Home' The Southern Cross : February 2015 Contents Page 14 February 2015
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Teen cancer survivor Vittoria D’Ortenzio is
well prepared to take on Year 12 at
St Dominic’s Priory School this year
following her successful Year 11 results
while undergoing intensive chemotherapy.
The 17-year-old St Dominic’s Priory
College student last month received the
all clear from oncologists after spending
much of last year in and out of hospital
for bone cancer treatment, including 14-
hour surgery to remove a tumour.
Despite the painful side effects of
chemotherapy (hair loss, vomiting, fatigue
and mouth ulcers, and the subsequent
long absence from the classroom),
Vittoria completed Year 11 with a merit for
her Research Project. She researched the
impact of parental and peer teasing on
teen body image, interviewing 100 people
aged 15 to 18 in the process.
Vittoria was diagnosed with Ewing’s
Sarcoma in late 2013 after experiencing
lower back pain. A tumour was detected
on her pelvic bone and 12 weeks of
In February last year surgeons removed
the tumour and 22 weeks of intensive
Vittoria’s last treatment was in
September, just before her Year 11
formal and the due date for her Research
Project. Several complications throughout
treatment did not sway Vittoria form her
self-imposed September cut off dates.
In fact, she postponed a second surgery
and continued studying to the end with
an open wound. “I had a deadline,” she
The teenager’s strength and drive has
inspired her family, teachers and fellow
“We are in awe of her,” says principal
Sister Jill Havey OP. “We are all so proud
Year 12 Research Project teacher Jo
Riccio spent hours assisting Vittoria by
telephone and email and by her hospital
bed. Ms Riccio’s nephew was diagnosed
with cancer 10 years ago. “I knew what
she was going through,” she says.
Vittoria’s mother Enza is not surprised by
her daughter’s merit result.
“It is a reflection of Vittoria’s tenacity and
ability to focus,” says Mrs D’Ortenzio.
“She was determined to finish her
Research Project with her class.”
From 2015, Sacred Heart College will comprise the
Senior School and Middle School as a single entity
under the one leadership structure. The Principal,
Mr Steve Byrne, invites you to join with Mr Tim Mullin,
Head of Middle School, and Mr Daniel Lynch, Head of
Senior School, to tour the respective campuses.
Tuesday, 24th February 2015 at 9:15 am
Middle School, Percy Ave, Mitchell Park
Monday, 16th March 2015 at 9:00 am
Senior School, Brighton Rd, Somerton Park
Middle School, Karen Wilmot
T: 8276 7877
E: KWilmot@shcms.sa .edu.au
Senior School, Deborah Hearl
T: 8294 2988
A Catholic Day and Boarding School in the Marist Tradition
(Boys Years 6-9 and Coeducational Years 10 -12)
Vittoria victorious over cancer
Monday 2 March 2015
6pm to 8pm
53 Wakefield St, Adelaide SA 5000 Tel 8217 3200 email@example.com www.sac.sa.edu.au
The City School for Girls from Early Years to Year 12
A Ministry of Mercy Education Ltd
When most of her fellow Year 12 students were fast
asleep, Amy Borg was ploughing through assignments
before the lights were finally out at 2am, ready to rise
again at 5am with the first of her three small children.
The St Joseph’s Education Centre student from
Elizabeth Grove is one of 26 South Australian Year
12 students selected to receive the South Australian
Governor’s Commendation Award for outstanding
academic achievement and community service.
Amy achieved an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission
Rank) of 98.95 after completing her South Australian
Certificate of Education (SACE) over two years following
the unexpected birth of her third child in February last
Up until receiving her score in December, Amy was still
unsure whether she would rank highly enough for a
university position. “I was pretty surprised,” she says.
In January, Amy was accepted into a teaching degree at
the University of South Australia.
The 23 year old says a teaching career will not interfere
with her caring for her children Lily, 5, Lacey, 4, and
“I had really great teachers; very understanding teachers
who supported me with so much more than school work
– they were fantastic.”
Amy was 21 when she enrolled herself at the St Joseph’s
Education Centre, Enfield. The Centre has a crèche
and helps young women who are either pregnant or
parenting to gain their SACE .
Amy says she left school at 14 and was homeless for a
short time before falling pregnant with Lily at 17.
“There were times when I wanted to give up,” she says.
“But I had to just keep doing it for the kids.
“I want to have a good job so I can support them
Young mum aces Year 12
INSPIRING: St Joseph’s Education Centre student
Amy Borg with daughter Lily and son Jesse.
Photo: Rebecca DiGirolamo
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