Where are they Now? Dr Catherine Yang (1994)

Where are they Now? Dr Catherine Yang (1994)

When I first came to Pymble in Year 11, I was falling behind all my peers due to the lack of English proficiency. Coming to Australia at the age of fifteen with a non-English speaking background, I was a shy and timid teenage girl with very little confidence and a lot of fear. Growing up from a small, beautiful island, Taiwan, one of the most densely populated countries in the world and living in a small apartment among crowded buildings since I was born, everything in Australia was big and spacious. I often found myself lost on campus and felt embarrassed about forgetting people’s names. One distinguishable landmark that always gave me comfort and helped me navigate around the school was the Chapel. I really enjoyed our weekly Chapel services where I picked up learning English by singing hymns and reading the Bible. When I felt anxious or stressed, the first verse of one of my favourite hymn songs always cheered me up:

‘All Things Bright and Beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
‘Twas God that made them all’.

The integration of Christian faith and nurturing environment at Pymble truly shaped the way I think and live today. I am grateful for my first-hand experience of the personalised education that helped me achieve academic success by overcoming challenges in school. In my first year at Pymble, I failed my English exam, dropped Economics, and barely passed Chemistry. Something that I treasure about the school is our passionate and dedicated team of staff — the amazing way that they shepherd and guide the students along our learning journey with love, care, and respect for each other. If it weren’t for the words of encouragement from our then Deputy Principal (Mrs Christine Dunlop), my peers and teachers who never gave up on me, I wouldn’t have attained a TER of 99.40 in my HSC and studied Dentistry with an Alumni Scholarship at the University of Sydney.

Although I couldn’t remember all the names of those who showed me around the school, invited me to sit with them for lunch, taught me how to read the newsletters, and reminded me of important school events, I could always remember every kind gesture that built me up when I felt broken and every smiley face that lifted me up when I felt down. It is quite humbling to realise that even though sometimes it was difficult for me to comprehend fully and keep up with my schoolwork, I was allowed to stay back after class and get all my questions answered. At Pymble, I did not need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulder because I was standing on the shoulders of giants! Pymble’s strong faculty, world-class facilities, and wholehearted investment in modelling Christ’s love provide the students with a balanced education academically, extracurricularly, and spiritually.

‘All’ Ultimo Lavoro’ – Strive for the highest, is our College motto that redefines my own identity and has a great influence on me beyond the school years.

After graduating from the university with a First Prize GC Australia Research Award, I entered the workforce for my first job as a female dentist, I realised that unhealthy fear could paralyse and immobilise people from doing things we would otherwise enjoy. Hence, it is essential to develop fearless leadership that creates constructive response to challenges at work and turn fear into motivation that drives and strengthens you by embracing failure, admitting mistakes, learning from them, and growing into success. As the result, my first book, ‘STEP ON FEAR’, was published in 2020 followed by the traditional Chinese translation edition that was published in 2022. Education is the best legacy to pass on through generations. Soon after my certification as one of the first Invisalign Go dentists in Australia, I published a white paper on ‘Sustainable Smile using the Invisalign Go System with Non-invasive Treatment Approach’ and continued my journey on lecturing and training colleagues in dentistry. In 2021, I had the privilege to be back on the school grounds as a guest speaker to deliver my favourite speech on gratitude for celebrating Pymble’s 105th Foundation Day at the assembly with the students. We are so blessed to receive the education at Pymble that gives us the unique status and superpower to change the world. I am very grateful for being a Pymble girl – once a Pymble girl, always a Pymble girl!