Krystal clear about scholarship impact
In 2014, Krystal Flynn received a Griffith Futures Scholarship to help her through the final year of her education degree.
However, Krystal says the scholarship did much more: “It gave me the future.”
Krystal’s journey from financially struggling student to award-winning teacher is an inspiring demonstration of the importance and impact of the Griffith Futures Scholarships.
“It was so tough at the time. I was away from home, working 25 hours a week to pay the bills, and trying to study. I wondered how I was ever going to get through,” she recalls.
“The Griffith Futures Scholarship took away that financial anxiety. It allowed me to breathe.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Education (Primary), Krystal launched her teaching career at Tagai State College on Saibai Island, one of Queensland’s most remote communities situated just four kilometres from Papua New Guinea and 150 kilometres north of Cape York.
Krystal has thrived at Kadhego Ngurpay Lag (Saibai Island Campus) campus, as have her students. So much so that in 2016 Krystal received the Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award from the Queensland College of Teachers.
Originally from Rockhampton and the eldest of three sisters raised by their single Japanese mother, when Krystal was growing up the family lived in both Queensland and Japan.
“I can’t imagine my life without that Japanese influence,” says Krystal. “It was part of the reason I chose teaching as a career.”
In 2010, Krystal was working in a café in the Japanese prefecture of Gifu when she began holding English conversation classes after hours for some of the locals.
As her “classroom” expanded to include adults and children, so too did it become clear that Krystal had an aptitude for education.
Her interest in languages took another turn on Saibai, where Krystal’s analysis of Yumplatok – the Torres Strait Islander Creole –informed her classroom teaching and led her to a Masters in Applied Linguistics that should be completed next year.
Krystal says the Saibai experience has been life-changing and life-affirming.
“There have been challenges. It is very isolated, with just a local store, the school, a health centre and a church,” she says.
“But I can’t imagine what my life would be without this experience. The people are wonderful, especially the children, and no matter where I go in life I will be forever grateful for my time in Saibai and all it has taught me as a person and as a teacher.”
Krystal’s gratitude extends to again acknowledge the support she received via her Griffith Futures Scholarship back in 2014.
“I believe I was meant to teach and I love doing it to the best of my ability. The scholarship gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do and be what I wanted to be.
“To all those whose support makes these scholarships possible, I cannot thank you enough.”
And now she is one of those supporters. In 2016, Krystal donated to the Annual Appeal.
“I liked going from receiving to giving. I know how this scholarship changes lives,” says Krystal.
“I believe education is the best way to improve a person’s life chances. That’s really why I became a teacher.”