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Hunter students, teachers celebrate excellence and innovation


Hunter students, teachers and parents have been acknowledged for their outstanding accomplishments, resilience and contribution to public education.

Six local pupils – Mhairi Hammond (Lambton High), Thomas Muggleton-Ryan (Lambton High), Cooper Ivory (Merewether High), Charles Mury (Hunter River Community), Ellie Taylor (Warners Bay High) and Savannah White (Morisset High) – were rewarded for their achievements while five educators – Sharon Devoy (Heaton Public), Melinda Horgan (Mayfield East Public), Natalie Johnson (Mayfield East Public), Ami Morrow (Merewether High) and Tim Post (Morisset High) – received plaudits at the 2022 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.

West Wallsend High’s Jessica Somner was honoured for her excellent service while Gorokan High School’s Banal Ngaruga-dhi: Aboriginal Curriculum and West Wallsend High’s Stage 6 IGNITE made their marks in the outstanding school initiative category.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the 128 awards showcased schools with innovative programs for literacy, numeracy, science, student wellbeing and community partnerships.

“It is such a privilege to celebrate so many positive and diverse achievements right across the state that highlight the excellence in our public schools,” she stated.

Forty Year 12 pupils secured Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Student Achievement for their efforts in academic, sporting, cultural and leadership fields, commitment to their school community and personal values.

 “These youngsters, along with their teachers and families, have faced many challenges this year and have achieved against the odds,” Ms Mitchell said at a ceremony at Sydney Town Hall on Tuesday 6 September.

“They are remarkable role models.”

NSW Department of Education secretary Georgina Harrisson said the honours – which also included the Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service, Secretary’s School Achievement Award and Public School Parent of the Year – provided a snapshot of the wonderful programs occurring across the entire NSW public education system.

“The awards reveal an ecosystem of innovative and collaborative teaching and learning,” she explained.

“Many of the winners learn and work in partnership with other public schools and their wider communities to lift outcomes for our students and ensure our schools and staff are also improving every year.”

Public Education Foundation executive director David Hetherington said the organisation was proud to host the function on behalf of the Education Minister and Department Secretary.

“The event is always the highlight of the education calendar, showcasing the wonderful people and extraordinary talent in NSW public schools,” he added.

The Hunter region award winners were:

Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement

  • Mhairi Hammond – Lambton High School
  • Thomas Muggleton-Ryan – Lambton High School
  • Cooper Ivory – Merewether High School
  • Charles Mury – Hunter River Community School
  • Ellie Taylor – Warners Bay High School
  • Savannah White – Morisset High School

Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Sharon Devoy – Heaton Public School
  • Melinda Horgan – Mayfield East Public School
  • Natalie Johnson – Mayfield East Public School
  • Ami Morrow – Merewether High School
  • Tim Post – Morisset High School

Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service

  • Jessica Somner – West Wallsend High School

Secretary’s Award for an Outstanding School Initiative

  • Gorokan High School – Banal Ngaruga-dhi: Aboriginal Curriculum
  • West Wallsend High School – Stage 6 IGNITE

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