TWO people went to school together (although in different year levels), live next door to each other and graduate from the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) together.
Seems it was meant to be.
But in reality they had chosen very different paths.
For Caleb Sinclair and Stacey Ross, finishing their degrees through the same university on December 13 was pretty special.
Caleb graduated in a Bachelor of Science majoring in Maths and Physics and Stacey in a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, both potentially having jobs in the engineering corps.
Still sounding similar?
Here’s a difference, Caleb is in the army and Stacey in the air force.
Their pathways were very different too, after Caleb finished Year 12, he went to civilian university and worked for a year; Stacey went straight into the air force after finishing.
Caleb turned up in the army because he was still looking for a challenge.
‘‘It’s a lot of work, more than civilian university, because you are in military college as well,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s a lot of extra curricular things to do, so it’s always a full day.’’
Caleb started at ADFA after Stacey, so he felt lucky to have someone there he knew.
‘‘It was great to just have a chat with her if I could.’’
He has one more year of military college at Duntroon and once he is finished, will come out as Lieutenant Sinclair — Stacey is already a Flying Officer.
‘‘I’m really excited,’’ he said.
He will then be posted somewhere in Queensland.
Stacey is from a Air Force family, with her mother and father meeting in the corp.
‘‘I didn’t really decide that I wanted to be in the Air Force until year 11,’’ she said.
‘‘But for me to get into ADFA, I had to do physics, which I didn’t do in year 11.
‘‘But I was lucky because the school (Rochester Secondary College) let me go straight into the year 12 course.’’
She applied for the force while she was in year 12.
‘‘When I got in, I was so excited and so were my parents,’’ she said.
She described some days at college were big.
‘‘A typical day could go from 7am to 5.30pm with a 30 minute lunch break,’’ she said.
‘‘And that would be a mix of uni and military training.’’
When she heard Caleb was going to be at ADFA as well she was excited.
‘‘Caleb was the year above me at school, but by the time he got to ADFA he was the year below me,’’ she said.
‘‘I was excited because not only was it someone from the same small town as me, but someone I knew and just happened to be my neighbour.
‘‘And for us to graduate on the exact same day was really special.’’
Stacey still has two smaller courses to complete at the RAAF base in Wagga Wagga before being posted to Adelaide for further professional development and training.
Their advice for aspiring defence force personnel was to get involved and go for it.
‘‘It seems daunting to start with but it’s all worth it when you get it,’’ Stacey said.
‘‘In reality it is completely up to you on how you want to do it.’’
‘‘You get a lot of help along the way, which is great,’’ Caleb said.
‘‘It is one of the greatest life experiences one can have.’’