School stal­wart moves on

Pilbara News - - News - Alicia Per­era

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.

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