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Issue 65 – Chelsea Masclet

Remembering Chelsea Masclet

In December 2020, the St Ann’s community were all deeply saddened by the passing of our College Club President, Chelsea Masclet, following a lengthy illness. Here, Chelsea’s friends and Denise von Wald share their memories of this remarkable student. We are currently planning a suitable way to honour her life within the College.

From Chelsea’s friends at St Ann’s:

Collegian Chelsea Masclet, who attended St Ann’s from 2018 to 2020, sadly passed away on December 20th, 2020 after losing her battle with cancer. Chelsea moved to St Ann’s College from Broken Hill in 2018 to study Exercise Physiology at Flinders University. She was a gifted athlete, an ambitious university student, dedicated member of the College and had the ability to brighten a room with her infectious smile.

In 2020, Chelsea was elected the President of College Club. She juggled this responsibility whilst undergoing a full-time study load at Flinders University and cancer treatments. In 2019 as the Sports Secretary, Chelsea led the College to win the Douglas-Irving Cup for the first time in 25 years (or was it 26 years, maybe say more than 25 years).. One memorable day contributing to this victory was when St Ann’s took on St Mark’s (I think they too are possessive in this instance) in our intercollegiate High Table Cub football. The match took place just a few months after Chelsea’s first surgery and many of the students exchanged worried glances as she jogged on to the field, concerned for her safety. However, those faces quickly turned to expressions of shock. Chelsea had taken down St Mark’s best player in a brutal tackle with seemingly little regard for her safety and expectations life had for her. Chelsea knew she was going to blow them out of the water, and did so with a smile on her face. We felt foolish to have underestimated her.

Chelsea was a phenomenal athlete; playing basketball, football, soccer, swimming, athletics, hockey, and netball during her time at St Ann’s. She contributed an irreplaceable spirit to every sport she played, but particularly dominated on the basketball court and football field. When asked to explain the epitome of a St Ann’s ‘Boon’, it was no surprise that Chelsea filled every aspect of the role and contributed more traits that we all aspired to attain. This was just a testament to who Chelsea already was before she walked through the College doors, ultimately allowing her to demonstrate such traits as early as swimming trials in her first year. 7:30am in the foyer, there Chelsea was, bouncing off the walls with people she had not even known a whole week. Despite it being the first sport of the year, having limited expectations, being unfamiliar with other students and University starting that morning, Chelsea was there, the smallest of the bunch and itching to get into the water. Without knowing her athletic history, she radiated confidence, commitment and a deep love for sport that brought with it an ease to the coaches.

Additionally, Chelsea never frayed from dedicating herself to sharing laughter. From the moment many of us met her, she was insistent on making us smile with her light-hearted antics. She refrained from using a filter, speaking always what filled her mind but managing to always remain kind-hearted. She insisted on dancing, whether on the slippery dance floor at the pub or on the walk home, hand in hand with anyone who passed by. She also refused to abandon the characters in her cherished DISNEY films, wearing any association to one in an infamous costume or singing her favourite lyrics at the top of her lungs. Her spirit was rare, and no one was going to tell her to dim it. Her ability to make us smile came especially easy to her one memorable night after she decided to cook two-minute noodles in the College microwave. Against her friend’s advice, Chelsea proceeded to microwave them without the addition of water. One fire alarm later and the College had been evacuated to the tennis court. Chelsea always did have the gift of bringing people together. Not only did she learn a valuable lesson that night about how NOT to cook a cup of noodles; but additionally how to escape a pricey fine. We like to think that she slowly paid this fine back by bringing her own food to College meals, and not because of her countless food ‘intolerances’ – aka pepper.

This ultimately reflected who Chelsea was. An incredible team player comes from loving and valuing her friends and family; a fierce leader derives from being taught to focus on other’s strengths; and a dedicated sports athlete originates from learning how to take every loss in her stride, overcome it, and climb back up. This was the person we loved through and through, always dedicating herself to St Ann’s.

Chelsea was dedicated, outside of her presidency, studies, and cancer fight, to her friends and family. She did so with a talent that many would envy and will forever be a huge feat to applaud. Chelsea was a huge inspiration to those around her, always optimistic, taking every ounce of good from the bad, and imparting her knowledge on the world.

It was collectively agreed that Chelsea was also one to watch with endless commitment. To say that the world would be a better place if everyone possessed just one of her traits would be an understatement. The way she spread awareness for all she had endured was nothing short of admirable. She always had so much to give but refused to take. We do not doubt that we all saw her blossom and flourish in such a prominent time of her life. We will continue to remember her resilience. Her passion. Her positivity. Her stubbornness, or as she would like to call it, her determination.

Our gratitude is stronger than our grief. Our memories are more powerful than our mourning. And we will always smile because we were a part of her incredible life.

Forever loved.”

An excerpt from Denise von Wald’s speech at Chelsea’s memorial service

I, along with so many members of the St Ann’s College family in Adelaide, feel proud and privileged to call Chelsea a friend as well as a colleague. Not only have we known Chelsea, we loved her and have been constantly inspired by her.

Chelsea’s impact on the St Ann’s community was graphically illustrated when, in 2019, she was elected to be our College Club President. In this role she, with our Senior Tutor, effectively helped run the College.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows Chelsea, she proved to be nothing short of outstanding.

As President, Chelsea never missing a meeting, a Formal Dinner or an event. Of course, we would have understood if she didn’t feel she could make it – but Chelsea never looked for an excuse or an easy way out. It was one of her trademarks.

Naturally, particularly in recent times, at St Ann’s we have talked a lot about Chelsea – and, of course, I asked students what they would like me to say about her.

The message came loud and clear – please say that we loved the fact she never changed. She was always our Chelsea putting everything she had into the College, into her studies and into leading and supporting us.

It is an absolute credit to her that she remained so dedicated to her studies and will,for the third year in a row, be awarded the St Ann’s College medal for achieving more High Distinctions and Distinctions than any other grade.

Personally, she inspired me daily with her bravery both on and off the sporting field. Indeed, she was the most courageous person I have ever known and she attacked her circumstances with the same commitment and determination that she used to win the ball in the fierce contests of inter-College basketball or football.

Any time when I’ve felt my energy flagging, I just looked at Chelsea and immediately found inspiration – her enthusiasm and genuine love of the College were so infectious. I didn’t have the opportunity to ask dear Chelsea which achievement she most valued – in part because she was always focussed on the future and what she was going to do next. But if I had to guess, I think her proudest moment at the College would have been when we won the Douglas Irving High Table Cup against all the other residential colleges in Adelaide for the first time in 25 years. It was no coincidence that Chelsea was our female Sports Secretary when we lifted the trophy. At the final event, the Athletics Carnival, throughout the day there were only two people – one of them Chelsea – who knew whether we had done well enough to win the elusive High Table Cup. As the final scores were tabulated and the results announced, Chelsea all but jumped out of her skin – and, with the Cup tightly clasped in her hands, was hoisted up on the shoulders of the other St Ann’s students and widely cheered.

It’s a moment none of us will ever forget. Indeed, Chelsea is someone none of us will ever forget.

Most people spend their entire lives trying to be half the person she was and she will remain a shining example to all of us at St Ann’s who knew and loved her. I – and the St Ann’s family – feel deeply privileged to have spent precious months and years with Chelsea. She holds an indelible and, because she lit up our lives, an incandescent place in the hearts of our community.

In the coming months, we will find a suitable way to ensure Chelsea remains a permanent member of our St Ann’s family.

What a beautiful difference a single life can make.

We love you Chelsea … and will never forget you.”

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  • Teesha Whellum

    March 14, 2021

    Brenton and I met Chelsea last year, for less than 15 minutes, when delivering Zara-Louise to St Ann’s for the first time. In that tiny, snapshot moment in time I saw and felt her warm infectious personality and genuine love for College and life.

    In that very brief encounter, as a mum, it was meeting Chelsea that cemented in my mind that we had made an excellent choice with choosing St Ann’s.

    I was really pleased to read that Chelsea will be forever honoured and remembered by St Ann’s.

    What a beautiful young woman, our deepest sympathy to all.

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