House debates

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Statements by Members

Calwell Electorate: Robert Kumar Community Award

1:34 pm

Photo of Maria VamvakinouMaria Vamvakinou (Calwell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] I want to congratulate Val Karaitiana, the principal of Dallas Brooks Community Primary School, on receiving this year's Robert Kumar Community Award for outstanding contributions to the Hume community. The award is presented annually by Banksia Gardens Community Services. Only last week, this school was one of two in Melbourne's north that was forced to close for days as a result of the most recent COVID-19 cluster. That was just another challenge facing this school.

Not one to be deterred, Val Karaitiana's approach is to focus on opportunities for her students and their families. Val Karaitiana first arrived at the school in 1990 as a physical education teacher. Now under her leadership the school offers classes and activities for parents as well as playgroups in the community hub. During the pandemic, the school has provided food parcels and IT support for students and their families.

By bringing child care and adult education on site Val argues the school helps parents gain employment opportunities and get a deeper appreciation of education both for themselves and children. Val believes strongly in supporting her students and in needing to understand the poverty and behaviour of the families in order to allow families to go forwards. Congratulations, Val Karaitiana. Our local community is very proud of you.