Peter Botsman Award 2003
After completing a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education at the University of Queensland, Mary commenced her teaching career at Bundaberg High School. This was followed with various periods at Woodridge High School and Bremer High School where Mary was Head of Department, English and Acting Senior Mistress. This was followed by some years with the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies involved in various projects associated with the Queensland Core Skills Test. After a period as Education Officer, Mary became Head of English at Oxley Secondary College, a position that she enjoyed for ten years. During this time she also completed a Masters of Educational Studies at the University of Queensland. Students at the University of Queensland and Griffith University then benefited from Mary’s wide experience and knowledge of English in her work as a tutor and sessional lecturer, and as a Project Officer with the Board of Teacher Registration. Mary is currently Head of Department at Kelvin Grove State College.
Throughout her career Mary has been a member of various committees and panels. These include being a District Reviewer on the English Extension Panel, the English State Review Panel including a year as Chair, the English Extension Syllabus Sub-committee of the English Syllabus Advisory Committee for the Junior and Senior English Syllabuses.
Mary has presented at many seminars and training sessions including a number for ETAQ, and has been involved in conference planning. In the past two years Mary has been a member of the ETAQ Inservice Sub-committee that plans and organises events such as the seminar today.
Mary has contributed to the promotion of English in other ways as well. She has served as a judge for many competitions, including the ETAQ, QIEU and Courier Mail Literary Competition.
An account of even some of Mary’s achievements makes it apparent that she is an accomplished teacher who enjoys a high regard professionally. This impressive list reveals a central dimension. Those who have worked with Mary in any capacity see her as an ardent lover of English, a sharing supportive colleague and mentor, and an inspirational, guiding teacher. She is spoken of with great affection and I think this is because the many who do so are returning the affection that Mary has for them.
I talked to Mary recently about her experiences and she told me about the various places she has worked. With the mention of each one her face lit up and those beautiful cabaret eyes (to quote a line from a Ross Clark poem) sparkled. Mary told me how she loved the students, loved the staff, loved the place.
I think it is appropriate that Mary is receiving this prestigious award at a conference titled, The heart of English, because Mary represents both the main connotations of that title. Through her deep knowledge and wide experience she is a part of the Heart of English and her contributions are part of the vital functions that disperse the lifeblood to the English teaching community. The reciprocal affection between Mary and those who work and have worked with her is heartfelt. Like many others, I have been guided by Mary’s wise counsel and soothed by her serenity, and I congratulate her on this well-deserved award.