If you’re a parent who uses the Forrest Road cross-walk to get to school in the mornings, you will have met Diana, our new cross-walk traffic warden. She has taken on the role now that Max has retired, and she reflected on her first few days in the job, saying:
Never mind “Where’s Wally? Everyone asks me, “Where’s Max?”
She has a quirky sense of humour and a ready smile, quickly adding glowing comments about the “lovely polite students and friendly parents” whom she has met already.
It’s Diana’s interest in being involved in the Margaret River community, of helping families, and her connection with students that led her to this role. Retired now, her career over many years centred around education and supporting students with special needs through her many roles as Teacher, Deputy and Principal, both nationally and internationally.
She embraces new opportunities with a refreshing sense of adventure, balancing hard work and challenging situations over the years with her love of music (singing in an acapello group, playing the ukeleli and performing at functions), her love of gardening (in her own beautiful patch in Margaret River, belonging to the Mediterranean Garden Club, and having her Indigenous Community School Garden featured in an early Peter Cundell ABC Gardening show), and through her ongoing commitment to education.
This commitment has seen Diana work in challenging schools in our Mid-West; three stints at Indigenous Community schools in W.A; taken her to Africa: to Lesotho, Malawi and Somalia; to Christmas Island, where she worked with students and trained local people; to Darwin, where she trained Indigenous teachers and to where her adventures began, in Papua New Guinea.
She tells the story of how as a young twenty-three year old teacher, she left for a year in Papua New Guinea and stayed for ten. She was inspired by the job – educating the first females to attend school in the Fly River region of New Guinea.
“I found myself in Daru in the mouth of the Fly River in a dugout with bananas over my shoulder, trying to encourage parents to send their daughters to school for the first time. At the time I didn’t think about the fact that there were crocodiles and other dangers in the river…”
And so, in retirement, Diana is now embarking on a quieter adventure, steering our students and their parents safely through the traffic on Forrest Road with a welcoming face and a big smile, and always with that quirky sense of fun.
Written, photos and posted by D. Veary