On Monday 31 May, first-year Primary Education student Saige Conners was awarded The Council of Catholic School Parents NSW/ACT Scholarship valued at $2,000 to put towards her degree.
The purpose of the scholarship is to assist future teachers who have an interest in the importance of parent/teacher engagement in children’s learning. Being the daughter of a teacher, Saige knows the benefits of having a parent who understands the value of education better than most.
“It all starts with your parents; if they’re engaged in your education then you feel more motivated to do your best work at school and have someone to bounce off at home,” she says.
“I’ve always known primary school teaching was for me," adds Saige. "I’m really inspired by my mum and grandma, who are teachers, and I had the most amazing Year One teacher at St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School named Miss Williams, who was so inspiring and helped me be my best. I’d like to become even half the teacher she was to me."
Saige formally accepted her scholarship at a morning tea on campus with her parents and grandmother by her side. Also in attendance were Ms Hilary Johnston-Croke of the University's Board of Directors, Notre Dame's Deputy Vice Chancellor, Enterprise and Partnerships, Professor Christine Bennett, and Mr Peter Grace, Executive Director of The Council of Catholic School Parents (CCSP).
Thanking Peter for the council’s support, Saige said: “I was really humbled and very grateful to receive this scholarship. It was unexpected, but I’m excited to put the scholarship towards my degree."
As the peak body for parents and carers of children and young people in Catholic schools, the CCSP provides leadership, advocacy and support to the 150,000 or so families that choose a Catholic education for their child in New South Wales/ACT.
“One simple way I hope that CCSP can show its value and appreciation of teachers is through the sponsorship of this pre-service teacher scholarship at the University of Notre Dame,” said Peter. “I congratulate Saige on the quality of the application that she submitted. Not only was it based on her school results, but also a community service component and a statement that demonstrated her understanding of the importance of the parent teacher relationship – and she passed with flying colours.”
Speaking of the importance of parent/teacher relationship to the education and formation of children, Peter added: “If parents and teachers work closely together, drawing on each other's expertise and pooling their wisdom together to make decisions in the best interest of a child, then you’ll certainly see that child’s learning outcomes and wellbeing are enhanced. The CCSP looks to support that as best we can.”
Saige hopes to teach Year One and Year Two kids when she graduates from Notre Dame.
Caption: Saige Conners pictured with her parents and grandmother (centre), alongside Ms Hilary Johnston-Croke (far left), Professor Christine Bennett (right) and Mr Peter Grace (far right).
Photos by Giovanni Portelli, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.
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