High-flying twins Gavin and Fraser Pensini show benefit of School of the Air

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Bethany HiattThe West Australian
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Twins Gavin and Fraser Pensini know better than most the value of a School of the Air education.

Their primary school years were spent on a remote station near Paraburdoo, studying through Port Hedland School of the Air, before winning scholarships to Guildford Grammar School.

Fraser, 21, has completed a degree in biomedical science at the University of WA and is taking a year off studies to try out for the national under-23 rowing team before starting medical school next year.

Gavin switched from biomedical to animal science at Murdoch University and is working part-time at the institution’s biggest animal hospital, with hopes of getting into vet school this year.

Both strong supporters of the fight to save the bush schools, the twins said they were pleased that other students would be able to continue experiencing the same benefits.

They said they felt like they had been part of a school community, even though they did not physically see many of their classmates for months at a time.

The self-discipline they learnt from working through problems on their own, with help from their mother Robin, stood them in good stead at high school and university.

“When we got to boarding school, doing homework in your own time was easy for me,” Fraser said.

But having the support of a teacher who knew them and visited their home regularly was also vital.

“I remember long division was my enemy,” Fraser said.

“I got to the point where mum couldn’t go any further, she was lost, so we rang the teacher up and he spent about two hours just on the phone talking me through it. And then the next teacher visit he came out and made sure I got it.”

Gavin said studying through School of the Air meant he had spent a lot of time outside on his parents’ station, igniting his passion for working with animals.

He said one of the best parts of his education had been catching up with friends at school camps, so he hoped advocates would keep pushing for camp schools to be retained.

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