Geelong Advertiser

Teachers earn a big tick

- Fr Kevin DILLON Fr Kevin Dillon, St Mary’s Parish, Geelong frkd@stmarysgee­

HERE’S a little project for you. Think for a minute or two, then write down the names of the 10 people who have had the most positive influence in the first 20 years of your life.

Don’t include footy stars, entertaine­rs or celebritie­s, unless you have actually met them. No, these should be people you have personally known, and they have known you.

Hopefully, your list will include parents, maybe other dearly loved family members, perhaps neighbours — but chances are, most lists will have the name of at least one of your teachers at school as being in your “top 10” people of influence.

No teacher in your list? That’s OK, but most likely teachers exert far more influence on the lives of individual­s, and therefore on society itself, than the individual­s or society recognises.

This past Monday, students, families, staff and supporters of Sacred Heart College gathered at Simonds Stadium — about 5000 in all — to celebrate the beginning of the new school year, and to recognise the achievemen­ts of students during 2014.

A highlight of the evening was an address by Lauren Francis, college “dux” (highest-scoring Year 12 student) in 2014, who took the opportunit­y to thank those who had influenced her most.

She acknowledg­ed her parents with gratitude: “Thank you for allowing me to use Year 12 as an excuse for an extensive list of things, ranging from why I couldn’t clean my room to why I should get the last piece of cake!”

She then recognised her teachers — one by one. It didn’t matter whether or not those in the crowd knew the teachers personally. What they heard was a heartfelt recognitio­n of the teaching profession, the men and women who year after year had educated, supported and encouraged Lauren and her fellow students through 13 years of schooling.

Among the Year 12 teachers gratefully acknowledg­ed were:

Mrs Sturm: “With biology being my first Year 12 subject, I was nervous at first, but your dedication proved I never had to worry.”

Mrs Hedley: “Besides Mrs Caruana, I’ve never met a person who could get so excited about chemistry, but that is what made the subject easy to learn.”

Madame Palmer: “Your genuine love of passing on French language and culture has encouraged me to continue French even into uni.”

Mrs Malley: “You not only turned Maths Methods into a subject we all understood, but into one where we always ended up laughing.”

Mr Schaffner: “You’ve taught me most of what I know about maths, and your enthusiasm is the reason I’ve grown to love it.”

Mrs Schaffner: “It was the hours you spent with me and the countless essays you read in the final days that allowed me to reach a standard of English I never dreamt possible.”

And Mr Pender: “A school ‘dad’ to me and more than 200 other girls.” Never could we have found a more caring, wise and encouragin­g person to guide us through our final years. You always had time to talk.

Lauren, “star pupil” of 2014, was in fact herself teaching the large assembly, regardless of age, about the unique and often under-appreciate­d role of teachers. Sure, perhaps not all teachers measure up to what we want or expect of them, but even those of us whose schooldays are some years back will remember those who helped us travel along a critical time of life.

Lauren offered a very public “thank you” to those who had been such an important part of her educationa­l journey.

But if you have a teacher on your “top 10” list (or even “top 20”) and they are still “around”, then why not contact them to tell them about the very special position they have in your life?

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia