Deana Leo has inspired students to get out into the world and make a difference.
The Southern Cross Catholic College Health and PE teacher has spearheaded the “Southern Sloggers” – a running program that promotes improvement and fund-raising.
Mrs Leo co-ordinates staff and students in events such as the annual Youngcare Budgie Bolt, the Redcliffe Jetty-to-Jetty, the Cherbourg Reconciliation Fun Run, and the annual Relay for Life race to raise money for the Cancer Council.
Mrs Leo has been rewarded for her efforts.
She was named the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Queensland Inspirational Teacher of the Year in 2015.
The award was presented to a female HPE teacher who dedicated their time and energy to support, lead and inspire school students to achieve their personal best in HPE, sport or other active pursuits.
“I’m really humbled to receive this award however, I love the fact that I can use my own passion for health and fitness to inspire my students,” Mrs Leo said.
“I’ve also been able to direct my passion for running into the creation of the ‘Southern Sloggers’ where staff and students run in events for personal achievements as well as charities.
“It’s been a great community-building tool.”
Year 11 student Krystelle Edwards, who nominated Mrs Leo for the award, said the HPE teacher was an inspiration.
“Mrs Leo has inspired me to become more active in sport over the years and has taken students to various running fundraisers and ran alongside us,” she said.
“I am honoured to have her as a PE teacher. I would not be doing senior PE today if it wasn’t for her.”
Fellow Year 11 student Deanne Elliott said Mrs Leo’s passion inspired her to do well in class and participate in extra curricula sports.
“Mrs Leo helped not only the class, but has gone beyond to help the school, sacrificing her time to be there for us,” she said.