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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3458

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:10): I rise today to congratulate Tom McBride, the principal of St Johns Park Public School, on 60 years of service in public education. I recently had the opportunity to present him with a community service award marking this monumental achievement.

Tom McBride was the first teacher and principal in New South Wales to receive the 60 years service certificate from the Department of Education. Over the past 60 years, since beginning his humble career as a 19-year-old at Garah Public School in the state's north-west where he was one of only two teachers, Tom has taught in 12 schools across New South Wales. He settled in St Johns Park Public School in 2002. His dedication to and passion for education, and for providing for the future of our children, is unparalleled. Tom is highly respected and a much loved member of our community. He is regarded well by students and parents alike—as a matter of fact, by our community as a whole.

As an educator his greatest commitment has been to providing education for children with disadvantaged backgrounds, making sure that they do not fall through the cracks and miss out on education and the opportunities that presents for them in the future. He spent time teaching in Northcott crippled children's school and the Forster Central School, making sure that children who did not have the easiest start in life did not miss out on the benefits of a good education. Education is clearly one of the most important and effective tools for breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage. Tom has been a champion of various initiatives to improve education standards in this country. He has raised his voice on his professional concerns over governments' lack of enthusiasm for continuing efforts to improve our international competitiveness in the delivery of our education.

Good education is a vital step in gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to fill the jobs of the future. Educating our future generations is the only way we can ensure our economy will stay strong into the future. Our teachers and principals, including the veteran Tom McBride, are doing a fantastic job on the ground in working towards this goal, but they need all the support and commitment of our community as a whole.

On behalf of a very grateful community I congratulate Tom McBride on his 60 years of dedicated service to education in New South Wales and thank him for the vital role he has played in educating many of our young people for the roles they will go on to play in the future of our country.