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Finalist — John Aloizos



At almost every Yeronga State High School event for the past decade, John Aloizos has been the first person to arrive and the last person to leave.

His steadfast commitment to his school and students through his management of a Stage Crew has quietly changed lives, keeping some pupils, who otherwise might have disengaged from their schooling, in education.

Mr Aloizos’s enormous contribution to Yeronga State High School (YSHS) and his deep care for students are just some of the reasons he is a finalist for the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.

Students at Yeronga come from more than 60 cultural backgrounds. Many are the children of immigrants and refugees who have English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) and Mr Aloizos, whose parents were both immigrants, remembers his father learning English through watching movies and reading comics.

As a child he endured his own learning difficulties, with his parents paying for additional tuition and speech therapy.

“I struggled throughout my own schooling, not always achieving my goals the first time around but [I] always knew the endgame did not need to be immediate. That struggle pays off when you’re helping students begin to understand their journey as well,” Mr Aloizos said.

He has worked at four different schools, acting as head of various departments, starting up photography programs and Drumline groups and participating in Y-Connect research carried out by Griffith University. He researches internationally to ensure his classes use contemporary technical practices and links his students with Drama Queensland.

Colleagues have praised the difference he has made, and the career paths he has helped carve out, for students in his Stage Crew.

A student’s first test in the crew is to roll extension leads and audio cords with a senior student in the program instructing them. This allows the senior to see how far they have come and the junior to see the confidence and skills they can accumulate, simultaneously growing the confidence of both.

“I just love watching that interaction. What I love about the program is that these students begin to feel comfortable about themselves and they begin to realise that they do make a difference to the functioning of the school,” the English and Drama teacher said.

His Stage Crew students learn to work stage, lighting and sound equipment for school assemblies, performing arts events, multicultural festivals and sports carnivals. As their confidence grows, they even began to do work for external groups with the school’s equipment and are left to run them themselves with Mr Aloizos just a phone call away. Their skills and Mr Aloizos’s leadership ensures every event and function at YSHS is at a professional level.

Stage Crew students have gone on to other opportunities including a student now working at the University of Queensland, but it is their personal growth that makes Mr Aloizos proudest.

“What they walk away with is a stronger understanding of who they are and what they want to do with themselves,” he says.

Mr Aloizos, who is also a curriculum leader in the Arts and Humanities at YSHS, brings in historians for Romans Day, and organises guest speakers and artist collaborations to engage students. He also supports aspiring teachers, taking on preservice (student) teachers every year.

The winners of the TEACHX Awards will be announced on 29 October, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day in Australia.

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