Shona McKinlay loved growing up in Wingham but moved to Queensland in 1981 to become a teacher. She admits the experience was “pretty scary” but also exciting and today she still calls the Sunshine State home.
Venturing far from home hasn’t held her back and despite facing a few challenges along the way, last month Shona, now a secondary school principal, was named one of Redcliffe’s 30 most influential people.
An initiative of the Redcliffe and Bayside Herald, the Redcliffe Power 30 shines a light on community members who have gone above and beyond to effect change.
Shona made the list, at number 16, in part for being instrumental in the ‘Respect Commit to it’ project which has now been adopted by all Redcliffe and Deception Bay state schools. The project aims to teach and encourage parents and staff to be respectful.
”The respect project was brought about because of the lack of respect some adults were demonstrating in dealing with the schools in our area,” Shona said.
“It is something that all services are experiencing, for example ambulance, police, hospital etc.
“It is interesting to note that the NSW Education Department has just introduced a Parent Code of Conduct across all public schools - they are experiencing exactly the same issues as we are.”
Shona is modest about making the list.
“If it brings attention to the respect project I am happy. I think there are more worthy people than me who were not recognised…but I am still pretty proud.”
For the girl who graduated from Wingham High School and moved away, the friendly town holds some wonderful memories.
“I loved growing up in Wingham, my mum’s family was big and they were always around for you, you also didn’t get away with too much because of that as well.
“My friends were all the same as me and we got up to some great things but we also got up to some mischief as well - they were fun times…you always felt like you belonged.”
For further information on the Repect Project go to www.sites.google.com/site/respectcommittoit or the Facebook page Respect Project - Commit To It.