Over three hundred gathered in Campbelltown last night for CEDoW's inaugural Lighting the Way Faith & Learning Awards - a fantastic evening of celebration, affirmation and acknowledgement of the significant contributions of our staff in schools and across Catholic education in the Diocese of Wollongong.
Part of realising our Diocesan mission 'to create vibrant Catholic school communities where every student finds meaning and purpose in their life through experiencing continual growth in faith and improvement in learning' is the growth and affirmation of the people in our schools and education offices.
This Awards & Recognition Program presents a fresh and meaningful approach to the way the outstanding achievements and career milestones of our committed and dedicated staff are recognised.
Director of Schools, Peter Turner addressed the gathering about the purpose of these awards, saying in his experience, our teachers were rarely comfortable or accustomed to giving themselves positive commentary or praise.
"While something of a generalisation, I think that teachers are the ultimate pragmatists. Ask a teacher how things are going and inevitably they will speak about some project or activity they are working on; an issue they are trying to improve or solve; that they are searching for a better outcome to a problem, looking for a different way forward...perhaps to achieve that long awaited breakthrough with that one particular student they are supporting, seeking to assist them to learn a new concept or help them experience a degree of success at school," he said.
"In the busyness of the school day, acknowledgement can take a back seat to the daily reality and necessary focus on ‘what’s next on the to do list?’. However it is critical that excellent achievement be appropriately lauded and acclaimed.
"Part of realising our mission to create vibrant Catholic school communities where every student finds meaning and purpose in their life through experiencing continual growth in faith and improvement in learning, is the affirmation and recognition of the people in our schools and education offices."
Outstanding Achievement Awards
The Awards for Outstanding Achievement are below. Click on each award to see the award recipients on the night.
Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award
The Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award is for a teacher of 1-5 years graduate experience who has demonstrated an excellent standard of classroom practice that has resulted in evidenced growth in faith and learning for students over the previous 12 month period:
Outstanding Early Career Teacher - Primary:
Siobhan Rooney, Stella Maris Catholic Parish Primary School, Shellharbour
Outstanding Early Career Teacher - Secondary:
Zachary Ellul, St Joseph's Catholic High School, Albion Park
Read about Siobhan and Zachary's outstanding efforts here.
Click here more information on the Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award.
Professional Practice Awards
The Professional Practice Awards acknowledge the outstanding achievement and efforts of individual staff who, in the course of their work and study, have been exemplary in a particular area of educational endeavour:
Leading Catholic Life, Education and Mission:
Colleen Easton, St Paul's Catholic Parish Primary School, Albion Park
Leading Teaching and Learning:
Judith Tolomeo, Mount Carmel Catholic College, Varroville
Developing Self and Others:
Brother Bill Tarrant, Spiritual Director & Facilitator, Catholic Education Office
Leading Improvement, Innovation and Change:
Cindy Williams, St John the Evangelist Catholic High School, Nowra
Engaging and Working with the Community:
Rebecca Coll, Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow
Read about our five recipients' outstanding achievements here.
Click here more information on the Professional Practice Awards.
Lighting the Way Award
The most prestigious award of the night, the Lighting The Way Award is given to the most meritorious of all the Professional Practices Award applications received, that demonstrates an outstanding contribution to the growth in faith and improvement in learning of students of the Diocese.
The 2017 Lighting the Way Award:
COLLEEN EASTON, Principal of St Paul's Catholic Parish Primary School, Albion Park.
Read about Colleen's outstanding contribution here.
Click here more information on the Professional Practice Awards and the Lighting the Way Award.
Peter Turner also awarded a special Distinguished Achievement Recognition Award to Dr Brian Croke - an exceptional acknowledgement, awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the overarching mission of Catholic education in the Diocese. As the Executive Director of the former Catholic Education Commission NSW, Mr Croke was commended for his excellent leadership and expertise during his lifelong career in education.
Length of Service Recognition Awards
The night was also an opportunity to celebrate and thank staff who have dedicated a significant amount of time in service of Catholic education in the Diocese of Wollongong, with the Length of Service Recognition Awards for those with 25 years of service and over.
"These awards are a fitting way to recognise those involved in reaching significant career milestones and those who have provided outstanding leadership and dedicated service in our Catholic schools. This is symbolic of our commitment to authentic and continuous improvement in our schools," Peter Turner said.
The good news stories that define our Catholic schools
The evening demonstrated just some of the good news stories that define our Catholic schools. Mr Turner congratulated and personally thanked all those who had taken the time and effort to nominate individuals for their achievements and service, and thanked the many people involved in the extensive planning and organisation of this special event.
"I acknowledge all of our staff in our schools and in the Catholic Education Office for their untiring work and achievements in the interests of the young people whom we are privileged to care for and serve," he said.
"I commend all of the nominees and award winners and congratulate them as most worthy recipients of this prestigious honour and recognition.
"Well done and thank you!"
View more information on CEDoW's Awards and Recognition Program here.