Posted by Vince Costantino on Jul 18, 2019
The Rotary Club of Pinjarra meeting held on Thursday 18th of July listened to a little of the life story of one of our newest members, Julie Gray.
Brett Loney introduced Julie Gray.

Julie’s Dad passed away when she was 4 years old and her Mum shifted her into Pinjarra where she purchased a home for the family. Three strong ladies influenced Julie as role models as she grew up:

  • Grandma, a strongly community-minded person who worked with organisations in rural areas for many years – Red Cross, Save the Children Fund, Better Hearing, The Anglican Church Guild, The Society for the Blind, St John’s Ambulance Association and Infant Health

  • Gran, who is very practical and passed on important life skills. Many adventures were held at Gran’s home in Banksia Terrace, South Yunderup. Julie is eternally grateful that Gran assisted financially with Julie’s schooling. Exposure to successful women during her schooling at Methodist Ladies College helped Julie strive for success. Julie went onto university and has been involved in education since graduating.

  • Julie’s Mum, who served in Rotary for many years, is the recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow from this Club. Julie’s Mum taught her to be compassionate and empathetic.

Julie’s husband, Chris was a Professional Golfer and his tour commitments saw Julie live in England with their first child. There were many experiences gained while living in England, but her memories of the community poverty she saw and the difficult teaching conditions there inspired Julie to continue within the teaching profession when her children were school age. Julie strongly believes that learning methods need to be adapted to suit the individual. Education must be engaging.


Julie served as Teacher in Charge at North Albany followed by House and Program coordinator at Narrogin Senior High School. This was followed by a time as Head of Learning at Lynwood Senior High School, and then a short stay at Servite College. Julie arrived at Pinjarra Senior High School after some time spent teaching Business Studies at Central TAFE.


Julie considers the move to Pinjarra to have been the most unlikely, considering her thoughts after leaving Pinjarra SHS as a student. At that time, this was the LAST place on earth that she thought she would end up. How times have changed!

It is probable this generation of student may have 5 distinct careers and possibly 13 different jobs. In order to succeed in today's employment world, a youth needs transition skills to succeed; not only for transitioning from school to the workplace, but from workplace to workplace, and career to career.


Julie is now the Senior School Course Counsellor at Pinjarra Senior High School assisting students as they move from Year 10 through to Year 12 before heading into the "real world". Not all students continue at school. Some can and do follow a pathway to Apprenticeship, Traineeships, TAFE or employment. Pinjarra Senior High School works with the Fairbridge (Inc.) Engagement Program. Julie assists the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) students work towards University entrance and coordinates an Aboriginal Scholarship Program in conjunction with Chevron Australia. She represents the school at the Alcoa Community Consultative Network Meeting. 


The Alcoa Foundation enabled Julie to attend the Keystone Science School in Colorado, USA. The lessons learned from the course were brought back to Pinjarra and introduced into the Pinjarra Senior High School system. By introducing many new initiatives to the school and encouraging engagement, it helps students to recognise the significance of involvement in the school community.


Julie displayed photographic evidence of her experiences teaching and connecting with students. Julie strongly believes doing herself what she expects from the students. By helping students experience different situations and events that they may otherwise not have been exposed to, assists the students to broaden their understanding of the circumstance. Their self-confidence grows as a consequence. The need to be comfortable with yourself is very important and Julie works to exemplify that attitude to the students.


Peter Bostock thanked Julie on behalf of the meeting for her most interesting and informative talk.