Congratulations to Frank Pearce, this year’s recipient of the Brother John Taylor Award. The prestigious award for excellence in Catholic Education was awarded to Frank yesterday at a ceremony attended by family, friends and colleagues. The formalities commenced with a performance by Aboriginal dancers who much to the delight of the audience encouraged some to participate in the Kangaroo and Emu dances!
The award is sponsored by the Catholic Education Commission and was presented by Bishop Anthony Fisher, Chair of the CEC. Bishop Fisher spoke about the outstanding contribution that Frank has made to Catholic Education. During his time at the CEC, where Frank works as the State Coordinator for Aboriginal Education, enrolment of Aboriginal students has doubled. While Bishop Fisher made the comment that this is not due to Frank’s efforts alone, where Frank has particularly excelled is in building confidence in the Catholic education system amongst Aboriginal parents and communities. Importantly, Frank has also built capacity within the Catholic school system so that schools are welcoming and encouraging places for Aboriginal students.
Bishop Fisher said “Frank is the real deal…He is humble, but also tenacious and fearless in the interests of Aboriginal students.” He also commented on how Frank’s unique story inspires so many. Frank has worked in diverse roles such as a bus driver; for the Commonwealth Employment Services and now in education. Frank did not finish his secondary education until his thirties. Since then he has also gained a degree in Adult Education and has recently completed a Masters degree. As well as his role at CEC Frank lectures at the School of Education at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney. As Bishop Fisher said Frank influences and inspires a lot of people.
From all of us at the ACM we add our voice to the chorus of congratulations. This is a well deserved honour. We commend Frank for his excellent work and for his personal commitment and passion most particularly working for Aboriginal students and Aboriginal educators. There are also many things that Frank quietly does such as mentoring young people. He is not a person who ‘big notes’ himself or tells everybody all that he’s doing; he just gets on and does it! Frank is a person who stands up for what he believes in no matter what the personal cost and he has made a significant difference to the lives of many.