School stalwart moves on
One of St Luke’s College’s longest-serving teachers will be packing up her Pilbara classroom for the last time at the end of this term after 21 years of working at the school.
St Luke’s head of English and the arts and special needs co-ordinator Helen Koekemoer is preparing to move to Perth for a new start as an English teacher at Kolbe Catholic College at the beginning of 2017.
In a town where many teachers leave after a handful of years, she stands out for having served as the Karratha school’s head of English and the arts for 15 years and led its special needs department for eight.
Mrs Koekemoer said she had thoroughly enjoyed her time at St Luke’s for its high standard of pastoral care, respectful students and tight-knit staff group.
“I am, of course, sad (to leave), because I’ve invested a lot of myself in education and teaching, but also in the place.
“To me this was like a second family,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to a new challenge, a new phase of our lives. But it always will be a special part of my life.”
Mrs Koekemoer said her family had first arrived in Karratha from South Africa with a two-year plan, which blew out by another two decades after they came to enjoy its outdoors lifestyle and small community atmosphere.
She also assisted as a volunteer at the Walkington Theatre for about 15 years, before it was closed in early 2015 because of rain damage.
In a visible sign of the changes St Luke’s has undergone since Mrs Koekemoer’s arrival, the first half of the St Luke’s Margaret Goggin Performing Arts Centre was newly built when she started in 1996, but has this term finished a comprehensive $4.8 million extension and upgrade ready to open as a theatre next year. Mrs Koekemoer said she would be visiting Karratha in the future to see family as well as the new school theatre and the under-construction City of Karratha Arts and Community Precinct in use.