Teachers from across the Mid-North Coast, including two from Wauchope and one from Beechwood, were honoured for their dedication and commitment at the 2019 World Teachers' Day awards recently.
The awards for excellence, at Little Fish Cafe in Port Macquarie on October 25, acknowledged the work and careers of educators from preschools through universities between Kempsey in the north to Forster in the south.
Sheree Peach from Beechwood Public School said she was very humbled to be nominated and to receive the award.
"I definitely don't do it for the accolades or recognition, I do it because I love my job. I just want to be the kind of teacher that I would want my own children to have," said Mrs Peach.
"I've been teaching for 14 years and have taught all around the world and Australia. I've been at Beechwood for two years and feel like it's my second family. I am truly blessed to love what I do and love where I do it.
"What I love most about my job is being able to support children to connect, succeed, thrive and learn. We have the power to create change for the future by fostering curiosity, compassion, empathy and kindness. That sounds like a pretty bright future!"
Lyn McWhirter from Wauchope Public School was also humbled to receive the award.
" I work with an incredible team of educators every day who equally could have stood beside me. It is an incredible honour. I feel very proud of our team, our school and our staff at Wauchope Public School.
"They are all very hardworking, dedicated, supportive and inspiring professionals who care deeply about the children in their care and the job that they do," said Mrs McWhirter, who also taught at Herons Creek, Long Flat, Beechwood and Byabarra.
"My job has always been to teach where I was needed, on any grade and in any capacity. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to learn about and be involved with targeted literacy intervention.
"Essentially, this is small group reading support for children who are just 'off the boil.' It is a program that can be delivered across the whole school, wherever it is needed, and we support children, boost their confidence, celebrate their successes and spark a love of reading which will hopefully last a lifetime," added Mrs McWhirter.
Fellow Wauchope Public School teacher, Assistant Principal Anne Puchert was also incredibly honoured to be nominated for the award by her peers.
"It is a real privilege to be able to work at an awesome school with an inspiring and dedicated staff," said Mrs Puchert, who is a special education teacher from South Africa, who has also worked in New Zealand.
"I love making connections and building relationships with the students and their families and I love the fact that I have the opportunity to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of children, especially those with disabilities," she added.
Special guest CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann congratulated every awardee for the special role they play in the lives of local children.
He delighted the audience with memories of his own school days and even read out some not too glowing school reports.
"Andrew made a complete mess of his mock exam, very disappointing, Andrew failed completely to answer the question thoroughly enough," one teacher wrote.
Professor Vann remembered his school days with "terror and warm nostalgia" but paid tribute to those teachers that encouraged him during difficult times.
"All students struggle at some point and teachers are people that help us to get over that and we carry with us that encouragement and support our whole lives," he said.
"If you are a teacher it is a really important job because you make a long-term difference to how people feel about themselves."
The award winners for the Mid-North Coast were:
- Donnah Anderson, Charles Sturt University
- Philip Birch, Charles Sturt University
- Clare Chapman, Charles Sturt University
- Graeme Browne, University of Newcastle
- Natasha Kett, University of Newcastle
- Leon Ruhl Campus Leadership Team, Hastings Secondary College (Port Macquarie Campus)
- Jennifer Smith Campus Leadership Team, Hastings Secondary College (Port Macquarie Campus)
- Joanne Southon Campus Leadership Team, Hastings Secondary College (Port Macquarie Campus)
- Louise Newbound, Hastings Secondary College (Port Macquarie Campus)
- Heidi Speers Robotics Team, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Stephen Barnett Robotics Team, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Laoise De Bhaldraithe, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Andrew Dun Robotics Team, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Todd Harrison Robotics Team, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Stewart Heddles Robotics Team, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Paul King Robotics Team, Hastings Secondary College (Westport Campus)
- Nora Swain, St Joseph's Regional College
- Barry Watson, St Joseph's Regional College
- Trish Nunan, Newman Senior Technical College
- Sharon Ison, Mid North Coast Community College Nautilus Senior College
- Simone Campbell, TAFE New South Wales, Port Macquarie and Taree Campuses
- Cody Baker, Lake Cathie Public School
- Jay Pringle, Lake Cathie Public School
- Julie Osborne, Kendall Public School
- Christine Wild, North Haven Public School
- Sarah Blundell, St Joseph's Primary School
- Sarah McKinnon, St Joseph's Primary School
- Pamela Burns, St Agnes' Primary School
- Amanda Cooper, St Columba Anglican School
- Debbie Muir, St Columba Anglican School
- Jane Jaggers, Heritage Christian School
- Alison Newman, Heritage Christian School
- Michelle Hawke, Port Macquarie Adventist School
- Angela Joyce, Port Macquarie Public School
- Nicole Chilcott, Tacking Point Public School
- Kelly Jordan, Tacking Point Public School
- Trevor Thompson, Tacking Point Public School
- Carolyn McWhirter, Wauchope Public School
- Anne Puchert, Wauchope Public School
- Sheree Peach, Beechwood Public School
- Tamara Bean, Manning Valley Anglican College
- Karen Bennett, Smithtown Public School
- Brooklyn Boyle, Kempsey Adventist School
- Kirsty Gross Manning Valley, Anglican College
- Lucas Komar-Smith, Macleay Vocational College
- Melissa Lockey, Harrington Public School
- Beth McMillan St Paul's College, Kempsey
- Courtney Parkinson, Kempsey Adventist School
- Timothy Squires, Kempsey High School