Teacher's buzz for scholarship

A LOCAL agriculture teacher has been awarded $15,000 to travel overseas and learn about an insect that has fascinated him for years – the bee.

Stephen Maginnity, from Alstonville High School, was one of 25 teachers in NSW recently awarded a Premier's Teacher Scholarship.

After two previous attempts to win the State Government's agricultural category of the scholarship, the 29-year-old sealed the deal this year with his proposal to travel to South America to learn more about bees, alternative pollination and useful by-products.

“With what I have told my students so far about what I am doing, they seem to be quite intrigued,” Mr Maginnity said.

“The thing that first got meinterested in bees was a few years ago when I did a beekeeping course and learnt about children getting Anaphylaxis (an anaphylactic reaction to an allergy). I thought, there are a few students at my school that could get this as aresult of a bee sting, so I wanted to learn a bit more about it.”

Now the Lennox Head resident has incorporated that interest into a small bee pollination education business which he runs from home when he is not teaching.

Mr Maginnity will visit Adel-aide, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast learning more about Australian native bees before travelling next year to the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and then on to Argentina, to get a different cultural perspective on bee teaching methods.

He plans to incorporate theinformation he gathers about bees, in particular stingless bees, into his agricultural teachings.

“I would love to present theinformation I learn through this to my students when I get back and I hope it will be incorporated into teaching on a nationwide level,” he said.

“People are often surprised when they hear that Australiannative bees are stingless, but still pollinate.”

Meanwhile, Cabbage Tree Island Public School principal Dyonne Anderson won the Premier's Country Energy Indigenous Education Scholarship; and Stephen Clayton, from Richmond River High School, won the Premier's Xstrata Coal Rural and Remote Education Scholarship.

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