Duncraig alumni Ethan De Rosa laughs that most people would remember him as “the really tall, hairy, goofy kid” at school yet there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye. The 2013 graduate now spends his days helping others in the local community.

“My first step out of High School was studying accounting, working part-time in the disability and mental sector as a support worker and volunteering as a leader at a local youth ministry,” Ethan said.

“After my first year out of school, I became more passionate about helping people in times of trouble and helping them to live a greater life rather than crunching numbers as an accountant – I then moved onto studying community services, counselling and theology.”

Ethan now works for Rise, which assists people who may be at risk, experiencing mental health issues, people with disabilities, carers and older people. He has been there for seven years.

“My current position is a program planner where I supervise a team of 10 that carry out creative arts activities such a pottery, art, craft and woodwork,” Ethan said.

“I have the privilege to sit down with our clients and help them set and achieve creative and life goals.”

Ethan has also held key leadership roles within his youth ministry C3 Youth, which has led to him running alighting production team for conferences and camps, learning to operate concert lights and designing synchronised light shows as part of the annual Lights in The Heights event where more than 10,000 people come to enjoy each festive season.

He has also been nominated for Rise’s Anna Alderton Award twice for upholding their values.

Ethan has travelled to Indonesia to speak for youth camps and is looking forward to his first trip to Europe this year.

He lives in Joondalup with his wife who he met in Year 10 and married three years ago. When he’s not helping others, Ethan is a bit of a foodie and enjoys good food, playing video games and watching or reading anything about airplanes.

He reflected on his time at St Stephen’s fondly where teachers instilled the value of hard work.

“Learning was always hard for me especially because I was dealing with dyslexia as well as the stigma that comes with having a learning difficulty,” Ethan said.

“I believe that despite my challenges, my teachers not only educated me but also supported me and instilled values and resilience to achieve my goals and dreams.

“The greatest lesson that I learned during my time at St Stephen’s was that you don’t need to be book smart to get good grades and achieve but you can learn by how hard you work and how you apply yourself ­- the greatest tool to achieve in life is your heart, having heart to never give up and to believe in yourself even when it feels like no one else does.

“My achievements are because of the people and teachers who have invested in me, my parents and my God.”