EDUCATION OFFICER CATHOLIC IDENTITY & EVANGELISATION, TASMANIAN CATHOLIC EDUCATION OFFICE – School life began with the 5 km gravel road walk to St Michael’s Convent School. The Sisters of Mercy took great care of us. My teaching vocation in Catholic education began in 1986. I taught or was principal at four schools across the north and north west of Tasmania, retiring in 2016 from regional leadership. I started a new career as an education officer in 2018. It has been an incredible honour to be part of the journey of Catholic education in Australia.
DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS, CATHOLIC SCHOOLS BROKEN BAY– Over 200 years, Catholic educators have made an enormous contribution to our country and provided opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds. I am a graduate of Catholic Education – it was where I was formed; it was where I was challenged to be the best I could be academically, and it was where my faith was nourished. It is a special privilege to be leading Catholic schools in Broken Bay at this time of celebration. Catholic Schools continue to have an important role in inspiring hearts and minds, to know Christ, to love learning and to be the very best they can be. We will use this time of celebration to build on our proud legacy and unlock the great potential of the Catholic School System.
Paul and Jan Watkins
MARRIED EDUCATORS ORIGINALLY FROM THE UK – Jan and Paul have worked within the Diocese of Toowoomba and often at the same school for 40 years. “I have fond memories of when we first joined Toowoomba Catholic Schools, back then it was relatively small and like a family and our children also grew up within this family.” – Jan. “We always depended on each other as we had no family close by, we appreciated the support of our local school communities.” – Paul.
YEAR 8, St PATRICK’S COLLEGE, LAUNCESTON TASMANIA – Catholic education has impacted my life in many positive ways. The things I have learned, and the experiences I have learned from, have allowed me to become a kind and compassionate human, develop my own understanding of Catholicism, and expand my overall cultural understanding of the world. I hope students continue to be exposed to the fact that the basis of almost all religions is being a good person and doing good for others, and that they should strive to do this their whole life.
ALUMNI, ST XAVIER’S SCHOOL GUNNEDAH, DIOCESE OF ARMIDALE – My Catholic education meant the world to me and I am so grateful for the grace and wisdom of the Mercy nuns. My grandchildren are fifth generation students at St Xavier’s School in Gunnedah and the love, kindness and forgiveness that is taught is reflected in their Catholic Education. As a family, we are truly blessed by Catholic education. My hope is for the teachings of Jesus to never be abandoned and for our children to enjoy a broad education with the love of God shining through.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC EDUCATION ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA & GOULBURN – One of the most humbling experiences in my life happened when I was enjoying the fare at a local food outlet. Just before I placed my order, I saw one of the chefs lean over and whisper in the ear of the young guy at the till. As I went to pay for my dinner, I was told that it was on the house, the chef was covering the cost of the meal. Once I was told his name I recognised who he was. Now in his late teens he had only been at the school where I had been Principal for Years 7/8. He smiled broadly and said this was a way of saying thanks for the kindness I had shown to him. I firmly believe that my disposition to show kindness to others comes from the kindness and care that I have experienced in Catholic Education.
Brother Nicholas Harsas fsp OAM
PRINICIPAL, HOLY SPIRIT CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL CARNES HILL, ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY – I have been immersed in Catholic education for a quarter of a century! The impact of faith-filled and committed Catholic school teachers inspired my vocation as a Patrician Brother and a fulfilling and rewarding teaching ministry in Catholic education. As the last remaining Religious Principal in Sydney Catholic Schools I feel privileged and inspired to be part of the current generation of school leaders and staff who are as committed to the mission of Catholic education as those of the past.
YEAR 3 TEACHER, ROSARY PARK CATHOLIC SCHOOL BRANXTON, DIOCESE OF MAITLAND-NEWCASTLE – As a former student and now teacher in the Catholic system, I hope my students can reflect and build on their experience in a Catholic school as I have done. Throughout our schooling we are challenged and supported to reach our full potential, not only academically, but also as compassionate, informed, tolerant, and just members of society. As a Catholic educator, I am blessed with being able to build a greater connection with my students based on shared faith.
YEAR 12 (2020), ST MARGARET MARY’S COLLEGE, HYDE PARK TOWNSVILLE –
Catholic education is one of the richest forms of education because not only does it provide you with the skills required to pursue further study or work but it also provides a platform to develop faith, compassion which go beyond the teachings of a textbook. Catholic education has had a major impact on my life by allowing me to develop a sense of social justice, compassion for others and to deepen my faith.
TEACHER, ST BERNARD’S PRIMARY, BATEMANS BAY – Teaching in a Catholic School for 15 years has allowed me to develop teaching as a vocation, not only a profession. My role in the Canberra Goulburn Catholic Education community has encouraged me to remain anchored in my faith, and to be the ‘heart, voice and hands of Christ’ in everything I do each day, making a difference in a child’s life and in their learning.
PRINCIPAL EDUCATION OFFICER RE & FAITH FORMATION, CATHOLIC EDUCATION ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA & GOULBURN – I have had the enormous blessing of being emersed in the world of Catholic Education for almost 60 years. My primary education was conducted by the Sisters of Mercy and secondary school was influenced by the Christian Brothers. They taught me the notion of building community and selfless service that drew me into the vocation of teaching. We must never lose sight of the fact that the Mission of Catholic Education is part of the Mission of the Church.
ALUMNI, ST SIMON THE APOSTLE PRIMARY ROWVILLE & AVILA COLLEGE MOUNT WAVERLY – Having the opportunity to strengthen my faith through some of the most important developmental years of my life was an absolute blessing. The main element of my Catholic education that absolutely shaped the person I am today, is that sense of community that came with having that shared belief and faith.
CHAIR, NATIONAL CATHOLIC EDUCATION COMMISSION – It’s a remarkable achievement that Catholic education has successfully responded to meet the needs of Australia’s changing population, and economic and social circumstances over 200 years. As we celebrate this significant milestone, it’s timely to take stock of all that has been achieved and to look ahead to identify how we can better deliver an excellent standard of Catholic schooling for generations of young people to come.
EARLY CAREER TEACHER & INNOVATION LEAD TEACHER EPPING, CATHOLIC SCHOOLS DIOCESE BROKEN BAY – As an Early Career Teacher entering the Catholic Education System, I have many hopes for our future generations to come. I hope Catholic Education continues to foster Catholic values through biblical and real-life examples of the Catholic tradition, mission and faith, in all our schools. I hope educators nurture and strengthen children’s sense of identity and agency in all their learning endeavours to help navigate the unknown technological world with courage, using Jesus’ example and teachings.
NATIONAL CATHOLIC EDUCATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Catholic schools have served Australian families for over 200 years. As we build on the rich legacy of those that came before us, we have faith in the future of Catholic education and our shared mission to both educate and enliven the faith lives of future generations of children and young people.
TEACHER, MACKILLOP CATHOLIC COLLEGE WARNERVALE, DIOCESE OF BROKEN BAY– Erin was certified as Highly Accomplished Lead Teacher in 2020. “When I decided to become a teacher, I selected Australian Catholic University because of the positive experiences I had in Catholic Schools as a student. I found the entire process of gaining the accreditation to be so valuable in how it required me to examine what I do as a teacher and reflect on my impact.”
ALUMNI, PADUA COLLEGE MORINGTON, ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE – My Catholic education gave me a real sense of what social justice means in the context that we live in today. There was opportunity to participate in faith and Catholic ethos in different ways. Being able to participate in a lot of activities, fundraisers and initiatives both in Australia and overseas, gave me the opportunity to explore my own passions through an educational context.
Sr Jillian Havey OP AM
PRINCIPAL OF ST DOMINIC’S PRIORY COLLEGE, NORTH ADELAIDE SA –
As far as I can see there is no greater calling than that of the teacher. Teaching is a sacred act and a demanding one. I think all Catholic schools do a great job of teaching most offer an experience that helps people to be true to themselves and to give back to the community and that is very important, to make the most of their gifts.
STUDENT, MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS SAWTELL, TOORMINA DIOCESE OF LISMORE NSW – I love being in a Catholic school. One of my favourite parts of the day is when we pray together in class. Our teacher leads us and today we reflect. I like to think that Jesus is walking with me every step of the way.
TEACHER, ST CLARE OF ASSISI PRIMARY SCHOOL CONDER, ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA & GOULBURN – I have been lucky enough to have experienced four first days in Catholic schools in Canberra, as a primary school student, high school student, university student and finally a primary school teacher. I am the person I am today because of my experiences learning and teaching in Catholic education. My hope is that I can continue to carry the flame for Catholic education and support the students I teach to lead their best life.
PRINICIPAL, ST JOSEPH’S PARISH SCHOOL HILLSTON WILCANNIA FORBES DIOCESE – Bev Hayes has been associated with Catholic education for most of her life. Bev previously worked at St Joseph’s Catholic College Katherine in the NT and she is currently principal at St Joseph’s Parish School Hillston in western NSW. “Catholic education allows every individual the opportunity to know what it is to be unique. It provides a place to grow, not only academically, but to experience what it is to be loved and graced.”
EARLY CAREER TEACHER, ST JOSEPH’S HIGH SCHOOL, ABERDEEN – I cherish the opportunity to work as a teacher in Catholic education, a vocation that has provided the rewarding opportunity to change the lives of young people in a meaningful way. It is my belief that the Gospel values taught in Catholic education shape students with the character to lead positive and fulfilling lives.
MIDDLE SCHOOL HUMANITIES COORDINATOR ST FRANCIS XAVIER COLLEGE FLOREY, ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA & GOULBURN – I’ve spent most of my life involved in the community that is Catholic Education. A sense of love, connection and community was a powerful part of my upbringing and I truly believe that it is this relational focus and pastoral care that is at the centre of what we do in Catholic schools and why I have always wanted to teach in a Catholic school.
TEACHER, OUR GOOD COUNCEL CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, FORESTVILLE DIOCESE BROKEN BAY – Stefanie was certified as Highly Accomplished Lead Teacher in 2020. “As a teacher and leader within the Catholic school system, my hopes for the future of Catholic education is that our communities witness and are provided with rich learning experiences about the life of Christ, the impact of his teachings and connections to our future world, bringing life to His Word and mission.”
ST MICHAEL’S PRIMARY NOWRA, WOLLONGONG DIOCESE – Dylan’s Catholic education had such an impact on him that he’s now back at his old primary school as a teacher, sharing a class with his Year 5 teacher Maree Hamilton who inspired his love for education. “Maree taught me to see the child before the student. As teachers we can have a big influence on our students. Our job is to live like Jesus – to love everyone.”
PRINICIPAL, DOMINIC COLLEGE GLENORCHY, TASMANIA – Every day I see children and young people in our school shaped by our Catholic values
just as I was shaped by the Sisters of Mercy, Dominican Sisters and the Marist Brothers. As Catholic Education celebrates 200 years, Dominic College is marking 75 years of outstanding education by the Salesians of Don Bosco here in Hobart. They began with 26 students and now educate over 1,000 students in the College. A rich story of humble service.