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Shae wins Best Whitsunday Teacher poll
Nothing makes Shae Patterson happier than watching the students she helps every day flourish and bloom in the best version of themselves.
It's her love for each and every member of the schooling community that shot her to the top of the Whitsunday Times' favourite teacher poll.
The Support Officer at St Catherine's Catholic College said she was "overwhelmed and blown away" by the positive response that saw her win.
"Honestly, just to be nominated by the community is such an amazing feeling - but to win is just amazing," she said.
"It really makes the work you do feel recognised. I feel so valued and honoured by the community."
"Support Officers might not be strictly teachers, but it makes you feel like such an important part of the education process be recognised like this."
"I've always been drawn to this line of work. I took the leap almost a decade ago after spending years in hospitality and now they would have to carry me out of here kicking and screaming. I love the school and the job."
Ms Patterson said she treated her students as if they were her own, emotionally investing herself in their progress and development.
She said giving every child access to a great education was important to her, joking she gets as involved in her students' activities as she does with her own children.
"All of the Support Officers love our kids like they're our own kids," she said.
"I'm a mum of two kids that go to the school. Sometimes I get as emotional watching my students hit milestones and achieving their goals as my own kids."
"I have watched these amazing students start n Prep and they're now in high school. It's so rewarding."
Barb Parkinson, a fellow Support Officer at St Catherine's Catholic College, said she "wasn't surprised" Ms Patterson was voted the highest.
"She's just amazing. She goes above and beyond for not just her students, but the whole school community," she said.
Ms Patterson said her network of Support Officers and St Catherine's staff continued to make her job "fun every day".
"The more you enjoy the people around you, the better working is," she said.
"It's an amazing environment to be in and it really encourages you to give your all."
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