10 May 2023

Life-changing teacher recognised with award

| Matt Nicholls
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Award winner Michael Brooker (maroon shirt) with friends and colleagues at the Noreen Wilcox Awards in Cairns last week.

MICHAEL Brooker is walking proof that you don’t need to have a traditional pathway to become a teacher that makes a great impact on students.

Mr Brooker, or “Kimba” as he is best known around town, was last week announced as a worthy winner at the prestigious Noreen Wilcox Awards.

One of the most popular members of the Western Cape College staff, Mr Brooker has spent almost two decades at the school, largely teaching senior students automotive skills.

He has been a pioneer for the state’s education system in many ways.

Mr Brooker was such a natural with the kids that the school had to fight to get him working as a teacher because he held no formal education qualifications.

But his success story has paved the way for others who have become teachers from non-traditional backgrounds.

The humble Mr Brooker played down his achievement but said he was proud to work at a great school with a lot of eager students.

“Work is work but I can honestly say I still love going to work every day,” he said.

“It’s great seeing these kids go on to bigger things.”

Mr Brooker pointed towards Weipa local Jai Christie, who was once a teenager in his class.

“He now has his own company in Weipa and is teaching his own young apprentices. That’s something you appreciate,” he said.

“There have been a lot of kids who have come through my class and gone on to be superintendents on the mine or been successful in other areas.

“That’s what it’s all about.”

Western Cape College associate principal Dan Tonon congratulated Mr Brooker and the school’s other teachers who were nominated for awards.

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