would be something life-changing.
Her teachers knew action needed to be taken and sat down to talk to Alethia about possible career pathways.
They soon arranged for the Year 11 student to undertake work experience at an Emu Park vet, one day a week instead of attending classes.
From there, she said, it quickly became her dream to work alongside animals - one which she is now determined to live out.
"At the moment I'm looking to go into the vet nursing industry. I really want to be a vet," Ms Jeffries, 16, said as she walked around the careers expo at the CQUniversity's former TAFE campus on Canning St, North Rockhampton.
"I never wanted to be a vet before, not until I had work experience one day a week at the clinic instead of school."
Following an additional work placement at Rockhampton Zoo, it became clear that performing well academically was key to achieving her veterinary dream.
"I really pushed myself to attend every day of class this year, I got moved up in my math and English classes," she said.
"I even passed science for the first time ever, biology actually, and that's a big part of what I want to keep doing."
The budding wildlife warrior also hopes to one day call Sunshine Coast home, and with any luck, will work at Australia Zoo.
"They have a great conservation side and their own nursery. I really like the idea of helping animals being born," Ms Jeffries said.
Otherwise a stint overseas to work with larger animals could be on the cards.
Until then, her sights are firmly set on learning about all things animal, with her beloved kelpie cross staffy Marlie a constant source of motivation.
"I just want to do something I enjoy," she said.
"I want to keep learning new things, now I always find myself wanting to go to work (at the vet), which is a really big thing for me.
"And if I can help other people's animals, because they love them so much, that makes me feel a little bit better at the end of the day," she said.