Encouraging the young ones to take part
A STRONG advocate for small towns, Wendy Dowlings has been pouring her passion into the community for more than 30 years, and now she has been selected as a baton bearer in the Queens Baton Relay.
Mrs Dowlings has been dedicated to the education of country children and support of their communities since she first moved to Emerald as a young teacher.
She then met Gerry, got married and moved to Capella in 1987, to what would be some of the greatest years of her life.
After 10 years in Capella they moved away, but were drawn back 10 years later only to find her cup still in the same spot on the school shelf. The only difference this time, was she was teaching the children of the children she taught previously.
Now the principal at Dingo State School, Mrs Dowlings' love for the community has pushed her to dedicate her time to running events and encouraging students to take part.
"I guess community is why we moved back to the country,” she said.
"Community is important and having a love of your community. I get involved to get the children involved.
"School doesn't stand alone, but school is the central part of the community it's in. If the kids are involved, then you're getting parents involved as well. It just really builds that sense of community and pride in your town.”
Becoming a teacher was Mrs Dowlings' dream since she was in Year 1 and had a fabulous teacher she wanted to be like.
She has always taught primary school "because you get to contribute to building their values, beliefs and attitudes and encouraging them as they start their lives''.
"It's my passion as well as my profession. I like that you get to have such a positive influence on children while they're growing up,” Mrs Dowlings said.
"You get the privilege of inputting into their lives, not just their education. I just think if you can get children to maintain their self-esteem, and make them believe that they can do anything they desire to be, you have done a good job. It's all about their self-belief. I always want them to know I believe in them.”
Each year Mrs Dowlings has made it a tradition to put on a school performance, and last year the performance won the Dingo Event of the Year at the 2017 Australia Day Awards for the Blackwater region.
"It was a great way to start the year,” she said.
"I do what I do because I love my job. It's a passion. To be able to help educate people and build those positive community values.”
Largely due to her love for the community, Mrs Dowlings will be representing Dingo in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay, which she said will be a honour.
"I'm very thrilled to be involved. My grandparents were great swimmers and my grandmother was one of the first Queensland women to go to the Olympics,” she said.
"We, as a family, love watching the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.
"We love the swimming. I don't think there has been a Commonwealth Games when we haven't been glued to the TV the whole time. It's part of my culture to be part of it and interested.
"I feel very proud and privileged that I get to be part of it in my small little way.”