Alumni: Rob Clay

| Alumni
Orbost alumni Robert Clay

My involvement with education in Orbost stretches all the way back to Grade 3 at Orbost North Primary School. Coming from a one room school with a single teacher at Combienbar, the hustle and bustle of Orbost North was quite a change. Once I settled into the new school, I made some great friends and we attended Orbost High School together, many of these friendships continue to this day.

Once I’d completed Year 12 at Orbost High, I headed to Deakin University in Geelong to study science majoring in Chemistry. After completing this degree, I got a job with an environmental company analysing soil, water and gas samples for contaminates. After a few years, I found this work a bit repetitive and returned to study, this time at Monash University doing post-graduate studies in Biochemistry. As part of my research, I worked at the Monash Medical Centre investigating the properties of hormones involved in early embryonic differentiation. After completing this qualification, I went to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville USA and worked on cellular signal transduction. This was a wonderful experience that I remember fondly to this day. Returning to Australia I worked at the Queensland University of Technology as part of a team researching cancer metastasis.

After living in cities for a decade, I had a strong longing to return to a rural lifestyle. I again returned to study, this time completing my secondary teaching qualifications part-time (on the weekends) through Monash University, while still working fulltime at Queensland University of Technology. With my teaching qualification completed, I started work at Beechworth Secondary College, teaching in the Maths and Science areas. At Beechworth I became the Year 10 co-ordinator and then the senior school leader. My passion for working with senior secondary students continues and after a stint as the Assistant Principal, I’m back leading the senior school team at Orbost Secondary College.

I’ve heard it said that “Education is the great enabler” and that’s certainly been the case for me. Education has enabled me to live my life, my way. It has given me the choice about where I live, in the city or the country, in Australia or overseas. Education has enabled me to change jobs several times, keeping me fresh and enthused. I want to help students at Orbost Community College to realise education can give them the same opportunity to live life on their terms. Whether it’s academic or trade skills is not important, what matters is that students’ build up their “employability toolkit”, a set of skills that will enable students to find fulfilling and well-paid work, wherever they choose to live. Helping students achieve this goal will be my focus at Orbost Community College.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time in the magnificent East Gippsland outdoors. I was an extremely keen fisherman for many years, however recently I have become increasingly consumed with photographing the birds and animals that live alongside us in this beautiful part of the world.

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Orbost alumni Trish Lynn

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Trish has strong family and education connections to Orbost and East Gippsland. During the course of her career in education, she has been principal of three local primary schools including Orbost Primary as recently as 2023.

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Alumni: Lynnette Solomon-Dent

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Lynette is a Monaro/Ngarigo Aboriginal woman, and has family connections with the Gunaikurnai peoples of Gippsland. She has been involved in the Koorie education space now for over 35 years.

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