UQ Valedictorian awarded the 2021 Pre-Service teacher of the year

17 Dec 2021

Jacinta CrossUQ Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours) valedictorian Jacinta Cross was awarded the 2021 Pre-Service Teacher Award by the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) Queensland.

The award is designed to recognise the significant contributions made by an early career teacher who has completed outstanding professional experience, as well as promoting active and healthy lifestyles to the school or wider community.

Miss Cross has always had a passion for health and said teaching was the perfect outlet to share this with others to inspire healthier lifestyles.

“I love how teaching provides me with the opportunity to engage with youth and help shape future generations,” Miss Cross said.

“Engaging through authentic relationships to encourage and support others’ physical activity journeys was an added motivator in wanting to be a teacher”.

“Studying at UQ was a no-brainer because of the world-class facilities, sense of community, and structure of the courses provided in the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences - in particular throughout the BHSPE(Hons) program.”

Across Miss Cross’ participation in several extra-curricular activities and leadership experiences, one of her highlights during her time at UQ was writing a reflective essay with program convenor Dr Leigh Sperka and peer, Grace Clive that will be published soon.

The essay focuses on the value students have in collaborating with university staff members through partnerships.

“Sperka, Clive and I explored how our two student staff projects developed overtime, how they were productive, and what they taught us about students as partners,” Miss Cross said.

“Writing a paper itself was a new, exciting experience which allowed me to reflect on the tangible skills I learnt from the partnership that I can incorporate into my teaching career.”

Dr Leigh Sperka said Jacinta had made great contributions to the BHSPE(Hons) program during her time at UQ.

“These projects were just one of the many ways Jacinta helped to strengthen the BHSPE(Hons) program, and I know other BHSPE staff have also experienced her commitment to positively contributing to this program,” Dr Sperka said.

“The BHSPE team were incredibly proud when we found out that she won the 2021 ACHPER QLD Pre-Service Teacher Award and that she is one of this year’s valedictorians”.

“Jacinta truly deserves this recognition for excelling in her coursework and professional placements, and for going above and beyond during her time as a student at UQ.”