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24 September, 2020

Teacher’s giving spirit shines

A LOCAL teacher has been recognised for her selfless and outstanding contribution to Catholic school education after the Catholic Education Week Awards were held last fortnight.

By Rhys Thomas

A LOCAL teacher has been recognised for her selfless and outstanding contribution to Catholic school education after the Catholic Education Week Awards were held last fortnight.

Madonna Lawrence has been a teacher at St Joseph’s Parish School for more than 10 years and was awarded for her contribution with one of eight Spirit of Catholic Education Awards state wide.

The Atherton Maize Festival and the St Joseph’s Debutante Ball are just some of the events that she is involved in outside of school hours, while during school hours she can often be found running St Joseph’s Mini Vinnies program.

The Mini Vinnies program is commonplace in catholic primary schools around Australia but what sets Mrs Lawrence’s program apart is that whole classes regularly become involved in her program.

When she found out that she had been nominated for the award and then successful in winning she was humbled by the recognition.

“It was a very humbling surprise when I found out I had won,” she said.

“How much you touch people’s lives without even realising it, it might just be running into a child uptown and they will run up and have a talk with you talking about a memory when they were in prep, and now they’re graduating.

"You don’t realise what an impact you can have on somebodies life.”

Mrs Lawrence has even taken her job a step further and taken the lead on Trauma Informed Learning at her school, acting as a mentor for other teachers and leadership.

In her current role as the Social and Emotional Learning Co-ordinator Mrs Lawrence not only helps guide her students through learning but also through their own emotions.

“If we want people to step up and do things then we have to lead the way and model it to them, we have to show them that there is a way of serving others in your community and giving back to your community,” she said.

“We need to model that earlier rather than later and get children involved In those sorts of things and seeing the rewards of being a service to their communities.

“So when they move into their adult life they would chose to rather be active than inactive.”

St Joseph’s Parish School Principal Donna Maxsted said that Mrs Lawrence often goes above and beyond her normal duties as a teacher.

“Madonna’s work with students who have high needs in social emotional learning is excellent,” she said.

“She is a very giving and caring person which is reflected in the work that she does with Mini Vinnies.

“Madonna has a particular flair and capacity for giving to others she loves the children and they often look to emulate her in that capacity of giving.”


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