Adele Rice AM named a 2023 Queensland Great

Adele Rice AM, Board Director of HEAL and QPASTT was recognised by the Premier this week, honoured as a 2023 Queensland Great.

The Queensland Greats Awards are held each year on Queensland Day (6 June) to recognise and honour extraordinary individuals and institutions who have made a meaningful contribution to, or whose achievements have significantly impacted the history and development of Queensland.

Adele was awarded for her achievements in education and advocacy:

Adele Rice is synonymous with education and the refugee and humanitarian sector in Queensland, forging pathways for newly arrived individuals, families, and communities. Her significant contribution to the creation of a more cohesive Queensland goes far beyond her principalship.

From pioneering a community-based model of education, implementing psychosocial programs to counter the effects of trauma on learning, recognised as an expert in multicultural education, facilitating community partnerships in schools, conducting state-wide teacher training, taking part in early Indigenous reconciliation discussions, and asserting settlement advice within the political realm, Adele strives for social equity and leaves an indelible legacy in Queensland education.

Adele personifies the adage ‘it takes a village’, creating networks and opportunities for students and families to integrate into the fabric of our Queensland society.

Reflecting on this honour, Adele said,

Good settlement creates good citizens, and what makes Queensland great is our social cohesion.  Social cohesion is made possible by people having a strong sense of their own identity and capacity to contribute as well as a sense of belonging.  Everything I’ve achieved, both professionally and personally, has been to strengthen social cohesion by removing barriers that prevent people from achieving their full potential.  As a parent and grandparent, I’ve only ever wanted young people and their families, especially those who have arrived as refugees, to have equal opportunities to heal and thrive.

I have been given many opportunities throughout my career, and with them has come a responsibility to make a positive difference to the community.  But my achievements are not mine alone.  They have arisen through partnership and collaboration, most importantly with people from newly arrived communities who have worked so hard to settle, integrate and make their own positive contributions to Queensland.

I get a lot of satisfaction seeing former students succeed and thrive as they grow their careers, step into leadership roles and become my colleagues and contemporaries.  For example, I currently sit on the board of QPASTT across from a former Milpera State High School student.

I am proud that my contribution to Queensland has helped to give voice to people who are marginalised, that by helping others unlock their potential they have been able to make their own  contributions.”

As Founding Principal of Milpera State High School and Founding Chair of the Friends of HEAL Foundation, Adele has played a key role in the development of HEAL.

Read more about the Queensland Greats Awards