Br Patrick Howlett - Champion of West -
Parramatta Marist High School Principal, Br Patrick Howlett, was the first among six well-known and respected people to be honoured as a Champion of the West on 4 April 2014 at the annual Celebrate the West event at Sydney Olympic Park.
Other honourees included Noelene Brown (actress), John McLean, (paralympian), Hazem El Masri (former Canterbury Bulldog), John Fahey, (former NSW Premier) and Peter Mattick (Co-founder of Salmat).
Hosted by actor Bryan Brown, at a lunch for the San Miguel Family Centre, Br Patrick was honoured for his work as a passionate educator. Presented with his award by nominator Bishop Kevin Manning, Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta, Br Patrick said he felt honoured.
‘It is a privilege to be honoured in the company of people who have contributed much to Western Sydney,’ said Br Patrick. ‘There is a lot of talent in the west and it needs to be fostered.’
‘I tell my boys you can do well and you will do well. The question we need to ask is not ‘how smart are you’? Instead we need to ask ‘how are you smart’? Because everyone is smart in some way or another and our challenge is to make education relevant to young people,’ he said.
Throughout his long teaching career spanning 45 years, Br Patrick has always looked for the most effective ways for students to learn.
After two years of research, Br Patrick introduced a revolutionary method of education known as ‘project-based learning’ (PBL) at Parramatta Marist. This has become the crowning achievement of the latter part of his time as an educational leader. He has been recognised nationally and internationally for his achievements with this 21st century method of learning and teaching which uses engaging, rigorous, student-centred and collaborative strategies for ensuring learning is relevant, engaging and successful.
Brother Patrick has been a Marist Brother for 54 years and he is still actively engaged in the work that has occupied his whole professional life – that of secondary school education.
In addition to the Champion of the West award, in 2012, Br Patrick was awarded the Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, which is the highest recognition awarded by the Pope to a member of religious order for his services to Catholic Education.
He was also awarded the 2008 Parramatta Catholic Education Staff Recognition Award for Innovation in Learning and Teaching.
The Champions of the West event is an annual fundraising occasion for the San Miguel Family Centre operated by Boystown.