Teacher with four months to live offers positive message
SUNSHINE Coast teacher Sherrin Justo wants to leave this world a few parting pieces of wisdom.
They are - have the courage to be the person you want to be, see as much of the world as you can and treasure every moment with the ones you love.
The Nambour State High School teacher has been given just four months to live after being diagnosed with carcinoid cancer last year.
Tomorrow, the dedicated teacher of 21 years will perform her final act as an educator when she delivers an address to the Positive Schools Conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Sherrin has been recognised as the Positive Teacher of the Year.
Immediately following her speech, she will resign from the education department.
An English, history and geography teacher, she recently piloted one of the school's alternative programs aimed at engaging at-risk students.
The theme of her speech tomorrow is "courage" - something she considers vital to anyone who wishes to stand at the front of a classroom.
She said that during her career, she had tried to draw on her life experiences in an effort to inform her students and mould them as people.
"It's important to teach about the wonderful things about yourself, your life stories, your history, your jokes, the quirky things, the things that make up a person," she said.
Sherrin's health problems began in 2010, but she was diagnosed with cancer only when she had vertebrae removed last year.
She has decided to resign to spend as much time as possible with her two children, Rory, 8, and Scarlett, 4, and husband Bruce.
Sherrin said she had accepted her lot and was intent on living her life to the fullest while she still could.
"It's cemented to me that the most important thing to me is my family and to look after my two children and have quality experiences with them each and every day," she said.
"Also, it's made me grateful for the time I've had and the time that I have now."