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MANAGER OF CATHOLICCARE'S Taree
Child and Family Services, Helga
worries about the welfare of her family
back in South Africa. She recognises the
decision to leave her home country as a
significant turning point.
"In December 2004, when we left our
home country and decided to take on life
as expatriates, we became a 'third culture
family' forever. This means that some of
our original culture and customs were lost
during overseas living - even impacting on
the use of Afrikaans language at home --
and participating in other traditions
from local countries but never really
'belonging'...I still feel like an outsider
looking in on another world at times.
What have you learned from this
We are actually stronger, more resilient
than we give ourselves credit for. Despit
being away from our family, life provides
opportunities to make friends who turn
out to be closer than family at times. Th
has made all the difference and made
things possible which I never thought
A childhood memory that brings a smile?
Going horseback riding on the farm after
munching away on my Mum's koeksisters --
a sweet pastry dish traditional to
How are you finding your role in Taree?
Fantastic! I am fortunate to work with a
great team, both in Taree and Newcastle,
and to be a part of creating positive
change in the community.
What do you hope to achieve in this role?
I hope we can become an 'employer of
choice', that is, recognised as providing
benchmark for empowering our diverse
community. Ideally I can make it all
happen whilst having fun!
What inspires you?
My three lovely kids -- two girls (16 and
15) and a boy (11). I'm currently living
through my eldest daughter's HSC exams!
What's a weakness?
Chips, in any shape or form! -- and I might
be a bit of a workaholic.
Your interests and hobbies?
Antiques, theatre, travelling and learning
about different cultures. I have lived in
to have senior management positions with
multi-national companies which led me
to travel to various interesting countries
-- India, Philippines, China, Turkey to
mention a few. I've been in Australia for
nearly two years and am really enjoying it.
How would you like to be remembered?
On a personal note as a loving and very
dedicated mother and also for making
things happen, sharing my passion for
innovation and change, and always doing
it with a smile.
What lies behind us and what lies before us, are small
matters compared to what lies within us.
These words, from Ralph Waldo Emerson, are significant to
South African born Helga Smit.
than we know
a working enviiro
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g owth and develop
diversity and good values and sets th
h ark for empowering our diverse
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United Arab Emirates. I really enjoyed m
time in the Middle East and was fortunate
By CATHERINE MAHONY
TWO TEACHERS FROM Hunter Catholic schools have
been named finalists in the Australian Scholarships
Group Inspirational Teaching Awards for 2011.
The finalists are Catherine Petersen, Assistant
Principal at St Catherine's Catholic College, Singleton,
and Patrick Beisler, Year 7 Student Co-ordinator at St
Mary's High School, Gateshead.
The Awards reflect independent national recognition for
teachers in Australia, based on nomination by parents
and students. They exist to promote the teaching
profession by recognising, and therefore encouraging,
excellence in Australian schools.
Director of Schools Mr Ray Collins said, "It is always
gratifying when the calibre of teachers in our schools
is recognised on a national level. Catherine Petersen
and Patrick Beisler are worthy recipients of this
acknowledgement and I know their colleagues and
students would rejoice in their success. I wish them
well as they proceed to the next phase of the awards."
"Teachers count because they play such an
important role in encouraging and helping students
to reach their education potential," said Mr Terry
O'Connell, Chairperson of National Excellence in
Excellent local teachers recognised
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