Be the spark!

Big ideas start with a tiny spark! Read on to discover how Wesley ignited exciting futures for our extraordinary alumni.

Christopher Blyth (87-91) – Clarkson Scholarship Recipient

Chris never stops! He’s Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at UWA, Head of the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at Telethon Kids Institute and a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist at Perth Children’s Hospital. His focus is on treating children with complicated infections and prevention infection through vaccination.



What big idea started at Wesley?

My time at Wesley provided many of the foundational elements to the person I am .  That being said, I am not sure I can pinpoint one big idea that commenced during my time at Wesley, rather a series of growth steps to the person that I am today

Wesley demonstrated to me that determination, commitment, and hard work were the most important elements (at least for me) in future success. As a good student, musician and an enthusiastic yet not very talented sports person, Wesley created a culture where success could be achieved particularly for those able to (and supported to) put in the time and effort. The capacity for hard work and drive to make a difference, I learnt through my time at Wesley, is something that has shaped my life and influenced my work.

As a student, I was always fascinated by maths and science – understanding how things worked, breaking things down to their individual components, testing hypotheses and looking for solutions to scientific problems. Wesley provided the opportunities to hone this fascination, both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. This fascination pushed me into medicine which continues to fascinate me everyday. Today, it is not just understanding how the body works, why disease occurs and what treatments can be developed, but also how to pull people together around a collective problem and develop policy and programs to solve bigger problems.

Tell us about your Wesley journey?

I joined the Wesley community in Year 8 (1987), having attending my local public primary school prior than this. My older brother, Cameron, who was a year older than me, commenced the year prior. As noted by both teachers and students, we were very different – he was a natural sportsman and I was the geek.

Wesley provided many opportunities to me, whether that be in the classroom, in the Music Department (I played the piano throughout my time at Wesley and even helped out the band by picking up the bass in my final year) or on the Debating Team. In sport, I was on the river (I coxed the 1st VIII in my final two years) or the soccer pitch. In 1990, I was privileged to be asked to be School Captain, to lead a fantastic group of prefects in 1991, to mentor and guide junior students and to represent the school and interschool events.

How did receiving a scholarship make you feel?

I was incredibly honoured to receive the John Clarkson scholarship in 1990-1991. As the youngest of three in a family where finances were tight, I was incredibly relieved to receive a scholarship, something small that I could do to assist my parents with tuition fees at a time when there wasn’t a lot of spare money.

What are your fondest Wesley memories?

My fondest memories of Wesley included the Outdoor Education Program, music tours and interschool carnivals. From the camps to Gidgegannup (and the high ropes course) with Mr Sofoulis and the Outdoor Education team, the music tours to the Great Southern or the Year 10 camp to Kalbarri, it was a great opportunity to spend time with mates outside the classroom.

In the older years, I particularly remember interschool events at the old Beatty Park Pool or Perry Lakes Stadium. As a terrible swimmer and a mediocre runner, I was in the stands rather than competing. These events provided the opportunity to come together as a school community, to Ikka Baka until you were hoarse and to enjoy some healthy interschool rivalry – a feeling that I loved and remember to this day.

Your work involves helping others, what inspires you?

Through my work, I get exposed to some incredibly inspirational people. This includes many of the patients I see whose bravery and determination inspires me to work harder. My work is diverse – in the same day, I can be helping colleagues manage a critically unwell child with an uncommon infection, leading research projects or working with Departments of Health to promote and improve vaccine use.

Ultimately, this is trying to achieve the same thing – keeping kids out of hospital, at home with family, at school and doing what they enjoy. It is this goal that continues to inspire and drive me.

What advice would you like to share with current Wesley students?

I would like all students know that they can make a difference – it doesn’t matter whether this is big or small, through your actions and efforts, everyone has the capacity to change the lives of those around you – in a positive way.

I would also encourage student to explore outside of Western Australia and Australia. We are incredibly privileged to live and work in this wonderful state, and I believe you only know how wonderful this is after you have left for a while. I certainly have a greater appreciation of how privileged we are having lived interstate and overseas.

Finally, I would encourage students to work hard, use the gifts that you have been given, accept that life is a learning journey and put effort in, it will be rewarded in the long-run. But also, to take time for your family and yourself and never take yourself too seriously.

Charlie Mallard (06-10) – Indigenous Scholarship Recipient

Charlie is a proud Yamaji Nhanda, Wajarri and Noongar Yuad man and a committed Youth Worker who has devoted his working career to improving the educational outcomes of Aboriginal students. He is making a huge  difference to students’ lives through his work at Madalah.





What big idea started at Wesley?

During my time at Wesley there were many big ideas, whether it was an idea of what I wanted to create in metalwork or woodwork, on the footy oval or in the Moorditj Mob. But the biggest idea that comes to mind is from the boarding house and it was the idea of check-ins. This idea began from when I became a dorm senior in Year 11, I made it my responsibility to do one-on-one check ins with my dorm before bedtime every night. It could be a 30 second check in or a 10 minute debrief about how the young boarder was going. I always reflected on my time as a young boarder starting out and I was lucky to have my older brother in the Boarding House who would check in with me every night. I wanted to replicate that and be that big brother type that many of these young fullas did not have at Wesley.

This idea may not seem big , but for me and I hope for those younger boarders it was a big idea and an important one.

Tell us about your Wesley journey.

My Wesley journey began differently, with my start being not as a student but a visitor. I remember coming down to Perth with my family to drop off my brother Gavin to the Boarding House, meeting staff and students. Then fast forward to Term 4 2006 when I started my Wesley College journey.

It was hard at the beginning, I struggled with home sickness and building connections, I would be on the phone to mum crying almost every night. But the three biggest blessings for me were having my older brother Gavin there for a year, the Moorditj Mob meetings and our Indigenous Support staff member Ms Lynn Webber.

The meetings helped me connect and feel a bit more comfortable being at Wesley and even though I had a late start it helped me understand that I was part of something special. Lynn Webber was such an important aspect of Wesley for the Indigenous students, her support and guidance was a huge reason why I made it through to Wesley.

In my later years I had really established great friendships and connections throughout the Wesley community, I had found a passion for leadership, and I thoroughly enjoyed the sporting side of Wesley as well the Design & Technology department being one of my favourite places.

The two subjects in school that I really enjoyed which were a big surprise to me, they were English and Photography. With English I really appreciated the story telling aspect and having to do presentations was something I really enjoyed. In Photography it was being able to capture things and create a story or a feeling with a photograph, this was something that I really connected to. As I came to the end of my Wesley journey I came to realise and appreciate the importance of Wesley and all it had done for me. This appreciation all came out at my graduation, where upon receiving my certificate I gave hugs to everyone on stage and when I got back to my seat I burst into tears. A real full circle moment, I started and ended my Wesley journey with tears, they just had different meanings.

How did receiving a scholarship make you feel?

Being on scholarship made me feel connected, connected to the college, connected to fellow scholarship recipients and in my senior years that connection turned into pride. I was especially passionate about helping to support fellow scholarship recipients find their connections to the school.

I did this by being heavily involved in the Moorditj Mob where a large majority of the students were also on scholarship. This meant leading the dances, speaking at assemblies, and running educational sessions in the Junior School and at other schools in Perth. This really helped spark my passion for education around Indigenous Australia history and culture.

What are your fondest Wesley memories?

I have many fond memories at Wesley, it is almost too hard to pick a favourite. So instead, I will talk about one that stands out from the start of my Wesley journey and one that stands out towards the end.

In Year 8 I remember we had an assembly, it would have been one of my first assemblies and we had an Indigenous author come in named Boori Monty Pryor, he spoke about some of the books he had written. At the end of the assembly I met Boori and had a yarn, I was a shy kid who didn’t say much. After that assembly I went to the library and I read every Boori Monty Pryor book they had. Now looking back at it this helped me really enjoy reading and is where my love for literacy began.

Another fond memory is when I was in Year 11. I had really started to really enjoy and had was begining to enhance my photography skills after starting it in Year 10. This was recognised by my teachers and then word was passed on to the Heads of School, as the term went along Lynn Webber got me out of class and took me to the city to a camera shop, she told me that the school wanted to buy me a brand new camera as a reward for my skills an dedication to photography. This was amazing to me, and I would never have thought I’d be any good at photography let alone own a camera of my own, I will forever be grateful for that gesture.

Tell us about your life after graduating Wesley.

Life after Wesley is special, the appreciation and being grateful is something I think about quite a lot and those qualities all stem from my time at Wesley College. I have studied after school, gone into the workforce, studied some more and worked in many different roles that I hold very close to my heart. I studied a Batchelor of Youth Work at ECU where I then went on to work in the Youth Work space in many different areas such as Armadale, Gosnells and Geraldton to name a few.

I now work for MADALAH who funnily enough are a scholarship provider for Indigenous high school students to attend private schools such as Wesley College. It is full circle for me working in this space and I am blessed to be able to support young Indigenous students who’s shoes I was in all those years ago. I still have very strong connections to Wesley through my work but also through the friendships I formed at Wesley. I see and talk to my school mates quite a lot and now that we are a bit older and a lot of us have families being able to catch up and seeing our kids together is something that is very special and dear to my heart.

Your work involves helping others, what inspires you?

My biggest inspiration when it comes to my work are the students that I work with. Being able to have a small, positive impact on a young person and to help guide them to be the best person they can be is so special and is a large part of what inspires me. Supporting these students and helping them overcome issues that I once faced is so important, but I do not like to be a problem solver for these students, I find that guiding them in the right direction for them to overcome a problem themselves is so powerful. I have been lucky enough to see a few students graduate and that has been incredible, just reflecting on my graduation and how important it was for me gives me so much pride for these students and I am grateful to be able to support them in their secondary education journey.

What advice would you like to share with current Wesley students?

My advice to current Wesley students is to not hold back, seize every opportunity and don’t be left wondering. I could have been so much more at Wesley and had more of an impact, but I often would just stay back with what I was comfortable with and that is something I do regret. Also widen your search for connections and support, through being on a scholarship I was able to meet and create friendships with scholarship recipients from other PSA schools and they are now some of my closest friends. At Wesley I’d say to please enjoy your time, try your best, ask for help, build connections, and always reflect on where you come from to help you get to where you’re going.

John Linton (98-02)– Clarkson Scholarship Recipient

John is using his creative and strategic genius to raise awareness of some of the biggest challenges in our world today. In 2022, he and his business partner launched Berlin Creative, a kind ad agency. Their greatest ambition is to not only be the best in the world, but also the best FOR the world.




What big idea started at Wesley?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was at Wesley. I came from a small suburb and before coming to Wesley my world felt very small. I didn’t know much about anything outside of that suburb, and in fact hadn’t travelled overseas.

So, for me, the one big idea that started at Wesley was learning that there was a huge world out there that I could learn about and give back to.

Wesley instilled me with a sense of confidence that I could go out into the world and do whatever I wanted to do I could make a really big impact. I learnt that, yes, you are this little boy from a suburb 30 minutes outside of Perth, but you’re not limited in the effect you can have. I gained confidence at Wesley through a range of different achievements and seeing that I could be successful within our cohort, all of a sudden I realised that I shouldn’t be holding myself back.

How did receiving the scholarship make you feel?

It was a celebratory moment for not just me but my family. I can still remember the relief that yes, I’d be able to go to Wesley. I remember our family celebration in the lounge room, Mum had this tiny bottle of champagne (obviously not for me, I was 12!). We had special food – fancy cheese and chicken and leek vol-au-vents, which we would never normally eat. It was a proper celebration. My parents were proud.

I was never comfortable talking about the fact that I had a scholarship, it felt boastful bringing it up. For me it was a personal thing – I felt like hey, you belong, you’re okay here, you can do this. It gave me confidence.

Your work involves helping others, what inspires you?

I feel overwhelmed by the challenges that the world faces. So, what I really like about my job is it gives me an outlet to make some kind of tangible change or positive effect. I know that I can’t fix everything. I can’t fix global warming. I couldn’t get Australia to vote for The Voice, even though I really wanted them to. I can’t do these things all by myself but I can play a part and I can have an impact, that’s what I like.

In my early twenties, I was a more apathetic to bigger challenges. Now I feel like I might not be able to do everything, but I can do something, and I feel better about the world. I feel better about myself and know that I will be able to say to my grandkids that I tried.

What advice would you like to share with currently students?

Do as much as you can at Wesley and make the most of the opportunities put in front of you.

Some of the strongest memories I have are from the things that I did outside of the regular 8.30am to 3.30pm school experience. Like going on the German tour and travelling to New Zealand to play rugby. Those co-curricular experiences are one of the most unique things about going to a school like Wesley – there are so many different opportunities put in front of you.

They might not be the thing that you end up being passionate about or go on to do in your life, but it allows you to explore yourself and find out what you’re interested in. So go out and do as much as you possibly can without burning yourself out.

Another piece of advice for current students is to do whatever you can to understand, explore and discover parts of the world that are different to your own, so that you can develop more empathy for people. At Wesley you will gather and learn tools that will give you a lot of influence and power. Make sure you wield these in the most positive way possible. If you can develop understanding and empathy for people that aren’t like you, you’re going go out into the world and make it a better place.


How you can be the spark!

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