TIFFANY Folmeg is a Sarina State High arts teacher with a wonderful philosophy towards young people - get them to find something they love doing and keep them doing it.
"I fell into teaching. I never imagined being a teacher, but I always wanted to help people," Tiffany said.
Outside of school she is an artist in her own right and is a top athlete who plays soccer, netball and the new emerging sport of roller derby.
Hailing from Toronto, she attended York University and got a degree in fine arts, specialising in visual arts.
"When I got out of university I got into construction of houses. I loved the physical work, but it wasn't mentally stimulating.
"I was home-based in Canada until I was 22 and then I went to New Zealand for a year, where I went to Teachers College.
"I fell in love with the concepts behind education.
"I could see why education can benefit people to help themselves and to help them build their own future.
"How I teach my kids at school is basically to become a better person and how to get on in their lives.
"I teach kids to be good at something they like doing.
"I try to give them as many avenues as possible."
Now aged 27, Tiffany teaches Year 8 to 12 students at Sarina High, doing arts, tech, science and physical education.
"Young students always ask what I'm doing here. I'm a traveller taking the opportunity of making my way around the world.
"The students in Sarina are endearing and there is close interaction with them.
"I always open up my art room for then to use anytime.
"I want them to strive and succeed and to seek out things in life."
Tiffany lives at South Mackay and is a stone carver, a metal worker, a mould maker, a photographer and she also paints and draws. She has just started print-making.
A very fit and active person, she plays soccer for Magpies, netball and is a jammer for the Mackay City Roller Maidens who play their first major intercity game against Gladstone at the Mackay Leisure Centre next Saturday, June 2.
"Roller derby is huge in Canada and North America," Tiffany said.
"It was big in the '70s and has had a big revival in the last five years.
"The first-ever world cup was held in Toronto last December, while I was here in Mackay, so I missed it. USA won and Canada came second and Australia was third.
"It's nice to see roller derby is now played in countries like France, Brazil, Germany and Sweden.
"It's pretty neat to see all those countries have an interest in what is a renegade sport.
"It's a pretty cool thing, I think."
Like all roller derby players, Tiffany has a nickname and hers is "Ho Canada", which is a play on the national anthem, Oh Canada.
Tiffany loves Mackay and calls our town "quaint" and says it is different from most towns.
"It is very much a study of humans.
"It's a mining town, but not a stereotype mining town.
"Mackay has stunning places like Cape Hillsborough and Eungella and I can go kayaking in the Pioneer River and enjoy the ecosystem surrounding the town.
"I also like the art deco and heritage places in Mackay.
"The friends I have made here in Mackay are my family. They are going to be in my life forever. And my students are people I will always remember too.
"I'm happy to be doing something I love to do."
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