Collingwood College\'s Kitchen Specialist Desley Insall awarded for excellence


The 2008 National Awards for Quality Schooling were announced on 4 June. Desley Insall, the Kitchen Specialist at the first Kitchen Garden school, Collingwood College, is one of only seven people from around Australia to win in the category of Excellence by a Support Staff Member, and was Highly Commended in the area of Health and Welfare. The Award recognises the incredible commitment Desley makes every day to her students, and the professional dedication she brings to the best-practice Kitchen Garden Program. Through her delicious menus, her creativity, the welcoming home-style kitchen space and her nurturing of a dedicated team of volunteers, Desley has set a benchmark for excellence for Kitchen Garden programs around Victoria.

Desley says the experience of being in Canberra to receive the award was overwhelming, nerve-racking and wonderful. "The Honourable Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister, made a brilliant speech about how the Federal Government values teachers and how proud they are of us. Each winner was introduced by the previous year's winners, who reinforced the value of the award and how proud we should be to receive it. They also talked about the professional opportunities opened to them by winning - many have presented at master classes and workshops, and have been invited to speak at schools all over the country."

The winners made presentations to the room, which enabled Desley to speak about the Kitchen Garden Program to many other interested school staff from all over Australia who are enthusiastic about implementing the Program in their own schools.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to present and promote what we're doing. Most people I talked to were already following the Kitchen Garden story and wanted to know how they could start it in their school. There were people from secondary schools who wanted to know more so they could do it themselves, and even some who were interested in how it could be incorporated into their VET programs. It was fantastic to hear about other great teaching going on around the country, and fabulous that so many others want to know about we're doing.

It was a really special experience and I was honoured to accept the award on behalf of Collingwood College and the Kitchen Garden Program."

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation wholeheartedly congratulates Desley on her well-deserved win.

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