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Community & Business

20 April, 2023

Chappy Sharon says farewell

March 29 marked the end of an era in School Chaplaincy in Oakey, as Sharon Salomon concluded the first term of her tenth year as Oakey High’s school chaplain, making her the longest serving school chaplain in the town.

Oakey State High School student Toek shares a moment with Chaplain Sharon Solomon on her last day.

Chappy Sharon commenced her chaplaincy position in Oakey in January 2014 sharing the role with Justin Trigg. 

This wasn’t her first placement, having served in schools at Millmerran, Ryeford and Toowoomba.

During 2013, Chappy Justin Trigg began providing chaplaincy services to Oakey State School in addition to the high school, so when Sharon arrived in Oakey she also began working in both schools. 

By the end of 2014, Sharon was working solo when the Trigg family moved interstate and funding was not adequate to support two chaplains across both schools. 

Most school chaplains in Queensland don’t work a five-day week in chaplaincy, but the Oakey community has been fortunate that Sharon has committed to that continuation of care here for almost a decade.

Chappy Sharon has generously shared her time and compassion with others – a gift that has been valued by hundreds of young people, as well as teaching and support staff and school families throughout the Oakey community.

“During my time at Oakey High I have been honoured to hear students’ stories and to experience their trust,” she said. 

“I have witnessed potential in all who spent time with me, and I have seen how programs such as VITAL highlighted positive qualities in our young people.

Chappy Sharon’s trade-mark hospitality included pancake breakfasts, Brekky Club activities, fruit smoothies and juices, and serving as a valued member of the school’s Wellbeing Team.

Oakey High School Principal, Mr Danny Keenan, paid tribute to Sharon on assembly during her last week, and again at a staff morning tea on Sharon’s last day. 

“It was with mixed emotions that I advised our school community that Chaplain Sharon Salomon was leaving us at the end of Term 1,” he said.

“I know many students have expressed that they will miss her happy, bubbly personality.

“From supporting individual students, to facilitating small group programs designed to build our students’ skills in areas such as self-esteem and resilience, Sharon has always put Oakey SHS students first and we wish her every success as she pursues her future aspirations.”

Local Chaplaincy Committee Secretary, Joanne Evans, also paid tribute to Sharon Salomon’s chaplaincy work.

“Larger than life itself, and with a heart to match, Chappy Sharon’s record-breaking tenure as chaplain at our high school has come to an end, but she will continue as chaplain at Oakey State School for
the foreseeable future,” she said.

“Sharon has been a blessing to many as she brought hope and compassion into our community and the line-up to bid her farewell on her last day was testament to her outstanding service.”

The process to secure another chaplain for Oakey High has now begun.

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