St Francis Xavier School community celebrated with Joy Kelly on Monday evening when she retired after 35 years as Aboriginal education worker in Lake Cargelligo.
‘Aunty’ Joy, known to her students as Miss Joy, joined the school family in 1986 and was employed by Sr Carmel. She worked with Irene Kelly as Aboriginal education assistants in classes supporting teachers including Sr Naomi, Sr Kathleen, Sr Carmel, Margaret Evans and Doreen Orr.
Joy supported staff and families in a kind, caring and respectful way, helping to make learning enjoyable and exciting. She also supported classroom teachers and students with additional needs.
Joy said she had enjoyed the years with staff, parents and students working together as a community.
“The opportunities to attend Aboriginal education retreats with other Aboriginal education workers from schools throughout the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese and other schools in NSW was a real highlight for me,” she said.
Joy is a published author of one of the Indig Series stories, ‘The Min Min’. This series provided the opportunity to experience culture, heritage and history through shared stories. Joy said it was a highlight to travel to Melbourne to celebrate publication of the series.
St Francis Xavier Principal Jacinta Elwin acknowledged the special role Joy has played in the school and parish community.
“Joy’s dedication and commitment to Catholic education has been evident, ensuring our school has a family feeling and helping to make everyone feel that they belong,” she said.
“Joy has been the face of Jesus to many students as she shared the love, forgiveness, and gentleness of Jesus in her vocation in education.”
Aboriginal education consultants Kerry O’Callaghan and Katrina Cambridge travelled from Canberra to acknowledge Joy’s many years of service.