Ryan Gato, EMMAUS recipient in 2013, recently reminisced on what the recognition and celebration meant to him and shares where his career has taken him since.
- Tell us when and what did you win an EMMAUS Awards for?
I received an Emmaus award for ‘First Five Years of Teaching - Excellence in Teaching’ in 2013.
- What did it mean to you winning the award?
Receiving the award was an absolute privilege, but there was also an element of shock. I still remember receiving the call from former Director of Schools, Ray Collins, who told me that I was the recipient before making a more public announcement. As he spoke and listed the reasons why I was being presented with this award, I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud and honoured, but I was also incredibly thankful that others had recognised some of the initiatives that we were trying to foster and promote in both my school and throughout the diocese.
- What have you done since winning the award?
Since winning the award I have remained in the education sector, however, in 2014 I was successful in gaining a new position outside the diocese and working nationally for Marist Schools Australia. Although still working within schools, my role differed in that I was no longer teaching students in the classroom but working with staff and executive in Faith Formation. This aligned even more closely my love of the Christian faith, strengthening my passion and commitment to Catholic education.
- What is your role now at the Diocese?
I have recently moved back to the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle where I am now working as an Education Officer (Formation) in the Religious Education and Spirituality Services Team at the Catholic Schools Office. It is wonderful to be back and to work with familiar faces once again, but also seeing the incredible growth and new youth in our school teaching staff. Working in this privileged space of Formation allows me to continue to work in a field that supports, invites, and encourages our schools to flourish as centres of evangelisation.
- What would you say to anyone considering entering the EMMAUS Awards?
The wonderful thing about the Emmaus awards is that they do not just simply recognise the dedicated work of our teachers, but rather all people who work in our communities that demonstrate a love and commitment for Catholic Education. If we believe that all have a role in the education of young people, and we do, then all have the capacity to transform their hearts and minds. Daniel O’Leary once commented: “our holy task is not so much to fill their heads with new information… but rather lead them, as the mother does the baby, to the edge of their own divine possibilities.” This is our call and vocation. And as a previous Emmaus recipient, I simply believed and committed myself to this cause, and I believe all have the potential to do so.