Cargill gets sporty new deputy
Sporty teachers are usually student favourites so Tracey Gray’s passion for sport has no doubt helped her fit in at Cargill Open Plan School.
The once successful junior golfer, who continues to be a self confessed sports addict, has taken on the deputy principal role at the Tokoroa primary school.
Gray, who grew up in Gisborne, says she couldn’t be more happy with the career move.
‘‘I live in Te Awamutu and had been teaching at Pekerau Primary School for about nine years but it was time for a change and it’s nice stepping up in your career,’’ she said.
She said her students have also quickly discovered her love of sport.
‘‘When I was growing up I got flown around all over the place to play in golf tournaments and was lucky I had a whole lot of scholarships but I didn’t follow through with it as a teenager. I still love sport, any sport, though and follow it big time,’’ she said.
‘‘One of the things I love about being here is the kids ask me every day if I can go and play touch with them but I haven’t been able to yet as it’s been too cold,’’ she laughed.
With three primary school kids herself - a 9-year-old and twin 6-year-olds - she is a busy woman.
She said coming to work in Tokoroa from Te Awamutu had been a huge change but a move she is glad to have made.
‘‘I’ve come from a school where there were 360 kids to a school where there are 120. I never realised how many schools there were here,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s a big change but it makes getting to know certain children easier because in a big school you can get quite lost for a while.’’
Gray, who can also speak fluent Te Reo Maori, said she was particularly taken by a how family focused the students were.
‘‘I brought my husband and my kids down a couple of weeks ago just to meet these guys and they were just all over them,’’ she said.
‘‘They really care about you which is awesome to see.’’
As well as looking after her deputy principal duties, which includes organising camps and sports fixtures, Gray is also teaching the school’s senior students.
Principal Rhonda Rayner said she was happy to have her join the team. Natua says fitting in training with work is a real challenge, but she has become accustomed to over the past three years with the Black Ferns.
‘‘My bosses are very understanding and they work around me. Work knows rugby comes first.’’
Natua travels an hour and a half to Hamilton from Tokoroa about three times a week to train with the Waikato contingent of about six players. Yes, being a part-time international rugby side means they don’t actually train together as a full team until a training camp is called. The first training camp before the World Cup was held in June.
‘‘I used to find it difficult in the first two years, but I guess you become stronger and learn to manage your time. [Getting paid to play] would make things easier on us, some of the girls have been working from here during the tournament.’’
The no-fuss prop says celebrations will be minimal as she doesn’t drink much and had nothing planned. But she admitted it would be nice to see some sort of parade for her side, seeing as they are now world champions.
‘‘That would be amazing to be honest. If it happens it happens, but that would be amazing.’’
The win is not only a win for the Black Ferns, but for women’s rugby in New Zealand as it will help inspire young girls to take up the game of rugby, she said.
‘‘I do think something great will come from this. The support from New Zealand rugby has been amazing.’’
‘‘One of the things I love about being here is the kids ask me every day if I can go and play touch with them.’’ Tracey Gray
Cargill Open Plan School deputy principal Tracey Gray with some of her students.