TAFE NSW Orange Hospitality teacher John Olewicz has been recognised as one of the leading teachers in the country after being announced as a finalist in the Tourism and Hospitality and Catering Institute of Australia Awards in the category of Teacher/Trainer of the Year.
A humble Mr Olewicz, who has been a teacher at TAFE for 29 years, said the announcement came as a huge but pleasant surprise.
“When I found out that I was a finalist it was a complete shock,” he said. “We don’t teach for these types of accolades, but I’m very honoured to even be considered in such prestigious company because there are some really fantastic teachers in our industry across the country.”
Hospitality and Tourism Head Teacher Lesley Smith, who put Mr Olewicz forward for the award, said the recognition was earned, describing her colleague as one of the most talented and hard-working teachers in the industry.
“John creates a learning environment that allows his students to really excel,” Ms Smith said. “He is innovative, challenges his students to be the best they can be, all while helping them develop international level skills.
“We’re really lucky to have a wonderful team of talented teachers in Orange who respect John as our longest-serving team member. Becoming a finalist in one of the most prestigious awards in our industry is reward for a teacher who is highly respected by his peers and students alike.”
Mr Olewicz estimates in his time at TAFE he has taught more than 2,500 students, and is still as passionate today about helping them succeed as he was when he first started way back in 1988.
“Everything we do is about the students,” he said. “Helping them succeed is the reason we get out of bed in the morning.
“Watching students develop is very satisfying and there’s no better place to experience the best hands-on learning environment than TAFE.”
Tourism and Hospitality and Catering Institute of Australia Award winners will be announced at a special presentation at The Grace Hotel in Sydney on Wednesday, June 21.