'It felt like home': how Quirindi won Jasmine's heart

A NSW Department of Education study tour to rural schools has already changed the life of one participant. Glenn Cullen and Kristi Pritchard-Owens report.

A woman sitting on a chair in front of a desk with a laptop on it. A woman sitting on a chair in front of a desk with a laptop on it.
Image: Jasmine Schinella made the decision to uproot from the city to relocate to the town of Quirindi.

During the last week of Term 3, Sydney-based student teacher Jasmine Schinella visited the small town of Quirindi in the state’s northwest for the first time.

As part of the NSW Department of Education’s Beyond the Line study tour - a trip that enabled 50 pre-service teachers to experience life in some of the state’s rural and regional schools - she had few expectations.

By the start of Term 4, she was teaching at Quirindi High School.

In just a few short weeks, Jasmine made the decision to uproot from the city to relocate to a town of less than 4000 people.

“It was mainly the school,” she said of what enticed her to make the move.

“The students and the staff were so welcoming. It felt like home.”

Jasmine is now putting the finishing touches on her Master of Teaching and has conditional accreditation to teach Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) at Quirindi High. She will move into a permanent role there in 2024.

Quirindi High Principal, Ian Worley, who worked with Teacher Housing to ensure Jasmine would have suitable accommodation, said he was not surprised by her decision to move.

“I think it was the fact she saw how supported she’d be in a country school,” he said.

“There’s a great life to be had on this side of the range. It’s a fantastic community and a wonderful group of kids.”

Jasmine comes to the school with experience and expertise.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Archaeology and Ancient History), she worked at Disneyworld, a women’s health centre in central Queensland, and taught English in South Korea.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about the town, spending weekends in the town, meeting new people and seeing how it goes,” she said.

The Beyond the Line Program will expand in 2024 to offer 200 pre-service teachers the opportunity to travel to regional, rural and remote NSW.

Applications for study tours commencing in March and June are currently open via the Department’s website.

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