Two students, a staff and a parent from one school have been recognised for leading with excellence in public education across the state.
Year 12 students Abu Kebe and Sarah Grace Zia, technology teacher Scott Trenaman and parent Donalee Gregory have been acknowledged for their roles in shaping today’s education in the Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards.
Wagga High School’s assistant principal Tania Maddison, said while Riverina ranked high in awards for excellence and service, it was quite “unusual” for four to be awarded from one school.
“From about 80,000 students undertaking HSC, two of our students have placed in the state’s top 25,” she said.
The awards recognised those who have made major contributions as role models to their peers, their schools and school communities.
School captain Sarah Grace Zia was recognised for her leadership skills, involving herself in the SRC, the United Nations Youth Program and leading a bullying awareness video.
“It’s really humbling and almost honourable to receive this award, because the people at the head of education have seen what we’ve done and acknowledging our hard work,” she said.
Abu Kebe has consistently strived for excellence both as a student and a performer, since his arrival in Australia in 2013 from Sierra Leone. He is a positive role model for approximately 100 students of a refugee background at the high school.
“We don’t strive for excellence because of the awards, we do this because we love participating in the school and the community,” he said.
The school nominated their head of engineering and technology teacher Mr Trenaman, for his role both within the school and out.
“It’s all about making sure we’re teaching the students to be nimble and able to react very quickly,” Mr Trenaman said.
“We understand that in the next five years there will be a shortage of 20,000 engineers, so we want to make sure our students are well prepared, to develop tomorrow’s innovators.”
Parent of the Year award went to Donalee Gregory for the number of hours she has spent designing and creating costumes for students in the performing arts.
The secretary of the Department of Education, Mark Scott, said the range of achievement within public schools reflected in the awards was a source of great optimism for the future of the system.
“Whether it is students’ academic excellence preparing them for jobs of the future, teachers’ innovation in guiding and supporting them, support staff or whole-school and community efforts helping our schools be their very best – everyone is helping to lay solid foundations for our future society,” Mr Scott said.