22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110

News

September 4, 2020

Kathy Hristofski

Colleagues describe her as a person who can change your child’s life and it is her passion for teaching both inside and outside the classroom that has earned Kathy Hristofski recognition as a Hunters Hill Hero.

Presently in her 33rd year as a teacher at Boronia Park Public School, Kathy is now guiding the education of the children of many of her former students.

“She is amazing … what she does for the kids here,” Kathy’s colleague of 11 years Kerrie O’Brien said.

“She always goes that extra mile.

“She is a dedicated teacher that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

“Kathy is the kind of human that can change your child’s life.”

Kathy is passionate about the arts and it shines through in programs and activities she has led at the school.

They include writing competitions, including one formerly run through Taronga Zoo, which under the direction of Kathy’s creative flair earned the school’s creative presentation a win three years in a row.

She also works with students to coordinate entries for Hunter’s Hill Council’s Young in Art exhibition, including a previous, very memorable, entry of an ibis sculpture made from recycled materials, including coffee cups for feathers.

Kathy also coordinated the school’s entries to eisteddfods for many years, significantly increasing participation numbers and broadening performance repertoires to include poetry, monologues, dialogues and skits.

She has shared her knowledge at other schools too, running a gifted and talented art program for students during a one-year teaching exchange in Auburn West.

A keen interest in animal welfare also shines through both at school and beyond.

Instead of accepting an end-of-year thank you gift from her students and their parents, Kathy asks classes to give to charitable causes such as animal welfare or drought relief.

She is a life member of the RSPCA and has organised animal welfare talks for students, as well as fundraising drives at school to donate food, toys and other items for dogs and cats.

She is a dog lover and has rescued many strays.

“The dogs always find me!” Kathy said.

Her love of animals is well known to many – students are always eager to let Miss Hristofski know when a new pet joins the family.

“There’s an unwritten law at school,” she said.

“When anybody gets a new puppy they come over and feel they need to show me.”

Outside of the classroom she has also, over the years, run vacation care groups and been an international-level gymnastics coach and judge.

Kathy also offers great support to her teaching peers.

Kerrie said she felt this very personally when she received a brain cancer diagnosis two years ago, and Kathy immediately stepped up to help Kerrie’s family and colleagues.

“I was here one day teaching … and in surgery six days later,” Kerrie said.

“We’re a very tight teaching staff here at Boronia Park.

“She (Kathy) was amazing.

“She saw morale of staff was very low at that point. She took it upon herself to do well-being days.

“She did ice cream days for staff. She put messages of faith in people’s lockers.

“It did have a big impact.”

Kathy joined the school aged in her 20s.

“I can officially say I’ve grown up at Boronia Park,” she said.

Her love of teaching still shines through.

She has a passion for imparting knowledge to children, which has spanned the decades.

“I’m now teaching the children of the children,” Kathy said.

“I don’t think we’ve got to the grandchildren yet!”

Her community service was recognised early on.

In 1984, Kathy received the Hunters Hill Young Citizen Award.

Coincidentally the 2020 Young Citizen of the Year, Jordyn Richards, is one of her past students.

Kathy is presently working four days a week as part of transition to retirement.

She is using some of her extra time to further explore her love of art, primarily watercolours.

As to when she will know it is time to exit the classroom – that is still to be determined.

“When I’m in my room with my kids I really enjoy that time,” Kathy said.

“I enjoy watching that little spark in their head when they’re ‘oh, I get it’.”

“To me, you leave when you’re bored or not motivated.

“And I have to say, school is a very changing place.

“And I often would take up a lot of different roles over the years.

“So I can’t ever remember being bored.”

 

Help us to shine a light on other unsung Hunters Hill Heroes by nominating your hero today.

Please note that nominations for Hunters Hill Heroes will be considered for Citizen of the Year awards.

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Hunter’s Hill Council

22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400