Eight teachers on MH17 mourned in schools

Dinoo Kelleghan

Albion Park's Carol Clancy: disability teaching was one of her specialities. Photo: Facebook

Schools scattered all over Australia are grieving the loss of beloved current or former teachers killed when the Malaysian airliner MH17 was shot down over Ukraine. Eight teachers, four of them in public education, were among the 298 dead.

Former Albion Park High School deputy principal Michael Clancy was celebrating retirement after 22 years of teaching when he boarded the ill-fated flight with his wife, Carol, also a teacher. One of hundreds of tributes to Mr Clancy came from a parent of an autistic student who posted on Facebook: “He gave my son chances when everyone else wouldn’t.”

The couple’s daughter, Jane Malcolm, told the Illawarra Mercury their deaths would be felt throughout the Illawarra as both had long teaching careers. “Disability teaching was one of my mum’s specialities — she was always doing something or volunteering for something,” Ms Malcolm said.

Emma Bell from Lithgow was teaching in the Outback. Photo: Facebook

Young Lithgow teacher Emma Bell, had been travelling back for the start of the new school term at Maningrida, a remote community in the Northern Territory. She would travel from the college along bush tracks to small outstations to teach children, principal Stuart Dwyer said.

Elders held a smoking ceremony for Ms Bell, who had been so highly regarded that she had been adopted by an Indigenous family and given a “skin name”, Mr Dwyer said.

Nick Norris, principal of Mukinbudin District High School in Western Australia also died. Students eulogised a teacher who made them love school.

The four other teachers who were killed in the attack on the plane were Gabrielle Lauschet of the German International School in Terrey Hills, Sydney, Sister Philomene Tiernan from Kincoppal-Rose Bay School, Frankie Davison of Toorak College in Melbourne and Edel Mahady, from the Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in Perth.