‘There’s something about Mary’
VATE honours Mary Mason with an Honorary (Life) Membership
Dr Amanda McGraw, Federation University
It is an absolute pleasure to present my special friend Mary Mason with a Life Membership of VATE. In doing so, I want to acknowledge her tireless commitment to the association over many years (she has been an active member of VATE for about 30 years) and the special contribution she has made to English teaching in this state.
I first met Mary in 1990. I had just been employed by VATE as their Education/Executive Officer and at that time Mary was a member of VATE Council. It was an amazing time to be in the VATE Office, then in Lygon St, Carlton. On the nights when Council and Committee meetings were scheduled, hordes of passionate English teachers, teacher educators, and a few interesting bureaucrats would descend on the double-storey terrace after long days teaching, to discuss the latest issues confronting Victorian English teachers—and together plan ways to make a difference. As a relatively young teacher, the experience of working at VATE at that time was incredible. Politically and educationally, it was a time of change as we moved into an era of greater bureaucratic control through national and state standards. English teachers, through VATE, were active in their desire to identify and hold on to key principles. More than anything, the people who gathered around tables at that time became firm friends and a strong network of influence.