“Mary is a great inspiration and offers encouragement for her fellow workers and classmates” said trainer Alison in the nomination.
The Anne Pennington Award celebrates adult learners who show exceptional dedication to learning new skills, teamwork and helping others, as well as persistence to overcome personal difficulties. The award was handed to Mary by Mr. Docker, the brother of the late Anne Pennington.
The other nominees included April Tuddenham, Brigitte McCarthy, Brydie Kensington, Chase Miller, Greg Schilg, Julie Perry, Kathryn Crowley, Lisa Judge and Virginia Robazzini. They all have inspirational stories of their motivation and ability to learn, and how they have overcome personal difficulties.
They are shining examples of the thousands of adults across our region – many with learning difficulties, disabilities, or other barriers – who start or get back to learning later in life.
The event also marked the 60th anniversary of The Centre and the opening of the Curtis Commemorative Garden.
The Centre was the first community college in regional Victoria. It was started in response to people in the community who expressed their need for a place to meet and learn. The Centre was officially opened in 1962 by Mr. McDonnell, the Director of Education, and appointed Mr. Colin Cave as its first Executive Officer.
While it still offers courses to improve basic skills for life and work, such as literacy and numeracy, it now also offers short courses and nationally recognised certificate qualifications that people need for jobs in the region, as well as support and mentoring that enables people to overcome barriers to participating in training or finding and sustaining employment.
For instance, The Centre now offers tailored programs for people who have cognitive or intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties, and people who have come out of the justice system.
Ms. Sue Geals, Chief Executive Officer said: “It is a joy to celebrate 60 years of this remarkable place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their background or history, and where people receive support and training to successfully overcome barriers, learn new skills, and participate actively in work and society.
And we say a huge thank you to the Curtis Family for their donation, and to Toil and Soil, Park Lane Nursery and the Hume Region Community Work Program for their help in creating the Curtis Commemorative Garden, a space for our students and local organisations.”