Teacher Scholarship Award

Congratulations Alannah Kassis, recipient of the 2021 Council of Catholic School Parents Pre-service Teacher Scholarship, Australian Catholic University (ACU).

Alannah is undertaking a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at ACU. Alannah spoke about her motivation to change career and become a teacher, "I love helping students, I have been tutoring students since I left school and continued tutoring when I was working in legal and marketing roles. I enjoyed working in corporate roles however it does not compare with the feeling of joy of helping students. After studying law and business as an undergraduate and working in both respective fields, I realised my true passion lies in teaching.

For parent talk Alannah.jpeg

Teaching provides me with the purpose and fulfilment that I couldn’t attain from other fields of work.

As a Catholic, I have always yearned for the ability to be a witness of God’s love and goodness with my life. I attended both a Catholic primary and secondary school, always excelling in Catholic Studies and came first in Studies of Religion in my cohort for the HSC. I always knew that I wanted to use what
God had gifted me with to make this world a better place, even in a small way. Teaching provides me with this opportunity.

I hope to provide my students with self-belief,confidence and purpose so they can reach their own potentialand cultivate the gifts that God has graced upon them. Undoubtedly, this requires me as a teacher engaging parents in their child's learning journey. It is pivotal that as a teacher I form a cooperative relationship and partnerships with the parents of my students.Building parentpartnerships as a long-term strategy for ensuring a positive classroom environment.


To additionally promote and support parent engagement for several years CCSP has provided a scholarship to a preservice teacher at Australian Catholic University (ACU).  The scholarship acts as an incentive to further their understanding and subsequent application of parent engagement in their teaching role.

Following the success of the program in 2019 CCSP established a scholarship for a pre-service teacher studying at the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA)

Congratulations to Saige Conners, recipient of the 2021 Council of Catholic School Parents Pre-service Teacher Scholarship, University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA). Saige, who received an ATAR of 97.75 in the 2020 HSC at Loreto Kirribilli, is enrolled in a Bachelor of Primary Education at UNDA. CCSP created this scholarship in 2019 to promote to future teachers the importance and subsequent application of parent and teacher engagement.

“My goal and passion since the beginning of High School has been to become a Primary School Teacher.”  

Saige recounted after Peter Grace, Executive Director, CCSP, presented her the award. UNDA hosted the Award ceremony, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus, Sydney, Professor Christine Bennett AO, Ms Hilary Johnstone-Croke, Director, UNDA, Dr Kevin Watson, Professor, School of Education, Sydney, Katrina Lee, National Director, Communications, Byron Barnes, Chief Advancement Officer, Nichole Anasson, Alumni Relations Manager, from UNDA joined Saige, her parents, Kate and Richard Conners and Grandmother Mrs Jan Conners for the ceremony.   

“After the 2020 ATAR was released, many of my friends asked would I change my mind and enrol in a different degree?  I have not wavered from my ambition to become to a teacher.

 “A teacher can aim to establish and foster high quality, positive relationships with all students, by displaying honesty, maintaining a high level of expectation and creating an atmosphere of safety and enthusiasm for learning in the school environment. “ wrote Saige in her application.

 Many positive role models have inspired Saige to become a teacher. Miss Williams, Saige’s Year One Teacher at St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School Balgowlah, encouraged her to be the best student she could be. This encouragement and support continued though secondary school at Loreto Kirribilli. “I am grateful for the great teachers, support and opportunities presented to me” said Saige. Participating in the Smith Family Student to Student Reading Program involved weekly telephone contact with disadvantaged students to listen and evaluate their reading skills and provide feedback towards improving their reading skills and confidence. 

The many teachers in Saige’s family inspired her to become a teacher. Her mother, grandmother, aunt and uncle are all teachers.  Kate, Saige's mother, attended Catholic primary and secondary schools, then studied teaching at Australian Catholic University and taught secondary students at Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich.

We look forward to Saige making a positive contribution to the noble profession of teaching.

Congratulations to Emily Swinburn recipient of 2020 Council of Catholic School Parents Pre-service Teacher Scholarship.

2020 Winner UNDA Emily Swinburn

Emily Swinburn is a Bachelor of Primary Education student at UNDA.

“I was thrilled to receive the scholarship and very honoured and humbled to be chosen out of all the other applicants,” says Emily Swinburn. “I plan to put it towards supporting my students when I begin teaching full-time.”

Emily said it was her interest in parent/teacher engagement that prompted her to apply for this scholarship. “I was pleased to find a scholarship that supports the vital relationship between parents and teachers in creating an encouraging community learning environment,” she says.

"I have been fortunate enough to observe how the relationship between the parent and teacher affects a child's learning during my previous practical experiences,” says Emily. “Last term I noticed the correlation between the success of the students learning in the class and the relationship my supervising teacher had with their parents.”



Congratulations to Veronica Ishak, recipient of the 2020 Council of Catholic School Parents Pre-service Teacher Scholarship at Australian Catholic University (ACU)

On 4 December 2020, Peter Grace and Dinidu Illangakoon, Donor Relationship Manager, Advancement & Alumni, Australian Catholic University, met with Veronica Ishak and Liz Devlin, Principal, at Mother Teresa Primary Westmead.

Veronica is one of two kindergarten teachers teaching the 60 students. Veronica is delighted she is able to continue as their teacher in 2021 when the students progress to Year One. “They are such a great bunch,” she said.  “So good, I love them.”

Veronica understands the vital link between parents and teachers and students. She explained to us how she interacted with and established relationships with parents when students were required to undertake schooling at home due to Covid-19. Mother Teresa Primary uses an interface called Sea-Saw to communicate with parents. Students' work can be uploaded to Sea-Saw to share with parents. Veronica telephoned the parent/carer of each child to introduce herself. Making the calls enabled her to better understand each child and adjust learning strategies accordingly.

We asked Veronica about some of the highlights and challenges of teaching Kindergarten at Mother Teresa Primary. She said that an early challenge was adapting to an enquiry led learning approach, rather than the teacher led learning approach of many of the existing teacher training programmes of study. Collaborating with experienced mentor teachers and the stage coordinator helped Veronica adapt to this form of teaching. Venonica was delighted to see how the students had developed during the year. “It was great to see them develop and gain independence during the year.” 


The 2019 recipient of the scholarship at ACU was Jessica Hook, a final year student hoping to teach in a Catholic primary school.


The inaugural recipient of the UNDA scholarship was Joseph Woolnough, a Bachelor of Primary Education student at UNDA’s Broadway Campus. Joseph wrote about how critical engagement and co-operation between parents and teachers is achieving positive outcomes in children’s learning, while also providing additional benefits for both parents and teachers alike.