Caught in the moment

As a local, a school parent, and a teacher Jane Boyd of St Peter’s Primary School, Stockton embodies true community spirit.

It was then, with a great sense of honour, Ms Boyd accepted the Emmaus Award for Innovation at the annual Call to Serve Mass.

This prestigious award speaks volumes of Ms Boyd’s genuine joy, pride and professionalism. She not long-ago re-entered teaching after having her beautiful children.

Celebrating four years at St Peter’s, Ms Boyd holds the position of executive relief teacher and release from face-to-face teacher.  

“I feel incredibly honoured that my colleagues took the time to nominate me and that they felt that I was deserving of the award,” she said. “I am fortunate to work with such talented, professional and committed colleagues who value and celebrate the efforts of all.

“In every venture I have undertaken at St Peter's, I have been surrounded by their enthusiasm, appreciation, assistance and support. This acknowledgement is further icing on the cake.”

Her citation noted that during her time at St Peter’s, Ms Boyd has featured her interest, talent and skill in the creative and performing arts and has been an innovative and driving force behind the school musical. The 2018 performance Save Stockton Beach – the Musical, featured in local press and enjoyed commentary in NSW parliament.

In 2019, she initiated and co-ordinated the school’s inaugural art project, which featured input from a local artist and lessons for all classes. The project culminated in an extraordinary community event featuring artworks and activities. In these initiatives, Ms Boyd has been responsible for the concept, organisation, production, resourcing, set design and construction, and the co-ordination of willing, enthusiastic staff and students.

Ms Boyd’s teaching practice is simply exemplary, with dedication and willingness to go above and beyond for students evident in her daily interactions.

“My role as executive release and RFF teacher at St Peter's allows me the opportunity to teach all students from K-6,” she said. “I enjoy forming connections with all the students across the grades and tapping into their creative interests and abilities.

St Peter's principal Michael Punch, and all staff members value the social, emotional and cross-curricular benefits of creative arts. So being able to undertake whole-school performances, art shows and musicals allows us to build on the abilities of the students and create a wonderful community atmosphere. The culmination of these events is just so rewarding, to see students, staff and parents caught up in the moment.”

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.