A CHANCE to help kids in remote and rural areas has seen Bridgette Carrigan recognised for her efforts.
Bridgette grew up near Moree in the small town of Boomi and now teaches in the Northern Territory.
She was named Inclusion Educator of the Year at the Teaching in the Territory Excellence Awards.
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The 29-year-old has spent two years teaching in the Top End at the Jabiru Area School.
"It was a really nice surprise," she said.
"I knew I was a finalist and then they came out to our school with a film crew and took some video.
"They told us they were using the footage to promote what teaching looks like in the territory.
"Which is still true, I just didn't know my part was going to be in a video at the awards."
Jabiru has a population of around 1100 people and is located 253km south-east of Darwin.
Bridgette teaches indigenous and non-indigenous kids with about 20 students a day across three grades.
A trip to Tanzania in East Africa as a 19-year-old helped spark her passion for teaching.
She volunteered at a school there and eventually moved to the Northern Territory after working in Sydney.
Her efforts and emphasis on inclusion has helped troubled kids transition back into the school system.
"In order to increase the kids attendance and engagement at school, you really need to build a relationship with them and the family," she said.
"There is a real emphasis on family and bringing their culture into the classroom.
"That can be having artists and elders coming into help and trying to build that trust within the community."
Her proudest achievement has seen one student excel with more time spent in the classroom.
"I had a little boy in my class last year who didn't come a single day in term one," she said.
"Then he came for one full day and two late days during the next term.
"By term two this year he had a 100 per cent attendance rate.
"He is now reading short stories and enjoys coming to school.
"He still finds it challenging and has room to grow, but that would be my proudest moment as a teacher.
"All of his family came in from around the community when I gave him an academic growth award.
"It was so nice to see how far he had come and how proud his family were."
Bridgette said she is lucky to have some family nearby and a supportive school network.
"One of my cousins from Moree lives nearby and works as a clinical psychologist," she said.
"The team I work with are fantastic, too, they've been supportive since the day I moved here.
"I had an issue with my car in Darwin and one of the girls hired a car in her name to help me get to Jabiru.
"It really helps when you have people around you like that."
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