Hunter River High School Principal shares empowering message

Deb Dibley and her daughter Charlie.
Deb Dibley and her daughter Charlie.


PRINCIPAL of Hunter River High School, Mrs Deb Dibley, shared her empowering story at this year’s International Women’s Day breakfast in Raymond Terrace.

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Deb is featured as this week’s News Of The Area ‘Human of The Area’ and shares just a small part of her admirable journey.

Deb’s childhood was not a picture perfect experience, with loving parents in a safe and happy home.

Deb Dibley said, “When I grew up, it wasn’t easy, it was tough.”

“I lived in a home of extreme domestic violence, I went to bed scared of a night and woke, scared in the mornings.”

“It’s tough living like that every day.”

“It took my mum until I was 19 to escape this life,” she said.

“She is a tough and resilient lady but, did not have the support or resources to leave earlier,” she added.

Because of her experiences growing up, Deb knew that education was her ticket to a life where she could make a difference in other people’s lives.

Despite school being tough because of what was happening at home, Deb stuck with it, even turning down a job offer to leave school and work full-time in year ten.

Deb completed her HSC, and despite knowing very little about university and what it offered, she thought she would give it a go.

Deb graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor’s degree and a Graduate Diploma in Education.

After a plethora of enriching teaching experiences and roles, Deb gained the most rewarding position of her career, Principal of Hunter River High School.

Deb said, “My goal initially was to provide staff and students with a safe, harmonious and positive school environment.”

“By surrounding myself with staff of similar values, we have transformed the culture of our school.”

“We have growing enrolments and a positive culture that has led to improved parent satisfaction and public perception.”

“We have high expectations of our students, they are happy within our school and are proud to say they attend HRHS,” she said.

“My message to our students – male and female alike – education provides choices,” she added.

Deb is married with two children, and has instilled strong values in her children.

“My children have been very fortunate to have both a mum and dad who have encouraged and supported their education.”

“Please allow me a moment of gloating, my son Jacob, graduates this year with first class honours in a double degree of chemical engineering and business and my beautiful daughter Charlie, is an amazing young lady who is in her third year of architecture at the University Of Newcastle.”

Deb is certainly a survivor of a childhood that crumbled so many others just like her.

She said “It saddens me to think that in 2018, we still have such a problem with domestic violence within our society.”

“We need to continue the fight for tougher laws, education programs in all schools and resources in all towns and suburbs to support victims of domestic violence.”

“I share my story in the hope that I can inspire young people and particularly young women and I hope that what I have spoken about may also empower you to reach out and mentor a young person, to allow them to see the potential within themselves, for they are our future.”


By Rachael VAUGHAN

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