"As a former student of Port Macquarie High School (1982 - 1987), I can only speak highly of the teaching staff and the academic standards they set. All of my teachers encouraged and supported me throughout my time at the school; they were always happy to answer questions, encouraged my interest and went out of their way to provide more in depth information and additional reading material when required. I was able to achieve solid academic results while at Port Macquarie High School - particularly in English and science - and I believe this has helped me considerably with my current career as an editor and journalist."
Jo Atkins Focus magazine
“After being involved with public education for over 26 years I have come to realise that schools are a living tapestry, being woven each day by individual lives. Some add light and vibrant colours, others deep hues of blue and gold. But no matter what colour you add to this tapestry it is alive and living and public education is vibrant and multi-coloured.”
‘The best days of your life are your school days” according to the old saying. Not everyone will agree, of course, but for a group of students who went to school here and came back as high school teachers to our public schools, the best days are every day. For this group, teaching in their hometown became their career path of choice and they wouldn’t have it any other way. The group pictured went to either Port Macquarie High School or Westport High School and were so inspired by teachers at their schools that they decided that teaching was the occupation for them. Some were surprised to find themselves teaching back at their Alma Mater.
Deanna Maurer (maiden name McIlveen) was Dux of Port Macquarie High School in 2003. “I was in the targeted graduate program,” Deanna said. “ Both the head teacher of Maths and the Principal invited me to apply for a Maths vacancy at my old school where I had such great teachers. My favourite subject was Maths of course and that’s what I teach. Students today are much more comfortable with technology than even in my time. I’m looking forward to the early start of 8.15 am when the college starts next year.”
Stewart Heddles is a former student of Port Macquarie High School and is a Year Adviser and dynamic music teacher. He was inspired by his music teacher Glenn Moore to go into teaching. “I’m looking forward to our new college and especially the early start at 8.15 am.,” Stewart admits. “It will allow students to engage in many extra curricular activities like our Concert Band, our Stage Band, the Choir and sporting teams. It will also give our students the opportunity to study, rest and work part-time” Stewart said, jokingly, that being a rock star would be his second career choice.
Becky Davis was school captain with Martin Barrow at Port High in 1992 and was inspired by her Science teachers Mr. Schroder and Mrs. Griffiths. “I looked up to Mr. Schroder who was also our Year Adviser for all things,” Becky said. “He made me realize I was good at Science so I naturally continued with the subject in senior years and it’s what I teach now. I had Mrs. Griffiths as my Chemistry teacher and it is she who inspired me to teach. We had the best fun and it felt like family.” Becky hasn’t taught at any other school and plans on staying at Port High for as long as the opportunity exists. “I love engaging with kids and seeing them learn and hearing and seeing the ‘light bulb’ moment where they grasp some new concept. Just like I used to do.”
Nicole Cook, who participated in the recent Ironman event, was a champion sportswoman at Port Macquarie High School. She was age champion for athletics every year of her schooling and in 2000 won two gold medals in the 800m and 1,500m at the NSW Country Championships. She was also a formidable cross country runner and was an escort runner for the Olympic Torch relay. The rest of her athletic achievements are too numerous to mention. “I never expected to like teaching so much,” Nicole said. “I taught in London and travelled extensively in Europe and the Americas. I’ve experienced other schools in Australia but I just love teaching in Port Macquarie. Highlights for me at school were Maths with Mr. Boreham and Mr. Winfield and the Heron Island excursion with Mr. Clem. Mr. Sanderson was a great mentor for my sporting interests. My teachers were always willing to give up their time for me. This school caters for absolutely anybody and it’s supportive of everyone regardless of their background. The students do receive the utmost care and support.”
Jan von Schoenberg graduated from Port High In 1977 and has lovely memories of her school years. She has taught in Arnhem Land N.T., Palm Island Qld. and Wauchope High School. She would ‘ most definitely’ become a teacher again if she had her time over. Jan is involved in just about everything above and beyond her teaching duties. Not only does she run the formal assemblies and co-ordinating competitions for students but has volunteered to become the Indigenous Co-ordinator. “I wanted to become a teacher to teach history. I’ve ended up specializing in English. I just want us to continue to be a good school. As far as our new college goes, it will be an advantage to have even more subject choices for our students. It will continue to provide inclusivity with a great learning environment for all individuals”