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Since my diagnosis of Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease in July 2019, I have taken time to reflect on my experiences and memories of the many thousands of students, that I have taught and known over the past 35 years. As Alzheimer’s Disease will eventually strip me of all of these memories, I felt it was important, that I took time to acknowledge those students who really stood out from the rest and have made a lasting impression on me. Not so much for their sporting and academic ability, but more so for their willingness, strength of character and motivation to make a change in the way that we live in our society today.

In alphabetical order, these students are: Maddie Callander, Bella Charlesworth, Damien Daley, Mika Dalgleish, Matthew Donovan, Cameron Dyer, Alison Hawksley, Rina Kovacevic, Matt Nable, Curtis Palmer, Bailey Skeleton, Mitchell Trim and Liam Yeates (my son).

Written by Rina I just want to say thank you for being the kind of teacher that students look back on with respect and fondness. My recollections of Mater Maria are few but I remember you congratulating me on my swimming achievements on my way to class one day. It was one of those uplifting comments a teacher makes that leaves an impact on a student.

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Tony was a former student at St Paul’s College Manly and I taught him Biology during his senior years. As a local barber, I have been a customer at his Dee Why family business for over 10 years. In that time, I have come to appreciate Tony for his friendship, continued support and guidance, especially while I was coping with my Depression and now Alzheimer’s Disease. He is a true success story, happily married to Lucia, with five children (Cayla, Aidan, Dayna, Tegan and Alana), Tony is heavily involved in the local community (especially in the provision of facilities for our elite athletes), running mentoring programs and in local politics as an active member of the Liberal party.

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Tony's Family Barber Shop in Dee Why

The Bored Monkey in Narrabeen

As I have always lived on the Northern Beaches, I regularly run into a lot of my past students. Besides reminiscing about the past (which I enjoy), I have always been fascinated to learn about where their life journey has taken them and their hopes/dreams for the future. One of the many positives attached to being a part owner of The Bored Monkey restaurant at Narrabeen, is that it gave me the opportunity to meet many of my past students and parents on a regular basis.

Debbie – outside The Bored Monkey

‘When you look back at your schooling and the teachers you had, it’s hard to remember all the names and classes except for the standouts. There are loads of good teachers and I was lucky enough to have had a great one. Bill Yeates was an enthusiastic and positive communicator, able to answer our questions in way we could understand clearly and always made Science so interesting and enjoyable. I went from total disinterest in Science to really engaging in it and gaining top marks by the end of the year. Thank you, Bill, your energy and dedication really made a difference.’

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