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Stories & News > Alumnus of the Year > 2022 Jordan Kaatzke-McDonald (Class of 2012)

2022 Jordan Kaatzke-McDonald (Class of 2012)

Jordan's journey since graduating from the College has been one of great struggle with mental health illness. Through this personal experience, Jordan developed a passion for assisting others.
Jordan Kaatzke-McDonald (Class of 2012)
Jordan Kaatzke-McDonald (Class of 2012)

Jordan Kaatze–McDonald graduated from the College in 2012. She was the Vice-Captain of Langdon House and had a leading role in the performance Sorry, Wrong Number.

Sadly, Jordan grew up in a household fuelled by domestic violence and abuse which had a profound impact on everyone in her family, and directly affected her from a very early age. Jordan genuinely loved William Clarke College as it was an escape from her home life, but struggled to feel understood as all her friends had seemingly perfect lives.

In Year 12, Jordan was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety and began self-harming. Her mood was constantly low, and she felt completely and utterly overwhelmed by the HSC. After graduating Year 12, Jordan enrolled in university to study Media. Although she started off well, her life began to crumble around her.  Jordan spent some time in ICU and voluntarily admitted herself into a psychiatric hospital in the hopes of regaining her health.

With the support of her family, and various forms of therapy, she gradually resumed working, in a part-time office job which she really enjoyed. During this phase in her life, Jordan came across an online mental health organisation who were looking for people with a lived experience of mental ill health who could be advocates in the field. Jordan applied and was successfully chosen to become a youth ambassador with ReachOut Australia.

This proved to be an incredible and life-changing opportunity which Jordan is so thankful for. It gave Jordan a purpose, one where she could  participate in and advocate for those struggling with their mental health. Through her advocacy and work in the mental health sector with ReachOut, she was selected as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Mental Health with Headspace National, where she is one of several young people working on co-designing a national initiative which aims to turn people’s lived experience with mental ill health into art.

Some other key moments of her advocacy work have included helping to launch a report into Parliament, speaking at Future Generation Global, taking part in national campaigns to fundraise for organisations, working alongside the National Mental Health commission, presenting at the Youth Health Forum National Summit, and working with the media and various online platforms to share her story with young people.

Alongside Jordan’s mental health advocacy, she completed a Diploma in Nursing followed by a graduate year at Royal North Shore Hospital. During this time, Jordan worked on a busy medical assessment unit where she witnessed first-hand every day how important your mental health is.

“To anyone out there who may be struggling, I want you to know that you are not alone, and help is out there, and to anyone who may feel lost, know that life often has a funny way of working out in ways you least expect it to,” stated Jordan while attending William Clarke College’s 2022 Presentation Day During Jordan’s speech, she reminded students (and staff) to keep in mind a quote from the infamous Professor Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame:

“Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

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