The inspiration of Walter Valles

September 28, 2016

Walter Valles with Deputy Premier & Minister for Education, the Hon. James Merlino


Walter has been a volunteer at the Dandenong Tutoring Program over the past 5 years. He supports senior students by providing tutoring assistance, mentorship and career guidance.

According to Dandenong Tutoring Program coordinator, Maddie Grange, Walter goes above and beyond in supporting the students to not only achieve their very best at school, but also to dream and plan for the future. Walter has been instrumental in setting up many projects to inspire and support students to plan for their careers and often spends additional time developing resources. Far from dwelling on what he himself contributes, Walter sees the students as making significant contributions themselves:

“Young people have always inspired me. I find that working with the refugee and migrant students I now have, inspires me to a whole new level, and for this I am grateful.”

This year Walter started an immensely valuable process for students to discuss questions and concerns about their field of interest with tutors that have studied or worked in that particular sector. In addition, Walter is planning to run additional information sessions with year 12 students at the end of the year to support them with course preferences following the release of their ATAR results. Maddie Grange says the most important thing about Walter is that he shows a very genuine interest and care for each and every one of the students. He understands the challenges that they face as young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, and responds to them with compassion and sensitivity. To Walter, your regard for your students is the most important part of being a tutor:

“Love your students; be excited at each step they move forward, and always tell them that your success only comes through their success", he said,

Walter has had a significant impact on developing a culture at the program that prioritises the futures of the students. He has been an approachable mentor for the students; someone whom they feel comfortable asking questions and discussing their hopes for the future. Many students have gone on to pursue courses, as a result of Walter’s assistance.

Walter won the Outstanding Volunteer Tutor award at the 2016 My Education Awards. Walter and his tutor colleague Ying Qin, who won runner up in the same category, both feature in CMY’s film resources for tutors: