40 years service to Catholic education recognised

Pam Betts, (sitting centre) Fr Anthony Mellor, (sitting centre) Peter Hill (back row far left) and Catherine Thompson (middle row far right) with the 12 teachers who have dedicated 40 years to Catholic Education

BRISBANE Catholic Education (BCE) recognised 12 dedicated teachers who have served 40 years in Catholic education on World Teachers’ Day.

BCE Executive Director Pam Betts congratulated the 12 inspirational teachers on reaching the significant milestone and for their dedication to Teach, Challenge and Transform the lives of thousands of students, some who had gone on to be teachers themselves, and even principals in our community of schools.

Fr Anthony Mellor gave the 12 - Andrew Esposito, Joseph Iwanina, Stephen Montgomery, Elizabeth Graham, Jane Lennon, Michael O’Connor, Peter Shaw, Mark Osborne, Christopher Lenan, Anne Louise Allen, Chris O'Rourke, and Bernie McKenna - a special blessing during the lunch to celebrate their achievements.

Miss Betts and representatives of BCE’s Leadership Team thanked the 12, and all other teachers and support staff in BCE, who instilled a love of life-long learning and a heart of hope into future generations.

Miss Betts said the almost 500 years of service by the 12 was remarkable. She said the significant contribution they had made to Catholic education did not go unnoticed.

Miss Betts said it was impossible to count the number of students’ lives they had had an impact on over those years.

“How many lives would have changed because of the work you do in our schools?

“You are the quiet achievers.”

Miss Betts said teaching was exciting, exhilarating and rewarding, but it was also hard at times.

“You have stayed the course for 40 years, thank you for doing that, because that says a lot about your commitment, your vocation to teaching and your great desire and hope that you hold for the young people who come into our schools every day.”

She also thanked the family and friends of the 12 who had supported them behind the scenes over the 40 years.

The gathering also was a reunion of sorts for 10 of the 12 teachers who were honoured for 40 years of service to education on World Teachers’ Day.

The 10 were graduates of the 1978 class of McAuley Teachers’ College, located on the site which now houses BCE’s main office.

Peter Shaw said they were the first cohort of an expanded group to move through the college at the time.

He said with only around 70 Primary school teacher graduates, 30 were males, which was significant in its day.

“Obviously, many of our female colleagues may have left and returned after raising families; and many others from the class have remained both in education and in Catholic systems but have moved out of the BCE system at some stage, unlike us,” he said.

Between them, the group of 12 claimed an impressive list of career achievements both inside and outside BCE.

They have helped educate more than 11,000 students; worked across about a fifth of BCE schools; contributed collectively decades in senior administration in schools and amassed more than 16,000 weeks in school, educating students.

Following the formalities, the teachers and their guests shared some favourite memories of their time working in Brisbane Catholic Education.

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