A dedicated school volunteer
SHE’S a teacher, a teacher who teaches teachers, and until this month, a volunteer in the education system.
Tyrendarra’s Karensa Smith is stepping down as president of Portland Secondary College’s school council after many years of dedicated service to the school.
Her youngest of two children, daughter Zarly, finished year 12 at the school last year, so it was time for her to refocus on new things now, Mrs Smith said.
“For as long as my children have been involved in education I’ve been involved in whatever was going on basically,” Mrs Smith said.
“I was on the kindergarten committee at Kalbarri (Portland), then Narrawong primary school and at Portland Secondary College.
“I have helped out wherever I can, whether it was with reading in primary school, on school camps, or for athletics days.
“I don’t think I feel like I do any more or less than anyone else, but have the time and the inclination to do it.”
Portland Secondary College has been through several changes during the past few years, including – in the physical space – the creation of the Re-engagement Centre and the refurbishment of a section of the school to create the junior wing.
“I was on the sidelines with the establishment of re-engagement centre, and it was really exciting for me to see that coming to fruition.
“There were battles we had trying to get finance for it, but you want everyone in the community to have opportunity.”
A fire also damaged part of the school and created some disruption on campus before normalcy could return.
“I haven’t been involved to be a part of the big things, it’s more about the little things such as getting to know what makes the school tick, and getting to know the teachers, and I can now explain to children how the school operates as well,” she said.
She said one of her most enjoyable volunteering roles at PSC had been helping out in the canteen, where you were able to interact with students and teachers “at the coalface.”
Mrs Smith was careful to note that she was just playing a small part alongside other volunteers and hard-working staff and community members, and said important things couldn’t have been achieved without the support of volunteers.
“Schools and kinders can’t run without these committees; if no-one steps up they’re in strife, and schools also need the parent perspective to keep balance.”
She encouraged others who had the time to support their school to jump in and give it a go.
“If we all sit back and say it’s someone else’s job, things wouldn’t get done.
“You need people to say maybe it can be my job for a while.
“Getting that insight into your child’s education and being able to influence that is also terrific,” she said.