Father’s great honour

Dedicated dad: Public school parent of the year Jack Pelaez with his son Hunter (at right) and classmate Holli Etienne at Thomas Acres Public School. Picture: Simon Bennett

Dedicated dad: Public school parent of the year Jack Pelaez with his son Hunter (at right) and classmate Holli Etienne at Thomas Acres Public School. Picture: Simon Bennett

There are few people more dedicated to their school community than Jack Pelaez.

The father-of-three spends five days a week working with local primary schools, helping out with odd tasks and making sure everything runs smoothly.

The dedicated dad is a vital part of the school families at Thomas Acres Public School, Rosemeadow Public School and Ambarvale Public School.

Now, his tireless work has been rewarded with a special honour from the Department of Education.

Mr Pelaez has been named the Public School Parent of the Year for 2017.

“I felt a little embarrassed when I first found out,” he said. “I don’t do it for any praise or anything, I just like to help out.

“Seeing the smile on the kids faces and knowing that I’ve helped them out is all I care about.”

Mr Pelaez spends three days a week at Thomas Acres, where his youngest son Hunter is in year 3, and the remaining days at Rosemeadow and Ambarvale.

He has been a fixture at Thomas Acres for 10 years, since his first child began at the school.

Mr Pelaez lends a hand at every school event, frequently mans the sausage sizzle station, helps kindergarten kids to read and generally helps out in any way he can.

“When my daughter found out I’d won she said, ‘there’ll be no living with you now’,” he joked.

“I’m very proud of my kids, they’re all involved in their school communities.”

He thanked teacher Claudia Sannio for first inviting him to take part in school activities.

Mr Pelaez said, after so many years, he couldn’t imagine not being involved with Thomas Acres and could see himself helping out long after Hunter had graduated.

“I’m part of the Thomas Acres family,” he said.

Deputy Principal Catherine Flamos agrees.

“Jack has been supporting us for over 10 years,” she said.

“He is so generous with his time and his skills.

“Jack is family, I couldn’t imagine the school without him.”

Ms Flamos said she was “absolutely thrilled” to find out Mr Pelaez had won the “prestigious” award and said the students were “ecstatic” when it was announced at assembly.

“He makes a huge difference to what we do here,” she said.

“Schools that have involved parents do a lot better than those without.”

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