St Joseph’s Primary School principal Cherie Yates is still on cloud nine but can now breathe a sigh of relief after her nominees in the biannual Spirit of Catholic Education Awards have finally been presented with their awards.
Mrs Yates was notified some weeks ago that her Year 3 teacher Melissa Ware would receive the early career teacher prize, while Tracey Butler was to be named top volunteer supporter.
Mrs Yates said she doesn’t nominate lightly for the prestigious awards, but Miss Ware’s enthusiasm and dedication in a young teacher were so impressive.
“She’s just brilliant at delivering the curriculum, and showing excellence in her profession and deserves to be acknowledged.”
In the nomination Mrs Yates wrote that Miss Ware’s classroom is vibrant, innovative, inviting and full of student work.
“Her room is just a delight. She values the children, and they love her to bits.”
Miss Ware was a keen participant in the Catholic Schools Office Dhwanda experience which promotes understanding for the school’s Indigenous students and the teaching of Indigenous components of the curriculum. She is also actively involved a the school’s extracurricular activities.
While Miss Ware may be new to the school, Tracey Butler has a long association.
Mrs Yates remembers Mrs Butler as a young mum who brought her daughter Sarah to the school 21 years ago and threw herself into volunteering, and never let up.
She has held the position of canteen convenor and P&F Association president on-and-off throughout her association with the school. She has also chaired the School Board and the School Advisory Council.
She’s involved in every deb ball, and Mrs Yates is crossing her fingers that Mrs Butler will again put up her hand to organise next year’s ball even though her youngest child has moved on to high school.
”Tracey has a group of parents who are willing to help, however it is Tracey who puts in hour upon hour of planning and execution for fundraising events,” her award citation read.
“Tracey has been the instigator of cool, filtered water stands in classrooms for our students. She priced them, purchased them through the P&F and organised her husband and the plumber to ensure they were in the rooms ready for the students to commence the new year.
“Tracey organises and purchases food for the canteen for our special events throughout the year. She organises our Grandparents’ Day morning tea, our Fathers’ Day Brekky, our welcome barbecues and morning teas for our new parents each year, our Carols by Candlelight and any other function that requires food and service.”
Mrs Yates said she was keen to take the opportunity for the school to say ‘thank you’ to the quiet achiever.
We wanted to tell her that ‘nothing you did went unnoticed, and we miss you terribly’.- Cherie Yates
“She’s just the face of our school. We wanted to tell her that ‘nothing you did went unnoticed, and we miss you terribly’.”
Mrs Yates said Miss Ware and Mrs Butler were both very worthy recipients, deserving to shine out from the many nominations although it was a panel decision. The diocese stretches south to Tamworth and west to Moree, encompassing 24 parish schools.
The fact that two of the seven awards came to Tenterfield was not lost on many at the awards ceremony in Armidale on Tuesday, May 29. Mrs Yates said even Bishop Michael Kennedy noted the distinction.
It required some cryptic storytelling to get the two nominees to Armidale for the presentations, but Mrs Yates was pleased that both had family members with them to witness the occasion.
“These are really special awards,” she said.
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