BY ROBIN WILLIAMS
Ben Gray, who teaches at St Peter's Catholic Primary School, Caboolture, north of Brisbane, received a Spirit of Catholic Education award for "leading and facilitating for change and improvement/striving for excellence in work/teaching and learning".
Spend half an hour with Ben and his passion for life, his teaching and his faith shine through in every word.
So does the respect, affection and praise he has for the fellow staff he has worked with over his six-year teaching career.
Ben is the youngest in a family of three children and the only boy.
He was one of the first students at a small Catholic school near Caboolture.
“Our Grade One classroom was actually where we held Mass on a Sunday and I remember we'd always help pack up the room on Friday afternoon and unpack it again on Monday morning," he said.
"Around Grade 10, I started to think about what I wanted to do after school and a big passion for me was my EH Holden that my parents helped me buy - I say we went 50-50 but it wasn't quite that - so working on the project with Dad was a passion for a couple of years and I thought I might be a mechanic," he said.
Ben is an avid baseballer who started playing with the local club when he was three and in his late teens his involvement included helping with the juniors and, ironically, that led to teaching as a suggested career.
"Mum and Dad mentioned I'd been helping out with the juniors and thought that I had a bit of a niche with working with children so I went and saw a guidance counsellor and went from there," he said.
After graduating from Australian Catholic University, Ben's first teaching post was a Year 5 class in a small country town.
"I know it probably wouldn't have been for everyone but I loved it. It was just a great sense of a small, very supportive community," he said.
Teaching with passion and faith (Catholic Leader)