Teacher follows heart back to EP

I was born at Port Lincoln hospital in the late 80s with Dr Schoeman in charge of my speedy delivery. I was a special addition to the family, as most of the Honners were boys. My junior years at Elliston were easy going with a great school and friends.

I did a year of jazz ballet and started netball with the enthusiasm of youth. In the late 90s Mum (Tracy), older brother Jamie and I moved to Port Lincoln where schooling expanded opportunities and more amazing friendships were formed. I played netball, tennis and basketball and always had my hand up for other sports. Like any younger sibling I adored my older brother but it was not always smooth sailing. Our competitiveness led to some disagreements yet we still learned valuable lessons, like patience and determination.

In 2007 I completed senior school at Port Lincoln High School. The array of subjects and supportive staff helped me get a high ATAR and acceptance into university. After a gap year working at Kemp Real Estate, I moved to Adelaide to study a double degree of Health Science and Education at University of South Australia. My love for outdoor education was fostered during my time in Adelaide. Highlights included surf kayaking, a sea kayaking expedition around Wardang Island and rock climbing 100m cliffs at Mount Arapiles. My most memorable outdoor experience involved cross country skiing in the back country of Falls Creek. This camp required packing a week’s worth of food, clothing, tents and other essentials and setting off on a physically and mentally demanding expedition. I remember getting to our campsites at dusk, setting up our tent with icy hands, digging a hole to cook in the veranda of the tent and then scoffing our food quickly before retreating to our sleeping bags. The camp was not without hiccups, two girls accidentally set their tents on fire and two guys came down with hypothermia.

I continued my passion for outdoor education with a contract at Golden Grove High School. On my first day of teaching I was thrown into the deep end - year 9 sexual education. Many of my teaching pedagogies were formed during this year. While in Adelaide I met a lovely country boy, Xavier Watson who shared the same core values. As he was working with my brother Jamie and was good mates with my cousin Kerren, family approval was quickly achieved over a few beers.

In 2012 Xavier went back to his family’s sheep station on Nowhere Else Road. Following my heart, I made the move back to the Eyre Peninsula and started teaching at Port Lincoln High School. The hour drive from the farm was challenging at first but was made easier with my travelling companion, Claire Moriarty. On Easter Sunday 2015, Xavier set up an elaborate Easter egg hunt, with clues leading to “Will you marry me?” in the sand at our local beach, Point Drummond. We married on March 11, 2016 at Coomunga underneath the shade of gum trees, with the reception at Almonta Lodge. This was the happiest day of my life.

I am confident in my choice of career and this was affirmed this year when I gained permanent status at Port Lincoln High School. Teaching has been extremely rewarding; I thoroughly enjoy working with my colleagues, students, parents and the community. Whatever the future holds I feel truly blessed and I have never been so happy.