AUSTRALIA DAY: Humble teacher a class act to community

ONE of Wodonga Catholic College’s favourite teachers has been rewarded for his tireless efforts both in and outside the classroom after being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

John McEvoy has taught at the school since 1979 when it began in its current location.

“I’ll always remember my first contingent of students,” Mr McEvoy said.

“The school has changed remarkably over that time.”

Indeed the John McEvoy Oval, which was named after him, has had buildings encroach upon its grass, but Mr McEvoy is humbled his name has also been given to a special student award.

“I spent a lot of times in the garden and making the oval, and eventually some of the other guys put a sign up with my name on it and it just kind of stuck,” Mr McEvoy said.

“It’s not really an oval anymore, but the real honour is having the Year 9 all-rounder award named after me.

“It goes to the student who displays leadership and has a real good crack at multiple things.”

They are attributes Mr McEvoy strives to emulate in his life too.

He has devoted much of his time to the Dederang Country Fire Authority.

Mr McEvoy first began working with the CFA in 1982.

“My biggest effort was the Black Saturday bushfires,” Mr McEvoy said.

“I took six weeks annual leave from school and helped coordinate the recovery effort.

“I helped distribute hay and donated goods, and helped rebuild some other places.

“It was long, hard, and sometimes very sad work, but it was immensely rewarding and I have no regrets about doing it.”

The humble Mr McEvoy said he didn’t see himself as worthy of the medal.

“To be truthful, I certainly didn’t see myself as a winner of this award,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have even accepted it if it weren’t for the deep respect that I hold for the person who nominated me, Linley Horrocks.

“Linley is one of the best educators and teachers I know, and he deserves that recognition.”

Along with his other work, Mr McEvoy is also the president of the Dederang Catholic Church, and was a former president of the Dederang-Mount Beauty Football Club.

In 2000, Mr McEvoy was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch on its way through Dederang.

The torch now hangs on his mantlepiece.

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