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Dedicated educators recognised


Nine outstanding South Australian educators, including one who helps students raise chickens called Hennifer Lopez and Eggie Betts, were recognised at the annual Catholic Education Awards ceremony on May 18.

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The awards – which are celebrated as part of Catholic Education Week (May 15 – 21 2023) -recognise outstanding achievements and contributions by staff and volunteers across South Australia’s 101 Catholic schools.

Those honoured include Nick Mezzino, an experienced educator with a passion for the environment and a sense of humour. Nick has implemented sustainability projects including vegetable and butterfly gardens, a worm farm and imaginatively named chickens. He received the new Laudato Si’ Award category sponsored by The Southern Cross.

Other award winners were:

In addition, Kildare College’s Graduate Program (led by Raymond Kropinski) received the Innovative Program Award.  The program supports and empowers early career teachers to become dynamic professions.

Susan Young was recognised for her leadership and lifelong contribution to Catholic Education SA.

Catholic Education SA director Dr Neil McGoran presented a gift to Professor Denis Ralph who retired last month as chair of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools (SACCS).

The award ceremony, hosted by media personality Jess Adamson, was held at Hilton Adelaide on May 18 following Mass celebrated by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.

Katrine Hildyard MP, Minister for Child Protection, attended the awards and spoke of the formative education she experienced as a student at St John the Baptist School, Plympton.

Each award recipient gave moving acceptance speeches that highlighted their passion for the vocation of education.

“We cried, we laughed,” said Ms Adamson at the conclusion of the awards.

John Foley, assistant director, Catholic Education South Australia, said the awards “shine a light on the incredible passion of our staff and volunteers”.

“The awardees demonstrate the extraordinary outcomes that can be achieved when people are dedicated and passionate about teaching and learning,” he said.

“At Catholic Education South Australia we really care about our students – we’re keen to see every young person in our schools thrive. Each of these recipients is a wonderful example of the unwavering commitment to Catholic education shown by staff and volunteers in our 101 school communities across the State.”

Award sponsors were ngs Super, Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary Schools, SA Catholic Primary Principals Association, Secondary Deputy Principals
and Senior Leaders of Catholic Education South Australia, and The Southern Cross newspaper.

Read more about this year’s award recipients here.

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