From the time she was a Year 6 student at St Mary's Catholic School in Wellington, inspired by her own teacher, Bernadette Hicks wanted to educate others.
Mrs Hicks, who now works as a librarian at La Salle Academy, was recently recognised for 40 years of teaching by the Bathurst Diocese.
In a varied career, Mrs Hicks has taught in many areas of teaching, including primary and high school, language, science and physical education. She now finds a great deal of satisfaction in the pastoral care associated with being Year 12's coordinator.
Mrs Hicks was inspired to teach by teacher Sr Josepha, from the Sisters of Mercy based at Wellington.
"I saw her again at teachers' college and she was quite overcome that she had had that much of an affect on me," she said.
"It was her gentleness, and calmness. She made everyone feel very special."
Mrs Hicks (then Miss Sheridan) began her teaching career at St Patrick's Primary School in Lithgow. While she was married in 1985, she said she still saw people around town who call her "Miss Sheridan".
In 1989, she updated her three-year teaching degree with a graduate diploma as a teacher-librarian from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. As she started her family, which includes three daughters, Mrs Hicks became a casual teacher at St Patrick's and St Joseph primary schools and at La Salle Academy.
She became a permanent member of staff at La Salle in 1996.
The job soon brought some new opportunities and Mrs Hicks studied Indonesian at CSU in Bathurst to be able to deliver language instruction to students.
"It opened up a lot of worlds to me," she said.
Among the opportunities was the chance to travel to Thailand and Laos in 2000 as part of an Asian Education Foundation party focussed on helping educate teachers of English.
She now works full time in the library.
"I think that's why I am still so enthusiastic, I have been able to teach in so many different areas," Mrs Hicks said.
"I have taught from Year 2 to Year 12, religion, English, music, science, PDHPE, learning support.... It's all offered new challenges and has been reinvigorating."
She has also taken on multiple roles outside the classroom, helping to organise spelling bees, regional sport representation, the school magazine and visits by exchange students.
"It's been very rewarding. Since I began teaching, I've never considered doing anything else. I love seeing students at La Salle who are the children of people I taught."
In fact, she likes to give these students a bit of a giggle by showing them old photos kept in the library of their parents' school years.
"I would like to think that someone may take on teaching, inspired by me," Mrs Hicks said.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Lithgow Mercury. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.