Faith-life example acknowledged

Acknowledged by her peers as being an outstanding Assistant Principal responsible for wellbeing, Carmel Wright of St Pius X High School, Adamstown was formally awarded at the annual Called to Serve Mass when she received a prestigious Emmaus Award for Leadership.

Ms Wright has been teaching in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese since 1989, holding the position of assistant principal at St Pius for six of those years.

Her passion, dedication, faith-life example and excellence in all areas of her profession were noted in during the presentation. Ms Wright has fostered a collaborative culture at St Pius X that not only engages people to do their best, but also creates a positive learning environment. Her tireless efforts to build and improve student and staff wellbeing programs have resulted in noticeable improvements in school culture, and in student attitudes towards learning.

Ms Wright leads by example, sets high standards and inspires students and staff to work towards excellence.

“I was honoured by this very special recognition by my colleagues,” she said. “As we go about our daily lives in schools our focus is never on reward but making a positive difference to the lives of those we encounter.

“To receive the award was surreal; the sentiments of what others see and value in you was most humbling. It was gratifying to share this moment with my family who have always encouraged and supported me in my endeavours.”

Her drive to link students, parents and teachers to focus on wellbeing issues and the prevention of mental health is profound. Her kind nature and high expectations make her an outstanding mentor who models behaviour and professionalism to inspire those around her to do their best.

As a leader Ms Wright has an innovative focus and wants to enact real change in her St Pius X community.

“In my leadership role at St Pius X High School, I am rewarded by the ability to be a change agent and work with exceptional like-minded colleagues,” said Ms Wright. “It is a privilege to come to school each day hope-filled, facilitate learning and watch young people grow, proud of the process that gets them there.

“As a leader in a Catholic school, you want your relationships to reflect the Gospel values and demonstrate respect for the dignity of others. A proud moment is when as a school community we can celebrate these accomplishments. As a leader providing support, encouragement and inspiring others to be the very best version of themselves is most rewarding,” Ms Wright said.

Background to the Emmaus awards

The Catholic Schools Office established the Emmaus Awards to recognise, affirm and celebrate the significant contribution made by the recipients to aspects of excellence in Catholic schooling in the Diocese of Maitland—Newcastle. Each year, eight Emmaus plaques are presented by the Bishop and Director of Catholic Schools at the Called to Serve Mass. Over 2,000 staff are eligible to receive an award, which makes receiving one very significant. Recipients must be nominated by their colleague, and a panel then reviews all submissions.  In total there are six award categories, including four categories that pertain to educators, as well as a category recognises contributions made by schools’ support staff including cleaners, pastoral care workers and grounds people and finally, one for an entire school community. In addition to receiving a plaque, individuals also receive a $2000 certificate and the winning school community receives $1000 to be used towards educational resources. 



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Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is a Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.