The 2023 Docemus Awards celebrated seven stand-out staff from the Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns community.
Held at the recently redeveloped Hugh O’Brien Centre at St Mary’s Catholic College, the Docemus Awards were presented on the Friday night of Catholic Education Week as a culmination of the week’s celebrations.
Founded by former Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns Director Tom Doolan and meaning ‘to teach’, the awards acknowledge and recognise the unwavering commitment, achievements and exceptional contribution to Catholic Education by staff, volunteers and supporters.
“The highlight of Catholic Education Week is the Docemus Awards, which honour the dedication and professionalism of our staff and those who support us in a voluntary capacity,” said Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns Executive Director Bill Dixon.
“The list of recipients this year is just as impressive as past years, and we were touched and moved by the recipients’ stories as they stepped forward to receive their awards.”
The 2023 Docemus Award recipients are:
- Primary Teacher: Elizabeth Chapman, Holy Cross School, Trinity Park
- Secondary Teacher: Dwayne Miller, St Stephen’s Catholic College, Mareeba
- Early Career Teacher: Nathan Zahra, St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch
- School Officer: Brent Van Dam, St Mary’s Catholic College, Woree
- Volunteer: Riona Thistlethwaite, St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch
- Leadership: Larissa Nolan, St Monica’s College, Cairns
- Lifelong Contribution: Eileen Bressington, St Monica’s College, Cairns
Brent Van Dam was also recognised as the only recipient this year from Cairns to receive a prestigious Spirit of Catholic Education Award (SOCE Award). The Queensland Catholic Education Commission SOCE Awards are presented annually to recognise individuals or teams making an outstanding contribution to Catholic education in Queensland.
Brent’s strong connection with the Catholic education community, coupled with his caring nature and love of hospitality, has made an enormous difference in the lives of many at St Mary’s Catholic College, Woree.
From providing programs for students in need, to delivering meals to the homeless through Rosie’s Outreach Program, Brent has always found a way to volunteer his time for the greater good. Never seeking praise, recognition, or attention for the incredible work he does, Brent goes about his business in a humble manner and espouses gospel values throughout.
And as the celebrations concluded for another Catholic Education Week, we are reminded that the call to serve is what makes us different in our Catholic education community. This call is our reason for establishing ‘Communities of Faith, Hope and Love’ where every person is permitted to grow and flourish in their faith and their life.
To find out more about Catholic Education Week and the SOCE Awards, go to the Catholic Education Week website.