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Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Page: 1023

Mr BYRNE (9:34 AM) —I rise today to pay tribute to the many teachers in my electorate of Holt and around the country. We here know teaching is one of the most important jobs in our community and we welcome the acknowledgement of their contribution on World Teachers Day, which will be held on Friday, 29 October. World Teachers Day has been held annually since 1994 and its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. According to UNESCO, World Teachers Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.

We are very fortunate to have in my part of the world examples of outstanding teachers who, by sheer force of their commitment, their vision and their leadership, indelibly shape the schools they both teach in and lead—in many cases physically—and imbue their schools with strong community and student development values. They profoundly influence the lives of the students who attend their schools. One such example is the principal of Hampton Park Primary School, Christine Wakeling, who has inspired many by both her teaching achievements and her leadership of the school over many years. Hampton Park Primary School was opened in 1922 and provides a prep to year 6 program for its 421 pupils. Hampton Park Primary School is a very cultural and ethnically diverse community. In fact, 213 of the students were born overseas and 456 of the parents were born overseas as well.

Hampton Park Primary School aims for at least a 95 per cent attendance rate, as the school recognises the need for students to attend school ‘all day, every day’ to achieve and actuate their potential. During her time as principal, Christine has led a number of great initiatives to improve the educational experience for students, such as establishing a breakfast club and conducting free twilight movie nights at the start of each year. The twilight movie nights were held for the first time in 2007 and they have proved very popular for the community, particularly for Hampton Park Primary School students and parents, who in that forum come together and have the opportunity to meet and know each other at the start of each new school year. A twilight movie night brings these families together and, I think, starts fostering the process of strengthening the school community.

The significant contribution of Christine has been recognised by many including Ms Lynda Carter, the President of Hampton Park Primary School. In Lynda’s words, Christine Wakeling is someone who has given 110 per cent to the school daily. As an example, just before the last holidays she had family commitments that took her to hospital until three o’clock in the morning but, notwithstanding this, arrived at the school at 7.30 that same morning and worked until late in the evening. There are many more anecdotes of this nature but most of them go mainly untold, I think because of Christine’s self-deprecating and self-effacing nature. Christine is just one of those great teachers, an inspiring example to the residents and school members of our community. (Time expired)