As the Community Engagement Officer at St Teresa’s College, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to our families, communities, students and staff of St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie. My name is Leeann Napier, a proud Koori woman who has lived in the Bowen area for most of my life. I am also very family oriented and my family means everything to me. I have worked in the education field for 21 years and I am very passionate about education. I would like to share my story so you know who I am and where I come from.
My family originally came from Kamilario in New South Wales, they were taken from their community and sent to Bowen, where we have lived for seven generations. Because we have lived in this area for so long, the Juru people have accepted us as family. I am very passionate about keeping culture strong in families because it has taken many years for my family to trace where we came from and sadly our culture was never passed on to the next generation.
I firmly believe family is the heart of who we are. I am the eldest of ten children; I have four brothers and five sisters. I am a mother of 3 children; Phillip, Dominique and Leon. I am also a proud grandmother of 10 beautiful grandchildren, 2 of which went to St Teresa’s College. I have watched my two grandsons grow into proud, confident young men since they attended St Teresa’s College. They have embraced all of the cultures that are shared among the students and enjoyed learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and dance, as they sadly never got to learn their culture.
For me education is the key to a successful, comfortable life. I have worked in education for 23 years and my passion for education is as strong today as it was when I first started. I worked for 13 years at St Mary’s Primary School – Bowen, where I was a Teacher’s Assistant and the Indigenous Liaison Officer. While at St Mary’s I completed my Diploma of Education and thoroughly enjoyed completing one of my teaching practicals on Bathurst Island. I moved to Ingham in 2014 where I worked at Ingham State High School for 2 years. I then did relief work as a Teacher Assistant at Ingham State Primary School for 1 year.
I started work at St Teresa’s College in 2016, as a teacher’s assistant. I never thought I would find a school I loved as much as I loved working at St Mary’s. From the first day I worked at St Teresa’s College, I knew this would be the place I would spend the rest of my working days. The staff and students were so welcoming and caring, I felt at home, it felt like one big family … the Gowrie Family. During my time as a teacher assistant, I have had the opportunity to work one on one with students, assisting them in the classroom. I also run a cooking program during afternoon activities, two afternoons weekly. After completing this program the students will have gained knowledge on the Safe Handling of Food, Hygiene in the Kitchen, Special Dietary Requirements, and Preparing, Cooking and Serving Meals.
Now that I have stepped into my new role as the Community Engagement Officer I am looking forward to getting to know the families of the beautiful young men that I know so well at the college. I am also excited about visiting their communities and yarning with families and listening to their stories.
If you have any questions or enquiries please feel free to contact 07 4780 8300 or email email@example.com