Peter Botsman Award 2023 - in school category

Patrice Honnef

 Head of English at Cairns State High School, has been described by her colleagues as a powerhouse, a pocket rocket and an eternal well of inspiration. She has long instigated, organised, contributed to and driven the teaching of English in Far North Queensland through her various positions in teaching and leadership roles at Gordonvale State High, Innisfail State College and Cairns State High.

Patrice creates stimulating and motivational learning environments for a wide range of students, builds staff capacity relentlessly, nurtures relationships with stakeholders (often at a national level) and optimises success for student learning outcomes.

A foundational member of the informal English Head of Department network in Far North Queensland (FNQ), she can always be relied upon for action, energy and ideas. For example, she has organised four-day writer in residences for cluster schools and high schools to meet published authors and optimise engagement.

The regional Aspirations Day forum, FNQ LiteraryCompetition and Navigating our Narratives public speaking competition in conjunction with the Business LiaisonAssociation were instigated and organised by Patrice. These initiatives included the involvement of notable Australians such as Johnny Weiss (CEO Sydney and son of Holocaust parents), Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, CVO, MC (former Governor General), Brigadier George Mansford AM, Major General Chris Field, DSC, AM, CSC and Dr Nimisha Aithal.

In addition, in collaboration with the Australian Army and the involvement of a range of other community organisations, Patrice initiated the We Will Remember forum, gaining the support of many regional and Townsville private and state schools to register their students as competitors. There were twenty-six school teams involved and winners across three categories were flown to Canberra to deliver their prepared speeches at the Royal Military College.

Patrice is also actively involved in state-wide, senior assessment initiatives and lead assessor roles with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority in English and Literature. In an earlier iteration of senior assessment, she was a QCS Writing Task marker, and a long-serving panel member. Patrice has also been involved in quality assurance events for Essential English and a vocational education network and communities of practice for English and Literature. Clearly, she has a passion for ensuring that all students have the best chance in life.

A regular contributor to local, regional, state and occasional national presenter at AATE seminars and conferences, Patrice always has time to grow the profession and shares in her humble and supportive way. She is a functional grammar tutor, a pedagogical coach, a Bell Shakespeare Regional mentor, and a truly inspirational teacher of English and Literature.

This citation merely scratches the surface of Patrice’s contributions to the profession over many years; her full curriculum vitae is extensive and wide-ranging, encompassing academic, cultural and community-based activities.

As can be seen, Patrice has made a substantial contribution to English at the local, state and national level. In addition, Patrice is a passionate person with an infectiously joyful personality and is a worthy winner of the 2023 Peter Botsman Award.

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