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News > Past Student News > Congratulations to the winners of the St Margaret's Past Student Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the St Margaret's Past Student Awards

The Old Girls' Association Committee and wider OGA community congratulate the outstanding winners of the 2023 St Margaret's Past Student Awards – Kate Goodfruit ('14) and Dr Susan Pendlebury ('78).

The Old Girls’ Association Committee and wider OGA community congratulate the outstanding winners of the 2023 St Margaret’s Past Student Awards – Kate Goodfruit (’14), the 2023 Young Past Student of Distinction, and Dr Susan Pendlebury (’78), the recipient of the Distinguished Past Student Award. It was wonderful to see so many generations of Old Girls and members of the wider St Margaret’s community attend the 2023 awards evening on Saturday 25th March, celebrating the incredible achievement of these phenomenal women who remain emblematic of the outstanding things Maggie’s girls achieve once leaving St Margaret’s.

With the always wonderful host, Principal Ros Curtis, accompanied by the 2022 Old Girls Prize recipient, Antoinette Earnshaw (’22), the evening was a fantastic celebration of the 2023 recipients and the two incredible careers these women have built for themselves. The Old Girls Association would also like to applaud the fantastic music provided by Mr Brad King, our Head of Performance, alongside the three students who performed for all guests. Thank you to May Xiong for the piano performance at the beginning of the evening, and Sophie Gustafsson and Ruby Reynolds Campbell for the wonderful performance of’ Life is a Leap of Faith from Strictly Ballroom, the Musical. Thank you to Mr Brad King for organising these fantastic students to exemplify the amazing talents of our current students.

The recipient of the Young Past Student of Distinction Award, Kate Goodfruit, was unable to attend the evening due to her current posting as First Secretary (Economic) at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, where she leads Australia’s economic and trade cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AEAN). However, Kate treated us to a video message from Jakarta, and her very proud parents were with us to accept the award on Kate’s behalf. Kate spoke eloquently of her experiences overseas, and her passion for advancing Australia’s overseas objectives, the geopolitical nature of said relations, and immersing herself within different cultures. She largely credits the Old Girls’ Association Overseas Study Scholarship, alongside the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Scholarship, for granting her the opportunity to study and live in Japan during her undergraduate degree, an experience that undeniably shaped Kate as a global citizen with a deep passion for international geopolitics. The work Kate is currently undertaking is incredible and is truly a touchstone for the vast and profound lives all St Margaret’s Old Girls pursue.

The 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Past Student Award was Dr Susan Pendlebury, a specialist radiation oncologist who has worked through and been instrumental to the medical understanding of and the development of cancer treatment, with a focus on rural patients marked by her 2017 departure from metropolitan practice to run the oncology department in Tamworth, New South Wales. An engaging and passionate speaker, Susan spoke of her incredible career trajectory, commencing her work at the Royal Brisbane Hospital before completing her specialist training in Sydney, leading to an impressive two-year fellowship in the United Kingdom. Upon the completion of her fellowship, Susan returned to Australia to run a specialist breast cancer practice at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for a ten-year tenure, followed by another impressive tenure, also ten years, at St Vincent’s Private Hospital as Department Director, leading the radiation oncology breast and GI tumour streams. She now focuses on the treatment of rural patients and the unique needs of these geographically isolated patients; 50 per cent of her patients live over 100km from a metropolitan centre, and 25-30 per cent identify as Indigenous. Susan spoke of the unique challenges posed by rural practice, and the importance of community-based outreach and medical accessibility for all Australians. It was incredible to hear her speak on the evolution of cancer treatment and diagnosis she herself has witnessed firsthand, and the application of her experiences to helping rural and Indigenous Australians. Her work is deeply inspiring, and her impressive career is a testament to Susan’s dedication to helping others.

The 2023 recipients best encapsulate the diverse and meaningful lives a St Margaret’s education establishes for all Old Girls to go on and experience, and the Old Girls Association would once again like to congratulate both Kate and Susan for their incredible achievements. Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 Past Students Awards and celebrated these incredible Old Girls. It is an inspiring event that continues to uphold and celebrate the fantastic work the school and wider community do in creating global citizens with philanthropic desires to go out into the world and create meaningful, lasting change.

Elizabeth Fowler (’19)

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