Karen James of Parkes received the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award at the Regional NSW Training Award presentations in Dubbo this week.
Karen completed Certificate III in Educational Support - Teachers Aide Special by flexible delivery with TAFE NSW Western Institute's Parkes College. This is the third time Karen has been recognised with an award since completing her TAFE course in 2007. She received a special award at the Parkes TAFE College Graduation and then a prestigious TAFE NSW Outstanding Graduating Student Award.
During her course she was pregnant with her sixth child but nevertheless achieved outstanding results in her studies. Her teacher Margaret Jones described her work as exceptional and said "She is the best student I have ever had, enthusiastic, completing her work to very high standards. Karen was always interested and wanting to learn more."
Karen is active in the Parkes community and is voluntarily involved with the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. At her children's school she helps with the NAIDOC Week celebrations, the Rocket Reading Program and the Aboriginal Homework Centre.
Her family's interest in sport have also involved her in fundraising and coaching for swimming, cricket, baton twirling and soccer. She is manager of her daughter's hockey team, finds time to support her son's football team as well as helping with canteens and fundraising.
Adrian Mitchell, Director TAFE NSW Western Institute congratulates Karen on her achievements. He said, "The Training Awards celebrate excellence in vocational education and training, and highlight the benefits of vocational qualifications for individuals, communities and industry"
"Karen's achievements with her TAFE study present a fine example of how people of all ages can enrich their lives by participating in education and training", Mr Mitchell said.
Karen's application for the NSW training Awards has been supported by TAFE NSW Western Institute, and following her success at the Regional Awards she will be considered for a State award which will be announced at a gala presentation dinner at the Sydney Convention Centre on 4 September 2008 hosted by the NSW Minister for Education and Training.