Gethrude Waneng wanted to become a teacher to inspire young people and be a role model. She aims to show her students “that through commitment in education they can make a difference”.

After completing a Bachelor of Education, (Secondary Teaching STEM) at St Peter Chanel Catholic College for Secondary Teacher Education through an Australia Awards scholarship, she now teaches at Kwip Dau Secondary School in the Western Highlands. Gethrude loves being a teacher as she learns so many new things. Being in a remote area, in a new school without teaching resources can be challenging, but she takes pride in achieving her daily lesson objectives and seeing her students do well in tests and exams.

“The word ‘thank you’ is a great reward,” she says.

One of her most memorable and awarding moments was when a Year 11 student introduced Gethrude to her mother, “telling her that I am her favourite teacher and in front of her she hugged me. Then she said ‘thank you for being an inspiring teacher’. She meant it because she nearly cried.”

Gethrude believes the Australia Awards scholarship “catalyzed the process of achieving (her) degree paper which might otherwise be delayed or altered due to finance”. She also believes that through commitment in all aspects of life, we can all achieve more than we expect to.

“In this changing world, I believe in one person’s effort to make a difference, and have a positive impact on someone else’s life”, she says. “The more you share with others, the more you have,” she says, a quote from Mother Theresa who inspires her. Along with: “Kind words can be short and easy, but their echoes are truly endless.”

Gethrude advises others considering an application to study in Papua New Guinea through Australia Awards: “If you have a heart to serve our country with pride to make positive impact, then do apply”.