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Mia Eliseo has received a Governor of South Australia Commendation for excellence in the 2023 Stage 2 SACE.

Mia, a House Captain of the College in 2023, has excelled in her studies, demonstrated by her outstanding academic achievements during her time at school. Over a number of years at the College’s annual Speech Day, Mia was awarded school merits in a range of subjects. In 2022, whilst a Year 11 student, Mia completed Stage 2 Religious Education - Integrated Learning achieving an A+ Merit. This year, Mia achieved merits in Activating Identities and Futures and Ancient Studies.

Eliseo Mia

In addition to her academic success, Mia has been highly instrumental in raising awareness about cancer within the Saint Ignatius’ College community as well as the wider local community.

Mia was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017 when she was in Year 7. After her diagnosis, and during her treatment and recovery, Mia become an advocate for the Childhood Cancer Association and Variety Children’s Charity. Through her involvement with these groups, she spoke frequently at school assemblies. Mia also worked closely with another student whose mother had been diagnosed with cancer and together they developed successful College events. Her self-direction and excellent organisational skills were evident in the many, and varied, activities she organised to raise awareness about cancer.

In 2021, Mia (while in Year 10) developed the idea of a fundraiser and hair donation event at the College in support of the Childhood Cancer Association (CAA) and Variety Children’s Charity, organisations which are near and dear to her heart. She created ‘Hair with Heart’ an event where students could donate their ponytails to Variety Children’s Charity, shave their heads, or colour their hair and raise funds for both organisations along the way. Mia organised the sale of CCA and Canteen merchandise and arranged a casual clothes day with all funds being distributed to these charities.

Since then, the event has grown to include a “commUNITY walk’ on the morning before the event to enable a broader range of students, staff and families to get involved. Since 2021, Mia has led these events annually and has raised over $10,000, donated nearly 50 ponytails, and significantly increased the awareness of our community about the work of CCA and Variety.

With this event Mia has turned an idea into reality and brought a wide range of students and staff together in support of an important cause. She has shown exceptional courage by sharing her own personal cancer story and experiences on several occasions. In 2022, in recognition of her work with fundraising and awareness raising, Mia received an Order of Australia Student Citizenship Award.

Mia’s experience with cancer was also the stimulus for her Activating Identities and Futures (AIF) project. As she had gained first-hand knowledge of how fertility might be impacted by chemotherapy, her topic of investigation in her AIF study was an exploration of the impacts of chemotherapy on female’s fertility (in particular, adolescent females). In Semester One this year, Mia completed Activating Identities and Futures, achieving an A+ (14.9/15).

We congratulate Mia on this wonderful achievement. Mia is an excellent example of a student who has embodied the values of an Ignatian education.