A 26-year-old Industrial Technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) teacher from Peak Hill has been awarded the prestigious Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle's Emmaus Award for first five years of teaching.
Brad Hart - who now teaches at Taree's St Clare's High School - received the award from Director of Catholic Schools, Gerard Mowbray and the Diocesan Administrator, Greg Barker, at a ceremony in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton NSW.
"I guess it's a confidence booster. It's reassuring for me that I'm doing something right, that my career is heading in the right direction," Mr Hart said of receiving the award.
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"There's a lot of times in your first few years of teaching you question if you're doing it right. Winning that award, I know my heart's in the right place, so it just means that it's been recognised."
Having grown up in Peak Hill, near Dubbo, Mr Hart's family would holiday in the Manning region each year. This sparked a desire within him to one day live in the area, so when the chance to undertake the final placement of his teaching degree at St Clare's High School arose in 2018, he jumped at the opportunity.
"I was instantly blown away with the school community and the respect between students and staff. I knew from the first day of placement that I wanted to stay at St Clare's," he said.
"I knew from the first day of placement that I wanted to stay at St Clare's High School"- Brad Hart
Following his placement and subsequent graduation, he successfully applied for a teaching position at St Clare's, commencing at the school in 2019.
Mr Hart acknowledges the support and encouragement he has received from colleagues since joining the school. He's also aware of the connection between himself and students, given the relative proximity of their ages.
"You can relate to them easily. I understand what they're talking about, the language they use and you can relate to them through sport, or gaming or social media. So that's a bit of a benefit," he said.
"I think in the next few years I'm going to lose that eventually, so you've got to come up with different ways to engage with the kids. Because right now, for a young teacher, it's quite easy I think for the kids to relate to you, but it will get harder."
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