EdConnect Volunteer, Joan Keating was presented with an award of excellence during her 80th birthday celebration at Wallington Primary School on Friday, the 20th of September to acknowledge her volunteering commitment with EdConnect Australia for the past 10 years.

The doors at Wallington Primary School lay wide open as the Ballerine weather created a balmy presence for the last assembly before school holidays. Students and staff gathered to present Joan with a book of homemade cards that students created in appreciation for her commitment to the school.

Joan Keating has been volunteering with EdConnect Australia for ten years following a long career in teaching. Now a widow, she says, “It’s a part of my life – I don’t ever think about not going in. It’s a huge help to be a part of something and to interact with children again.”

Jack Stevens, a Grade 5-6 Teacher at Wallington PS has been on the receiving end of Joan’s service as she supported his class during his first year of teaching. Six years on, she still volunteers in his classroom. “Joan has personally been a great support over the years, she is always enthusiastic and shows a real interest in my professional development in the teaching career. Joan has also been a great help with the students as she is a consistent adult who they can rely on.”

Joan loves seeing the students’ progress through each school each year. She regularly reminisces on the positive growth of students who she has worked with from Pre Primary to Grade 6. A highlight for her this year was being invited to a student’s grade 6 graduation of whom she supported years ago.

During the assembly, Wallington Primary School Principal, Glen Lauder spoke highly of Joan’s assistance to the school and the fondness the students have for her. Upon accepting the gifts and recognition, Joan was overcome with joy around the celebration. “It’s a labour of love. It’s an absolute delight to be a part of the school community as a volunteer,” says Keating.

EdConnect Liaison Officer, Sally Edgerton says, “It was obvious to see the value that Wallington PS places on Joan’s character and involvement in the school. It was also clear to see how much volunteering means to Joan.”

EdConnect Australia trains and places volunteers in local schools to support students who need additional support in the school system. More information about how you can get involved in your community, helping young people thrive, can be found on EdConnect Australia’s website at www.edconnectaustralia.org.au.

Joan has two words for anyone considering volunteering in schools – “Do it”.