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St Monica’s teacher Judy Gray receives OAM

Judy Gray OAM
Judy Gray … inspiring students to achieve excellence

Judy Gray, a teacher and parishioner from St Monica’s Parish and Primary School at Richmond, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Judy received the award for her service to the community through music, sporting and emergency service organisations in particular.

Having lived in the Hawkesbury region her whole life, Judy has been a long-term member of Richmond Parish. She is an active member of the parish’s music ministry utilising her many musical gifts to enhance the parish’s services. As well as singing in the church choir, she also sings with one of the local community choirs, the Hawkesbury Song Company.

Judy said she was overwhelmed when she found out she had received the award. “It’s overwhelming for me to have received this award. I just wonder why me? It’s just the way I live my life,” she said.

“Encouragement came from my mother and father who were both keen sportspeople and musicians. They always encouraged me to do the best I could and pass on the knowledge that I have gained. That’s why I wanted to become a teacher.”

Parish priest Fr Walter Fogarty said Judy was a very worthy recipient of the award. “Her sense of dedication and enthusiasm is truly inspirational,” he said. “The parish is very lucky to have someone as talented as Judy in its midst.

“Much loved by generations of students and their parents the announcement of the award has been enthusiastically received by the parish and the wider Hawkesbury community.

“Not one to seek the limelight, Judy humbly accepted the honour after much soul searching about her own worthiness to receive the award. Characteristically, she doesn’t see what she does as being anything out of the ordinary.”

From the age of 10 Judy has been involved in the Hawkesbury District Concert Band and now, in her capacity as musical director/conductor, she leads the band every year in the Anzac Day march.

She also plays the Last Post on the bugle at school and local Anzac celebrations. In previous years, she taught the school band at St Monica’s and still lends her musical talents on special occasions.

During her 27 years at St Monica’s Primary Judy has taught all year groups from Kindergarten to Year 6 and currently teaches Years 3 and 4.

Principal Lyn Legrand said Judy was a dedicated teacher who was particularly committed to encouraging boys to become more engaged in their learning.

“Judy is a highly regarded teacher at the school and always has the children very much at the fore,” Lyn said. “She is always inspiring her students to achieve excellence and has a particular passion for finding ways to engage boys more in their learning.”

Also a tireless sportswoman, Judy has played with the Richmond Hockey Club since she was 12 years old and now also coaches the club’s two teams.

Judy said she tried to live by Mary MacKillop’s challenge to ‘never see a need without doing something about it’. On one occasion, Judy walked into the Hawkesbury Show Association to drop off some of the students’ artworks when she saw a man surrounded by thousands of student displays.

“I asked if I could be of some assistance and I’ve been working with the Hawkesbury Show Association now for the past 10 years,” she said.

Judy also became involved in the Rural Fire Service in 1995 when a state of emergency was declared in the Hawkesbury. She volunteers in a communications role and is responsible for liaison between the fire grounds and offices via radio, phones and messaging. “My brothers were volunteers with the RFS and I knew they needed some help so I joined,” she said.

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