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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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1 May, 2020

LSS welcomes new principal and teacher

LONGREACH State Primary School welcomed two new members into the school’s faculty family at the beginning of term two — principal Paul Wells and instrumental teacher Genevieve Birch.

By Hamish Hart

A sweet welcome…(from left) instrumental teacher Genevieve Birch and principal Paul Wells welcomed into Longreach State Primary School.

Their introduction of Longreach and their new school was “different” - starting well after the school year commenced and in the middle of health crisis complete with school closures and social distancing.

Mr Wells began teaching in 2002 at Mossman State School, acquiring the roles of teacher and principal at various state schools including Edge Hill, Mundubbera, Gordonvale, and Merinda before moving to Longreach where staff and students had been most welcoming.

“All the staff and students are lovely. I feel right at home,” Mr Wells said. “I became an educator because I enjoy helping students and love the joy factor in the room when watching them grow.

“I believe hard work always pays off and I encourage questions so they know how to grow and learn. While I may not have all the answers to their questions, it means I get to grow along with them.”

Mr Wells said because he and his wife came from regional communities, the decision to apply for the Longreach job was an easy one and they are eager to become further involved in the community once the current climate subsides.

“I applied to come here because the country lifestyle is what my wife and I are about, plus we like the warm weather,” Mr Wells said.

“Locals are helpful. Even with social distancing restrictions they like to have a chat. We have dogs so we give them walks while watching the sunset.

“We haven’t had much of a chance to explore the area but we want to engage with the community when the restrictions ease, especially by playing touch and golf.”

Genevieve Birch is the region’s new instrumental teacher but because of the coronavirus restrictions she is unable to travel to surrounding schools including Blackall and Ilfracombe.

Before coming to Longreach Miss Birch taught at schools in southern Queensland including Redlands and the Sunshine Coast.

Miss Birch said her inspiration to become a teacher was heavily influenced by educators in her past and her passion for music.

“I’m the only musician in my family funnily enough,” Miss Birch said. “I play a little bass guitar and woodwind, but mainly saxophone.

“I remember how everybody felt loved going to class with a teacher I had. I wanted to become a teacher because of the inspiring ones I’ve had over the years.

“Most kids do music to play in a band and to share with an audience. It’s about that sense of coming together for something bigger than yourself.”

Miss Birch believes students shouldn’t be cautious about trying new things and should never second guess or doubt their talent.

“It’s about providing every student with a sense of achievement and to make them feel better in themselves,” Miss Birch said. “If any student feels they aren’t good enough, that shouldn’t stop them. They should give it a go.”

While she was concerned to come here because of people’s natural distrust of travellers due to Covid-19, Miss Birch said she was grateful for the positive welcome she had received from staff, students, and the local community.

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