By LORRAINE JIMAL
CATHY Nukunj believes that God had called her to be a teacher to inculcate in children sound moral values and to mold their characters to be good individuals.
“God called me to be truthful and shape somebody’s future.”
Cathy, 54, from Kala village in Mt Hagen district, Western Highlands, is the youngest of five sisters in her family. She was born on June 6, 1967.
She was formerly married to Westley Nukunj. They have two sons Jason and Joseph.
She started her education at the Ogelbeng Primary School in Western Highlands from Grade One to Grade Six. Then she attended the Kitip Lutheran High School completing Grade Seven to Grade 10, before enrolling at the Balop Teachers College.
Cathy began her career teaching Grade One students at the Saint Paul’s Lutheran Primary School in Lae in 1986. In 1987, she attended an in-service college now called the PNG Education Institute to upgrade her qualifications.
She returned to Morobe to teach in primary schools, before she was posted to the Kainantu Primary School to teach Grade Seven students. Later she was transferred to the Papen Primary in Western Highlands.
“ I love to educate young people about life, something I do with passion, courage and from the heart.”
In 2010, she came to Port Moresby and taught at the Kilakila Primary School for seven years. In 2018, she was posted to the St Therese Catholic Primary School.
Cathy loves what she had been doing as a teacher, especially interacting with students. Teaching gave her the courage to push ahead when faced with difficulties.
“I have patience. I love to educate young people about life, something I do with passion, courage and from the heart. I finish everything on time and ensure that students learn and understand.”
Looking back at her 35 years of teaching, she reckons it was at times tiring but generally relaxing and enjoyable. She looks forward to the Christmas holidays each year to meet family members and friends.
“I am teaching everything that is true about life. I want children I’m teaching to be fruitful in their lives. Every child that I teach must have positive mental attitude, be faithful in what they do.”
Cathy thanks God for everything.
“When you take care of God’s things, he will take care of you. God is always faithful to those who are faithful to him. In my 35 years of teaching, I did not really face any big challenges.”
She encourages students to stay away from relationships at an early age.
“I tell girls not to have boyfriends at a young age. Complete their education first, have a job and later think of these things.”
She tells students to be serious about their education.
“Education is your life. You must look after it well. In future, your education will look after you. If you mess around now, you will regret it.”
Cathy is always proud to see her former students becoming doctors, lawyers, bankers and engineers.
“I have done my part in building human resources.”
She plans to retire in three years and knows she will miss the classroom, her noble profession and especially her students.
“They are like family, spending most of my time with them. But I am happy and satisfied that I have done my bit to nurture and guide them. That’s my contribution to the nation.”