Members recognised for contribution to Catholic education
Several IEUA-QNT members have been acknowledged for their outstanding contributions within the Queensland Catholic education community at this year’s Spirit of Catholic Education Awards.
Awarded as part of Catholic Education Week celebrations, four IEU members took home awards - Madonna Lawrence from St Joseph’s School in Cairns, Jacinta Jensen from Good Samaratin College in Toowoomba, Tracy Nioa from St Patrick’s College in Townsville and Antionette Cole from Catholic Education Services in Cairns.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said this year’s recipients were to be congratulated for their significant contributions to their students and school communities.
“We congratulate all our members who received a Spirit of Catholic Education Award, especially after such a tumultuous and testing year,” Mr Burke said.
“All recipients have demonstrated a commitment to positive Catholic values which include giving back to their community, supporting those less fortunate, building positive relationships and improving the teaching and learning environments in their respective workplaces,” he said.
A commitment to helping at risk youth
We spoke to Jacinta Jensen, one of our members who won a Spirit of Catholic Education award about her role as School Counsellor at Good Samaritan College.
Jacinta said she was very surprised and humbled to find out she was nominated for an award.
“It’s part of my job to notice the positive things that other people do and I don’t really think too much about what I do myself,” said Jacinta.
“All the staff at The Good Samaritan College are amazing and any one of them would have been deserving of this award,” she said.
With a career background in social work, Jacinta has always been interested in helping others since she was young.
“I was drawn to social work in my early 30s while I was working at Centrelink and recognised the hardship that some people face,” she said.
“My position as a case worker at Youth Justice for a further nine years inspired me to work with young people at risk prior to them entering the justice system, in the hope that earlier interventions could be put in place to help them.”
Following this, Jacinta completed a Masters in Counselling and entered the school system, where she is happy in her seventh year at Good Samaritan College in her role as School Counsellor.
Within her role, Jacinta facilitates various social and emotional programs with the students at Good Samaratin.
“The favourite part of my job is recognising and celebrating the successes our young people have in areas of work and study, personal growth, and resilience,” she said.
“Our mission at Good Samaratin College align with the union values of social justice, inclusion and equal opportunity.
“This is evidenced in our belief in the inherent dignity and capacity of all young people.
“My colleagues and I pride ourselves on being inclusive and accepting of young people who have not found success in mainstream schools.
“This is possible by providing an innovative, enhanced learning community focusing on meeting the young person’s needs, spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally with a priority on wellbeing,” she said.
Union membership matters
Union membership is very important to Jacinta, given her high regard for union values like social justice, inclusion and equal opportunity and the protections our union provides.
“It’s important for me to be part of our union as it provides job security and ensures that my rights are protected, that wages are fair and that I have access to benefits and representation if ever needed,” she said.
To read about the contributions and achievements of all award recipients this year, see here.
Image source: Queensland Catholic Education