In the world of education, there are those special teachers who leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of students and staff alike. Such is the case with Father Geoff Chadwick, whose journey as a teacher and chaplain, at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar school earnt him the honour of being presented an Old Grammarians’ Association Special Life Membership Award. Fr Geoff’s dedication and multifaceted involvement with all students set him apart, making him a cherished figure in the School community.
A Special and unique contribution
Fr Geoff’s journey as the chaplain at the School spanned an impressive 17 years, from 2005 to 2022. During this time, he became the School’s longest-serving chaplain – a testament to his commitment and dedication to the School community. What makes his story truly unique is the fact that he was a qualified science teacher prior to being ordained. While serving as the Parish priest for Gelorup and Boyup Brook, he was initially employed at the School as a relief teacher.
Genuine care and empathy
One of Fr Geoff’s most enduring qualities is his genuine care and empathy for the welfare of both students and staff. From the very beginning, he established a strong rapport with the entire School community. His personable, good-humoured, and energetic nature, combined with an inquisitive mind and boundless positivity, made him an approachable and beloved figure.
Involvement in everything
Fr Geoff’s commitment knew no bounds – he went on a total of eight Outward Bound adventures! If it was school business, he was always willing to be involved. From playing the clarinet in the School band to taking on boarding duty, singing in the community choir to participating in Round Square Conferences, and even attending nearly every school camp, Fr Geoff was not just present; he was wholeheartedly committed. This level of dedication forged strong bonds throughout with students across all year levels.
Passion for history and drama
Fr Geoff’s passion for history, especially the School’s history, was palpable. He was a regular visitor, inquirer, and contributor to the School’s archives, preserving its rich heritage. But that is not all; Fr Geoff had a flair for drama. His love for music, singing, and drama was evident in his captivating presentations and performances, which brought energy and intrigue not only to Chapel services but well beyond. His penchant for candles and fire pits also added a touch of flair to these special services.
Fr Geoff’s impact extended beyond the School’s walls. He played a pivotal role in developing the relationship between the School and the Gelorup Community Church. Furthermore, his leadership in helping to develop the Religious and Philosophical Studies (RaPS) program was instrumental in encouraging students to think philosophically about religion, its history, and its relevance to today’s big questions.
Over the years, Fr Geoff officiated over 1,200 school services including Eucharists, baptisms, marriages, and funerals, playing integral roles in events big and small. His heartfelt input during the Year 12 final Eucharists remains etched in the memories of those who were in attendance.
While Fr Geoff’s accomplishments are remarkable, what he will be best remembered for is his caring nature and his ability to reach out to people when they needed it most. His exceptional contributions to the School community, especially the students, have left an enduring legacy of kindness and compassion.
A new chapter begins
Although Fr Geoff is deeply missed within the School, there is joy in seeing him embark on a new chapter as the Archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury. This move further strengthens the School’s connection to the Diocese, ensuring that his influence will continue to be felt.
In recognition of his extraordinary dedication, care, and connectedness within the School, Fr Geoff Chadwick was awarded the Special Life Membership by the OGA a their recent AGM. This honour ensures that he will always be a welcome presence at school reunions and events. Fr Geoff’s story serves as an inspiration, reminding us all of the importance of genuine care, passion, and commitment in the world of education.