Volunteers like Val Tilbrook and Jacqui Archdale embody the spirit of our school communities.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week and P&C Day this week, the pair perfectly personify the selfless contributions so many people make to our schools.
Val Tilbrook, affectionately known as Mrs Tilly, has been volunteering for the Mukinbudin P&C since 1970.
Mrs Tilbrook dedicates her time to the Mukinbudin District High School canteen, as well as being a member of the catering committee.
Last year, Mrs Tilbrook received an award from the Western Australian Council of State School Organisations (WACSSO) for 50 years of service to her P&C. Mrs Tilbrook also volunteers for the local swimming club, senior citizens group and local paper, Muka Matters.
Mrs Tilbrook said she started volunteering because she wanted to know what was going on in her community and was keen to do her bit.
'I love the kids, they are so enjoyable,' Mrs Tilbrook said. 'They come up to me on the street and wave. One little girl told me how much she liked my chicken wrap. I love it so much I don’t know what I’ll do when I retire.'
Mrs Archdale was a beloved teacher at Geraldton Primary School for more than 40 years.
Since her retirement in 2018, she has volunteered at the school helping children with their literacy.
'I missed the vibrancy and the energy and everything else associated with the school,' Mrs Archdale said. 'I just missed it an awful lot, so I thought: "OK, volunteer".'
Geraldton Primary School Principal Jacqui Quartermaine said having Mrs Archdale still involved at the school was a huge positive.
'Having someone who is part of the fabric of the school is very important', Ms Quartermaine said.
'They (volunteers) are important because schools are not just busy places. There’s such a range of needs in our school, and our volunteers serve different purposes.
'It’s about human connection. It’s kind of showing that schools are places you can come in to and you can contribute and make a difference.'