Volunteer surprised by award
CARMEL Atkinson has been honoured for her volunteer work with the Duranbah Public School.
The retired secondary school science teacher was given an award for Excellent Service to Public Education by the director general of the NSW Department of Education and Training, Michael Coutts-Trotter.
Mrs Atkinson, who began her teaching career in 1965, said didn’t even know she was nominated for the award.
“It was unexpected and completely out of the blue,” she said.
“It was a lovely surprise.”
Mrs Atkinson helped the school develop curriculum, tutored students and simply tried to lend a hand “wherever needed”.
The award has proved to be a perfect parting gift for Mrs Atkinson, who will retire from voluntary work at the school this year.
“After many years teaching, this was a lovely way to finish,” she said.
Mrs Atkinson and her husband Brian were flown to Sydney for the presentation along with 35 other recipients from across the state.
Mrs Atkinson credited school principal Sandy Ellis for inspiring her to give her time at Duranbah.
“She was one reason I spend as much time as I did at the school. She is a fantastic leader who wants the best outcome for every child in her school,” she said.
“It was rather nice she was actually there (at Sydney for the presentation), as well.”
Mr Coutts-Trotter said all award recipients had made a commitment beyond the call of duty.