COMMUNITY STARS: Beth Wood and Tania Marshall (Dalby Welcoming Community), Joanna Bender and Josette Moffatt.
COMMUNITY STARS: Beth Wood and Tania Marshall (Dalby Welcoming Community), Joanna Bender and Josette Moffatt. Contributed

Local heroes recognised

OUTSTANDING members of the Western Downs community have been recognised at the Queensland Community Achievement Awards earlier this month, with nominees from Dalby, Chinchilla, and Miles.

The awards are designed to acknowledge and reward the positive achievements of individuals, communities, and businesses throughout the state.

Chinchilla Cinema's Joanna Bender was a finalist in the Customer Service Award category.

Mrs Bender is known at the cinema for wearing a tutu every Wednesday. While it originally began as a year-long commitment to improve her own happiness, she said the strong, positive community response means she will probably never stop.

"I'm encouraged by how it makes other people smile,” she said.

"You can't be in a bad mood while wearing a tutu... you can't help but smile when you see a lady wearing a tutu.

"I've got to keep going, because there's not enough silly joy in the world.”

She said it was wonderful to attend the awards at Royal on the Park in Brisbane.

"It was an amazing experience to be among some pretty incredible Queenslanders who are really making a difference in the lives of their communities and wider.”

"It was very humbling to be there... and an honour.”

Miles State High principal Josette Moffatt was also a nominee, selected in the Teaching Excellence Award category.

The high school runs a program that engages with local business like Origin, as well as council, to provide students with up-to-date and industry-relevant knowledge.

She said she felt honoured for the recognition, which highlighted the school's efforts to create real pathways for students once they graduate.

"As a rural school it's very important to us that all our students have very clear pathways... future pathways that place students in a position to be ready for the 21st century,” Mrs Moffatt said.

"We get geophysicists come in, engineers, just everything come in who share the real-world implications of what they're doing in their classrooms. The centre of it is preparing our kids for the outside world.”