Vale: Betty Smith-Gander

It was with great sadness we learnt of the passing of Betty Smith-Gander on 29 October. Betty was a much-loved member of the Santa Maria College community. She taught at Santa Maria College for over 20 years, and for part of that time, Betty was Deputy Principal. She received an Order of Australia in 2004 for her service to the community, particularly her work with the Red Cross.

Betty was instrumental in setting up the first service program at Santa Maria. Her daughter Diane wrote, “The thing Mum was most proud of about Santa Maria was the way the College embraced the service-learning program she architected. That was the first real service-learning program of any scale and design into the learning curriculum in a senior school in Australia. Mum was at heart, first and foremost a volunteer. Discretionary effort defined her.”

Betty was also fondly remembered for coaching our victorious It’s Academic team in 1978.

The memories from her past students have flooded in, and below, we share some of them:

“Wonderful teacher and a lovely lady we all respected. Always lead by example and had a kind word for everyone.”

“The best teacher I ever had, always giving plenty of encouragement.”

“Such a gracious woman. She will be fondly remembered.”

“Wonderful memories of Mrs Smith-Gander. Homeroom teacher, accounting teacher and champion of “It’s Academic”. Kind, thoughtful and quietly spoken. A great role model.”

“Oh, I am so saddened to hear of Mrs Smith Ganders passing – she was an inspirational woman who took on the challenge of teaching me accounting, which I then went on to teach – using many of the techniques she used in me. Condolences to her family. An amazing and beautiful woman.”

“An amazing English Lit teacher. Owe her a lot.”

“Such an elegant, beautiful, gentle, strong leader, full of grace and a great role model. She will be remembered fondly and missed.“

“She was a lovely lady, inspiring teacher and caring person. Loved my accounting classes with her; she made them so enjoyable. I even married an accountant!”

“Mrs Smith Gander was a lady who epitomised the values and beliefs of Santa Maria. I was in the last class to be taken in at Grade 1 and went all the way through to Year 12. Always a kind word, a smile and gentle guidance. Very fond memories. RIP, dear Lady.”

“Dear Mrs Smith-Gander, such a kind, gentle and elegantly strong woman, she was a great mentor, teacher and inspiration for all of the students who were lucky to have contact with her. Condolences to all her loved ones.”

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