Award winning teacher Madonna Valentine took a while to settle into a profession but she has never looked back. The Year 10, 11 and 12 Clarkson Community High School teacher received the 2007 Excellence as a Teacher (Secondary) Award at the West Coast Education district breakfast.
Ms Valentine said she was looking around to see who the winner would be when her name was called out.
She said she was appreciative of the honour.
"I feel as though I have achieved what I set out to achieve at the school," she said.
Leaving school at 16 after accelerating through high school Ms Valentine became a nurse before heading to the University of Western Australia to complete an arts degree. With the recession she was unable to get a job in public policy.
She decided to go to university and completed a Diploma of Education.
Ms Valentine said teaching was an interesting job and offered up challenges every day.
"The most rewarding part is seeing people i have taught years before all grown up and doing well in their lives," she said.
"The fact that you always have to prove yourself when you get a new class and earn their respect is a challenge, when I went to school there was automatic respect."
Looking into the future, Ms Valentine said she was thinking of adjusting her career path and working with teachers instead.
"I see the struggles of teachers on the job and it would be nice to have the skills to offer peer and moral support."
Article by Debby Vilensky, Picture by Bruce Hunt