At the recent Urangan State High School awards night there was a special guest in the audience to see, Alex Qiang, the recipient of “The Wallace Award” and the “ADF Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork Award”. That visitor was his first teacher in Australia, Michelle Tudman from Kawungan State School. Michelle came along to watch Alex, our school captain and former Kawungan State School Captain, receive several awards and to congratulate him on how far he had come.
Alex arrived at Kawungan State School from China in October 2005 in year 3. He could speak no English. Alex remembers Mrs Tudman as caring, helpful and supportive. Michelle says Alex was shy and very quiet. In fact they communicated with the help of a Chinese dictionary. By the end of 2005 Alex had made so much progress that he not only was allowed to move to year 4 but was communicating fluently with his peers and teachers. It was difficult to believe he had only been speaking English for a few months. Mrs Tudman remembers Alex was always good at maths. She was constantly raising the bar and looking for more challenging mathematical exercises for Alex to complete. This is still true today, so much so, Alex is planning to study to be an actuary at University of Melbourne next year.
During his time at Urangan State High School Alex has been very active in the school community, involving himself in our Human Powered Vehicle team, Clean-up Australia Day, 30km Kokoda Challenge Brisbane, representing the school at ANZAC ceremonies and other official events and more importantly being an excellent role model to his peers. In the classroom Alex is diligent and thoughtful and is always eager to learn more. This has attributed to his success both in and out of the classroom.
The bond was obvious to see when Alex and Michelle were together. If it was not for teachers like Michelle students like Alex may fall through the cracks. It is warming to see such a strong and lasting relationship between student and teacher. It is a privilege to meet a teacher like Michelle who is still so interested in the success of her past students.