St Michael’s College Merrimac Guidance Counsellor Jeffrey Kemp has dedicated half a century to serving Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) students and their families.
He was celebrated for his long career at BCE’s Years of Service Awards on 1 November.
BCE staff paid tribute to Jeffrey’s exceptional service and dedication after he started his career in 1973 at Our Lady of the Assumption School Enoggera in a role formerly called a ‘remedial teacher’.
The educator says he cherishes every moment of his five decades working in BCE schools, saying he finds solace in the countless lives he has touched and the futures he has influenced.
“I have always felt aligned with the mission of BCE and have benefited and grown personally from meeting and working with exceptional people over the journey,” Jeffrey said.
The Order of Australia award recipient added that a highlight of his career has been his role in the creation of St Michael’s College’s Asteros Program, an initiative he started in 1996 and which ended in 2021.
The program empowered boys aged 14 to 15 years old at risk of exclusion from mainstream education by providing counselling and skill support. After seeing the need, Jeffrey says he partnered with PCYC Queensland to create a wilderness element of the program, including outdoor adventure and nature-based activities.
Jeffrey has since spent hundreds of hours helping students build resilience, leadership skills and self-confidence.
“It was a rewarding experience getting to change the lives of 100 young men across my time working on the program and make a foreseeable difference in their lives,” Jeffrey adds.
“The program achieved an astounding 75 per cent retention rate and offered hope and purpose to students who needed it most.”
Jeffrey also co-founded and administered the Mudgeeraba Soccer Club international youth football tournament known as The Gold Coast Champions Cup for 25 years.
“The tournament grew to be one of the largest youth tournaments in the Southern Hemisphere and in conjunction with the Asteros Program, won me the Order of Australia medal in 2021 for my dedication to at-risk youth and youth sport,” Jeffrey says.
Adding to his accomplishments, Jeffrey completed a Churchill Fellowship furthering his understanding of the challenges faced by young people including those in youth gangs in schools in the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The Churchill Fellowship is a prestigious award that offers Australian citizens the opportunity to travel overseas to explore an issue they are passionate about.
St Michael’s College Principal Veronica Wasiak described Jeffrey as “a shining example of dedication and unwavering commitment to the mission of BCE.”
“During your time, you have guided students, colleagues, and families on their educational journeys,” she says.
“You have shown commitment, kindness, and an enduring belief in the transformative power of education.
“As you celebrate this incredible milestone, know that your community stands beside you with admiration, respect, and gratitude.”