Barton’s principle to MSC students: Cherish the friendships that will be with you forever

LIKE many residents in the district, it was the heart that led Moree Secondary College’s Carol Ave campus principal Paula Barton back to Moree.

As a young teaching graduate fresh out of university, she not only found her future husband, Lance, in Moree but a career spanning decades, enriching the lives of local youth.

“I always wanted to be a teacher – it’s a profession in which we have the immense privilege of changing lives through education,” Paula said.

“Education does not always have to be through a formal lesson, but in helping students to realise their capabilities and strive to be responsible, moral citizens of the world in which we live.”

Paula, born in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley and educated mostly on the Darling Downs, moved to Moree initially in her mid-teens when her family transferred for work.

Moree quickly became ‘home’, and Paula returned to the region as a young teaching graduate.

Moree Secondary College Carol Ave campus principal Paula Barton with school students (Image: Georgina Poole).

“I’ve had the privilege of calling Moree my hometown since 1982, and I have a loyalty to Moree, and our school, because this is my home,” she said.

Paula believes it’s this personal investment in the community that sets her high standards as a principal.

An active community member, contributing to the local Rotary Club and president of the Catholic Pastoral Council, she acknowledges that “it’s important to me that I do the absolute best I can to uphold the values of our community, and my family”.

“Moree has been so good to both my family and me, and I love being part of this great town. It’s a huge responsibility to be shaping the future generations of our fabulous region, and it’s one I do not take lightly,” she said.

Having held the position of principal at the Carol Avenue campus for the past ten years, Paula believes the wonderful care within the staff – for each other and the students – is a huge credit to the school.

“I also love the fact that our school welcomes a diversity of students from all backgrounds, abilities and interests,” Paula said.

“Our students are what makes our school and they are the reason why we are all here.

“I encourage our Year 12 students to work as hard as they can, because although the year is but a fleeting moment, it has the potential to shape the rest of their life.

“And I look at our lovely graduating Year 12 students each year, and remind the students to cherish these friendships, as they are the ones that will be with them forever.”

Words and Image: Georgina Poole