The Jacaranda Festival Committee Inc. has announce that the Jacaranda Festival ‘Guest of Honour’ for 2015 is Stella Wilson.
Stella was born the year Grafton first held a floral festival to celebrate the incomparable beauty of many Jacarandas in full bloom, gracing the streets of the city.
She first participated in the festival when in kindergarten, dancing the maypole on schools day, and continued to perform in various ways throughout her primary and secondary schooling.
As a teenager, she looked forward to joining her peers in all the folk dancing sessions then held immediately after feature events in venues such as Jacaranda Avenue, Market Square and the Showground.
After high school Stella attended Armidale Teachers College and was fortunate enough to be appointed to a small school on Chatsworth Island for her first teaching position. This was the beginning of a successful teaching career for Stella where she spent many years working in the field of Special Education. Stella was proud to work with the students from the Clarence Valley Special School who performed the opening item of the 1984 Jacaranda Schools display.
In 1991 Mr David Brown, Principal of Grafton Public School as well as members of his staff and parents of Stella’s pupils, nominated her to be a recipient of the “Teacher of Excellence” award. Stella was presented with this award by the N.S.W. Minister for Education, the Hon Virginia Chadwick, in Sydney’s Power House Museum on December 4th 1991.
On Australia Day, 1992 Stella received a Grafton City Council “Merit” award. Part of the citation stated “an award only made by council when special recognition, is required of an outstanding example of service by a member of the Grafton community”
Six years ago Stella moved to Dorrigo. She returns home to Grafton each year to participate in Jacaranda festival celebrations, renew many long term friendships and to admire the inspiring beauty of the Jacarandas.