Macedonian-born Ana Cakovska has lived in Australia since she was a one year old. Having been involved in acting since childhood, Ana felt her true calling was a career in the performing arts.
“My favourite subjects during VCE were Literature and VET Screen Acting. …I love reading and have since I was young. Similarly, I enjoyed VET Acting because I have studied acting and performed since I was 11, and hope to continue doing so in the future.”
Ana was recognised for academic excellence in her VCE subjects, and was naturally drawn to Screen and Cultural Studies for her university major. Now at 19, Ana is studying a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Melbourne.
“I was introduced to the history of film and the theories that accompany them, and this gave them more depth and meaning for analysis. I am now on my way to giving the films I enjoy the recognition they deserve. I am all things film and performing; I watch and write about film, work in a cinema and am a sucker for theatre.”
Ana received her first Western Chances scholarship when in Year 10 in 2014 when she was nominated by the school Pathways Coordinator as a highly motivated, focused and capable student. She was awarded $750.00 for textbooks, internet, stationery and excursions. Ana was successful in having her scholarship renewed in 2015 and again in 2016 and 2017 and has received funding to pay for VET and VCA acting courses, more textbooks and a laptop.
“At school, I was involved in many leadership programs and teams, and was the College Captain for my cohort. A lot of the confidence I needed to be involved in these leadership teams, to apply for college captaincy, and to speak up, came from the many programs I have been involved in, and the opportunities that have been made possible by my Western Chances scholarship.
“I know it’s cliché to say this but the support and opportunities I have gotten from Western Chances really has changed me. My scholarship has allowed me to grow and mature into a capable person as I step out into the world.”
Receiving a Western Chances Scholarship takes the pressure off young students experiencing financial difficulties, meaning they can focus more on studying to achieve their best results. Western Chances supports young people right through their education journey and provides guidance as they them transition into from high school to tertiary education.
“I was given the opportunity to attend lectures to help with my end-of-year exams, and with them came notes, and past exams and their solutions. With the lifted pressure, I was encouraged to study and reach my full potential, which has helped me to get accepted into and begin studying at a prestigious university.
“I am also a non-resident at Ormond College, a residential college affiliated with The University of Melbourne, thanks to Western Chances. There, I have access to resources that help me with my study at university.”
Ana has realised her leadership capabilities through programs with our partner organisations such as the Trinity College’ Young Leaders Program and the Lady Somers Camp.
“I have been encouraged to dream big and to make my dreams or aspirations, no matter how big or small, a reality. It has helped me realise that nothing is, although scary, too big or unattainable; I can be involved in anything, and not be fearful that I am not good or smart enough. This has been made possible by the many programs I have been involved in through my scholarship.
“I had an amazing time at Lady Somers Camp! I did things I had never done before: I played African drums, caught rice with chopsticks, paddle-boarded, and did push-ups and star jumps on the freezing beach at 6:00 am. The most important thing that was reiterated during the week for me was that by believing in yourself while encouraging others, your group becomes your team.”
The Lady Somers Camp supports participants to develop essential capabilities for success in work and in life, such as coping under pressure, and good communication and listening skills.
“We were encouraged to applaud each other’s creative and academic achievements, no matter how small. …Also, with its no-phones rule, we had more time for each other because we weren’t distracted by our screens.”
Tying in with her passion for all things performing arts, Ana loves reading, watching and writing about film. She has made a rule for herself to read at least one book per month, “no matter how busy or stressed I am.”
“My all-time favourite book is The Reader, an English translation of Bernard Schlink’s Der Vorleser. The writing of this book and the quality of its film adaptation have aided greatly my artistic and personal development; they give a touching story of what it means to be human and to be vulnerable—what I hope to explore in my performing arts study. I also like watching a variety of films and tv shows, both Australian and international work. I was introduced to films made in many different countries and eras during my first semester of Screen Studies at university.”
With a commitment to the performing arts, developed from such a young age, Ana’s dedication to study will set her up for the career of her dreams.
“I started acting when I was about 11 years old and from then on, I have been completely in love with it. I know that it is cliché to say this, but when you know what your calling is, you know. That is what performing is for me. The dreams I hold for the future see me being involved in the performing arts; I hope to complete a degree in acting and then take my acquired knowledge with me into a career. I want to do this for a few reasons, but mostly because I am curious about people, their behaviour, and their reasons for doing. I hope, through a career of performing that I can learn to understand why we do what we do when faced with certain situations and moments in life, and become a more understanding person.”
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