Human rights award

Dorothy Hoddinott AO

 

Holroyd High School principal Dorothy Hoddinott AO has won the 2014 Human Rights Medal.

Ms Hoddinott received the prestigious Human Rights Medal at an awards ceremony hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission to mark International Human Rights Day.

Secretary of the Department of Education and Communities, Dr Michele Bruniges, congratulated Ms Hoddinott on the recognition of her lifelong commitment to education, particularly for disadvantaged and refugee students.

"There could be no more deserving recipient than Dorothy Hoddinott," said Dr Bruniges.

"Throughout her career she has delivered on the essential tenet of our public education system: that all children, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserve an education that respects them and gives them the foundation they need to live the rest of their lives as active participants in society."

Ms Hoddinott said for the greater part of her career she has taught in schools "on the other side of the tracks", working with disadvantaged students, particularly students from immigrant and refugee communities.

"Almost 60 per cent of our students are of recent refugee background, many with interrupted or no schooling before they come to us, and most with experience of trauma that would be unimaginable in the mainstream Australian community.

"I have learned a lot on my almost 50 year journey in teaching: that birth, social class, wealth, ethnicity and gender should not define or limit your future."

The Human Rights Commission president, Professor Gillian Triggs, described Ms Hoddinott's contributions to the well-being of her students as life-changing.

"Dorothy's focus on helping disempowered and previously illiterate students enjoy success in their schooling is inspiring," Professor Triggs said.

"Dorothy's success at Holroyd High provides a very practical model for teachers and schools across the country as they work with students from refugee and disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Dorothy has shown us how to help these students, how we can give them hope, give them education opportunities, and help refugee and disadvantaged students become hard-working, motivated and resilient Australian citizens."

Professor Triggs paid tribute to all of the winners and finalists for the 2014 Human Rights Awards, presented on December 10 at a self-funded awards ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Secretary of the Department, Dr Michele Bruniges, congratulated Ms Hoddinott on the recognition of her lifelong commitment to education, particularly for disadvantaged and refugee students.

"There could be no more deserving recipient than Dorothy Hoddinott," said Dr Bruniges.

"Throughout her career she has delivered on the essential tenet of our public education system: that all children, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserve an education that respects them and gives them the foundation they need to live the rest of their lives as active participants in society."

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