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Raymond ‘Happ’y to help

By November 11, 2020January 13th, 2021No Comments

“I was surprised to be nominated, and proud that the people in my community believe I am worthy enough to even be considered for such a special award.” This was Raymond’s response to being named the Alinta Energy – CEF Young Achiever of the Year for 2020. It is this humbleness, his desire to give back through his profession and his sense of community that made him a stand out for this recognition.

Alinta Energy – CEF Young Achiever of the Year

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching

University of New England (UNE)

Local Foundation:
Coonamble and District Education Foundation


After completing a double degree in arts and teaching at the University of New England (UNE), Raymond received a call offering a one-term contract at his old stomping ground, Coonamble High School, and jumped at the opportunity. When a permanent position opened up, he quickly, and successfully applied. Now, Raymond is the History, Geography and Aboriginal Studies teacher.

I have Year 10 and have been working alongside this crew since they came to high school. We are now preparing them for Stage 6, which is years 11 and 12 – I think I am more nervous than them!

Raymond is a year advisor and part-time relieving head teacher of his faculty and this year he gained a position with Aurora College – the first Virtual Selective High School that caters for students in rural and remote areas.

He has also gone back to university, studying a Bachelor of Education (In-service Conversion) specialising in English which will add another subject to his teaching portfolio.


Raymond has a passion for his community that is undeniable, and loves that he can put his learnings to work in the place he loves. He says “one of my greatest achievements is being able to work and stay in my local community, and I feel incredibly lucky to be living in this place!”

Raymond is grateful for the support he received from CEF as he embarked on his degree, and says “giving back to the community is an important way of showing respect and gratitude to those who gave me the chance and opportunity to get where I am.”

I love that I can see the Warrumbungles at sunrise and the most amazing sunsets as I walk my dog around the local racetrack of an evening

In fact, along with being Vice President of the local golf club and President of the Coonamble Teacher’s Association, Raymond is now a member of the Coonamble and District Education Foundation that gave him that helping hand years ago.


Raymond now helps the next generation of regional students side by side with some of the local members that once helped him. He remembers regular check ins and support provided by former Coonamble and District Education Foundation Chair Lyndy Regan, and the two are now also colleagues at the high school.

He says that receiving his CEF grant made him feel like he had “breathing space” that he could use to plan and prepare for the myriad of financial responsibilities that come with going to university if you are from a regional area.

He describes the work of CEF as a “vital artery of financial and emotional support,” a sentiment he lives by not only as a committee member but as an active and involved member of the CEF Alumni group.

Raymond with his brother Reggie at Reggie’s graduation

CEF is for the country, by the country and run by people in the country who have an excellent understanding of the challenges young people face when pursuing further education opportunities.

Raymond was nominated for the Awards by fellow committee member Angela Hannigan who says “Raymond is an example of how CEF can build the capacity of the individual, and from that, the community.”


Author Nicole

CEF Engagement & Development

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