Jenny McCaffrey

Mrs Jenny McCaffrey has been supporting GVGS for over 40 years. She is pictured right with friend Ms Serrin Haigh volunteering at the tuckshop

Showing support for over 40 years

In 1982 GVGS welcomed not only the first students but also an emerging community of parents and friends. Over the years many have continued to contribute to and support the school. In this and coming editions, Nexus will acknowledge some of these long-standing members of our community.

In 1979 a much advertised and anticipated meeting was held at the Alex Rigg Theatrette with some 250 people attending. The meeting was to gauge community interest in establishing a local private school. With 2 young daughters approaching their secondary years, Jenny and Don McCaffrey were among the crowd. Impressed by the initial proposal, the McCaffrey’s were one of many families in the Goulburn Valley to show their support for making the school a reality. It was also the beginning of their long-standing involvement with the school community which Jenny is still very much part of today.

Don, who passed away in 2018 was one of a 30 strong contingent to serve on the interim school council from 1979-1981. Jenny recalls that the council aimed to rally interest for the school. Several people would get into a caravan after work and travel around the Goulburn Valley and beyond to inform people of the new school and provide them with information. 

In the early days, there was also a number of community events. 

“In October 1980 we held a fundraising picnic under a gum tree in Grace’s paddock. 

“There were a plethora of prams and pushers. Now some of those children are parents of present-day students. 

“I remember someone saying that day, ‘This is the site of a great school’.”

Grace’s paddock has now been transformed to the school grounds now known as Goulburn Valley Grammar School.

To begin with, many parents certainly had reservations about enrolling their children in such a new school. For the McCaffreys and the many other families who came on board in the early days it was about the big picture and long-term goals, ‘You just had to have faith’, Jenny said.

Jenny and Don’s two daughters, Sarah (Class of 89) and Alexandra (Class of 91) commenced in Year 7 in 1984 and 1986 respectively. 

Jenny, a nurse at the Shepparton Private hospital, says “I was not good at attending Mother’s Club meetings because of my work commitments. But I was always available to support in other ways.  

“One of the first Mother’s Club Luncheons was held in the Shepparton Football Clubrooms, we were heating up the main course in pie warmers”.

“Now the Mother’s Club lunch is such a grand affair. There have been many great inspirational speakers over the years”.

Not only did Jenny attend the first Mother’s Club Luncheon, but she has attended every luncheon since. For Jenny, it has always provided the opportunity to catch up with the many friends she has made over the years.

Jenny has also managed to attend all GVGS Presentation Nights since they began and is in awe at how all the students present themselves.

“I always come from the events thinking the students are so erudite and confident. 

“This is a credit to their parents, school and themselves.” 

Jenny’s three grandchildren, Donald, Hugh (Class of 2018) and Elizabeth (currently in Year 12) have all attended GVGS. Although her youngest granddaughter is about to finish her secondary education, Jenny is still keen to be part of the GVGS community.

Last year, Jenny started volunteering at the tuckshop. 

“I started volunteering as I still wanted to be involved in the school because it has been part of my life for years”. 

“So I went last year a few times and have just started back again this year. The food is just wonderful,” she said.

“It has been such a privilege to be part of the GVGS community and I value the friendships that have resulted, even though my contributions to the school have been minimal.”