Graduate Joshua Morris is blazing a trail from the classroom to the chambers.
Ballarat Mayor Joshua Morris always aspired to be a teacher; his greatest influence is his father who teaches at Loreto College, Ballarat. Joshua respected the art of teaching and decided in high school that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and continue in the family trade.
Joshua completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at Australian Catholic University's (ACU) Ballarat campus. He had a close affinity with it as his mother, grandmother and grandfather had all worked at the beautiful campus set in the 1880s grounds. His mother still manages the canteen, where she serves a daily hot lunch to the hordes of hungry university students and contributes to the welcoming nature of ACU.
At the tender age of 16, Joshua began his interest in public life, but a formal role in public life had to wait a few years. After graduating from ACU, he forged a successful career as a Physical Education teacher at various primary schools in regional Victoria. On his 30th birthday Joshua was elected to the Ballarat Council and 12 months later has become the youngest mayor of the city of Ballarat. This is a wonderful acknowledgement of Joshua's hard work and dedication to civic life and responsibilities.
Joshua grew up in Ballarat; he loves the city, and his decision to join the Council was to ensure that Ballarat would become an even better place to live for his own and everyone else's family.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself as mayor of Ballarat. But now that I am in the role I am honoured and humbled at the same time, and excited by the opportunities that I see before the city."
Joshua is also a family man, with three children and expecting another child in early 2014, no doubt 2014 is set to be a very busy year. The growth of the city and its infrastructure is a top priority, and his young family likes to have an input into his new job. "I often speak to my kids about what it is like to work at council, and they definitely keep me on my toes, telling me to improve playgrounds here there and everywhere around the city."
The time commitment of the mayor role is significant, so in order to give his full attention to the role, he has applied for 12 months leave from his job as a primary teacher.
"Teaching is a good profession to be able to take breaks and then come back to it and be a better teacher in the end."
"There is no doubt I will miss teaching. I didn't realise how much until I went back to work recently and saw the kids that I teach. I felt quite sad to think that I would not see those kids develop over the next 12 months."
Joshua reminisced about his time at ACU and said that he loved studying at the Ballarat campus. He was heavily involved in the student association and said that this committee involvement would stand him in good stead for being on council.
"I really enjoyed my time at university; I had amazing lecturers and due to the small size of the campus was able to build relationships with students across the whole campus. I was inspired by teachers and their passion for education."