News

November 20, 2020

 

Maureen Czornij

When Maureen Czornij walks out the Hunters Hill Public School gate at the end of this year, she will be closing a chapter on her teaching career, but taking lifelong memories created with children, parents and colleagues from across our community.

As one of the longest serving teachers at the school she is known for her love of literature and great ability with children – and now as a Hunters Hill Hero.

Mrs Czornij, who will retire at the end of 2020, received multiple nominations for the hero honour, with all agreeing that during her time at Hunters Hill, she is often thought of as the heart of the school.

She has taught years 3 to 6 for the past 21 years at Hunters Hill, after starting her teaching career in 1975.

She estimates about 660 children have sat in her Hunters Hill classrooms over that time.

“And during my time I’ve met the most wonderful parents, teachers and of course, the students,” she said.

“Some of those teachers I think will be lifelong friends. And parents too.”

During her time at Hunters Hill, Mrs Czornij set up debating and public speaking competitions.

She also started the Student Representative Council (SRC).

“Children are elected by their peers to sit on the council and the aim is to make the school a better place and a more friendly place for all children,” she said.

“The motto is: ‘the SRC cares about you’.”

SRC members have the opportunity to represent Hunters Hill Public outside the school on occasions such as Anzac Day.

That is a commemoration close to Mrs Czornij’s heart as her grandfather served at Gallipoli.

The Salvation Army and local retirement homes are other organisations the school has worked with on charitable pursuits, under Mrs Czornij’s guidance.

She has a love of literature and any student of Mrs Czornij will well know the book Jodie’s Journey by Colin Thiele, as it is an ‘absolute favourite’ she shares with her classes each year.

Members of the community in recent years nominated her for an inspirational teaching award through the NEiTA Foundation’s National Excellence in Teaching Awards, and now as a Hunters Hill Hero.

Amy Turner, a parent at the school, said: “Mrs Czornij is loved as much by her students past and present as the parent community of Hunters Hill.”

“Her values, teaching ability, engagement of her students, the love of reading and writing is a gift to our children that is unmeasurable.

“I have been fortunate to have her teach both of my children and I know she is the teacher that they will always talk about in years to come.”

Magdalena Tomasevic described Mrs Czornij as “a kind, dedicated teacher at Hunters Hill Public School, who is genuinely passionate about fostering a love of learning in children.”

Mrs Czornij taught all three of Lindsay Holliday’s children.

“There are always teachers we had that we remember and some because they were so wonderful,” Lindsay said.

“Maureen is that for all my children and myself as a parent.

“No child is too difficult for Maureen; no child gets left behind in their learning.

“Maureen has stayed true to good teaching laying the best foundations for learning; teaching with encouragement, respect and persistence.”

The Gregg Family described her as “the heart of the school”, while Nicole Stanmore said she was an “amazing teacher, caring, fun and passionate”.

Mrs Czornij said the Hunters Hill community was so supportive.

“It’s a beautiful school, a beautiful location.”

She said the students, if asked to describe her would say she is “firm but fair”.

“I expect a lot, I expect respect, but I give it too,” she said.

She will miss the children who have made her feel so special and valued – whether it is calling out “hello Mrs Czornij” in the playground, or writing her thank you cards, hundreds of which she received over the years, and saved.

“They make you feel special,” she said.

“And parents do too.

“We all need that in our lives.

“I feel like I’m valued.”

 

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