Grievance Debate - Public Education Awards

Wednesday September 08, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:49): I also want to talk about public education today, but before I do I want to pay my respects to the Minister for Education, who I believe is one of the best ministers this government has in a very difficult role.

Having come from the public education sector, there were many comments when I was entering parliament about a previous Liberal minister, who I will not name but who had a reputation for closing schools and cutting services to public education. This minister has done an outstanding job reaffirming the government's commitment to public education, and I know that does not go unnoticed amongst many of my friends who are teachers. So thank you, minister.

I rise today to talk about the 2021 Public Education Awards showcase; again, a great initiative highlighting the wonderful work that many teachers put in, the countless hours, unrecognised hours in the eyes of many. It is a wonderful thing to celebrate their achievements. Finalists and winners are awarded grants to undertake professional learning or activities, with winners in each category receiving $10,000 and two finalists in each category receiving $2,000.

I want to congratulate the two finalists from the Mount Gambier electorate in the 2021 Public Education Awards. I would first like to congratulate the entrepreneurial teaching team of Grant High School, a school where I taught and where I also did my year 12. They were nominated in the University of South Australia Team Teaching Award.

The team at Grant High School, comprising Bekkie Houston, Amelia Redman, Jayden Cutting, Maddie Whaites, Kelly Albanese, Tom O'Connor and Liam Goodfellow, have worked to create programs that resonate with students by providing real life connections to the community. This program is an integral part of the school curriculum as it involves over 750 students participating in various programs that the school has developed.

Some of the programs include the Young Change Agents Program, where year 8s focus on developing an idea for a social enterprise that could benefit the local community. Year 9 is where the young entrepreneurs really shine; with a financial contribution of $20 to start their businesses, students develop a business and those who are successful are able to keep any profits they make.

Moving on to year 10, students complete shark tank challenges and are also involved in Career Immersion Week, where they experience work life in a career path of their choice, interacting with businesses and services in the local community.

Our second finalist is Celeste Raymond, a social worker based at Melaleuca Park Primary School. Working collaboratively with both families and teachers within the school, Celeste provides frameworks to support and assist children through their school journey, helping the students navigate through their junior school years.

I also take this opportunity to commend Lynette Corletto, the principal at Melaleuca Park Primary School and all the staff. I often bump into Lynette on flights backwards and forwards to Adelaide, and her child plays on the same sporting team as mine. The work Lynette does at Melaleuca, as well as all her staff, really needs to be commended.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Josh Praolini at Mount Gambier High School's entrepreneurial program. Josh regularly gets me in to talk to students, and the work that school is doing in the entrepreneurial space is a real credit to him and the leadership team at that school. Quite often, students are immersed in entrepreneurial activities from year 8 right through to past year 10, and it is the hard work and dedication of Josh that not only make all that possible but also broaden awareness with other curriculum areas and teachers of how to introduce entrepreneurial ideas and practices into their curriculum.

Congratulations to all the finalists and all the hardworking teachers in my electorate. You do a job we are all very grateful for.