At school, Paquita Boston (1947 — ) took a broad range of subjects and at university studied history and psychology as well as science. Work as a botanist in 1969 led to marriage on a farm in Papua New Guinea. Due to remoteness, and then the closure of PNG schools to expat kids after Independence, the Boston children were home schooled until after year three. Then they went to a private school primarily for the children of Lutheran missionaries old enough to leave home. This was in Wau, near their second farm. At this stage Paquita was asked to work as promotions officer at the Wau Ecology Institute and then to teach science in Wau’s new high school for local (PNG) students. When Paquita and Chris Boston and family moved to Western Australia in 1982 she supervised their youngest child on Meekatharra School of the Air and then, when they moved to farm in the irrigation district of Carnarvon, Paquita was asked to teach science at St Mary’s High School, and later to deliver a range of courses for the local TAFE college.
Alongside this totally unplanned career in teaching, Paquita has done a lot of writing. In PNG she was employed to write fiction to supplement lessons in sustainable food gardening. In Carnarvon she was employed to write a horticultural handbook and a series of local histories. Her publications include PNG and Australian children’s stories, a recipe book and a reference book to place names, plus two books on spelling.
The Bostons’ tertiary education — Chris’s NDA (Leeds Univ.) and Paquita’s B.Sc. (Adelaide Univ.) — has left them open to new ideas in farming, and lots of risky fun pioneering new projects. This same ‘just do it’ approach meant that throughout a lifetime farming, teaching and writing Paquita kept up her investigations into English spelling. She never forgot her promise to her children to find out why HIS has no Z and why WAS is not WOZ.
Paquita’s further studies towards a Diploma of Education showed up big gaps in teacher training regarding spelling. She hopes her spelling books and projects help to close this gap. ‘Teachers hold our future in their hands,’ she insists. ‘They must get every support to encourage the next generation to enjoy learning.’