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Continuing a legacy in special education

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Recipient of the Roselynne Anderson Memorial Prize with UniSQ staff
The late Roselynne Anderson is remembered by her peers as someone with a ready smile and an absolute love for her work in special education. 

Ric Day, who followed Roselynne to become President of the Queensland Association of Special Education Leaders (QASEL), says she was an exceptional advocate for the sector.

“I think people will most remember Roselynne’s optimism and her passion for making sure students with disabilities got the very best educational outcomes possible,” he says. 

“She was really committed to developing and supporting leaders in the sector.”

QASEL, in partnership with UniSQ, has established the Roselynne Anderson Memorial Prize as an endowed academic prize. The gift will make a lasting and meaningful impact on the next generation of special education leaders, who support students across the entire state. 

“One of the things people may not realise is that special education programs are offered in all schools, not just special schools. So, our work touches every classroom across the state, whether it’s in a special school or a primary or secondary setting,” Mr Day says. 

The prize – awarded to the graduating student with the highest grade point average (GPA) in special education courses across semesters one and two – will recognise talented students far into the future.

“One of the strengths of this endowment is that we can continue to contribute and encourage others to contribute, which keeps Roselynne’s legacy alive – something that’s really important to us and to Roselynne’s family,” Mr Day says. 

Having met the first two recipients of the award, Mr Day says he’s certain that Roselynne would have approved.

“She would've been so thrilled to see that prize go to two young women who are so very focused – two very intelligent teachers starting their careers in special education. She'd certainly be encouraging them to go forward as teachers and in time as leaders as well.”

Roselynne’s passion for helping special education teachers and leaders is also felt by Mr Day. He says supporting excellence is critical as the difference special education teachers make to the most vulnerable learners in Queensland is immeasurable.

“We live in an age where there are workforce demands and shortages in every industry. Special education teaching is a challenging field, we want to make sure we're attracting and supporting the best of those who are showing interest in entering the sector,” he says. 

While Mr Day says partnering with UniSQ and establishing the fund was surprisingly easy, the value and benefits are measured in more than dollars and cents.

“I’d advise people interested in partnering to just reach out. It has facilitated meaningful connections for us as an organisation and for the recipients. And, of course, it has allowed Roselynne’s impact on the sector to live on in her name.”
Roselynne Anderson Memorial Prize
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