Would-be firefighter turns to teaching   

Mrs Gravett in teaching mode.

Growing up in Colorado, new to Nayland maths teacher Courtney Gravett had similar terrain to New Zealand, with mountains and lots of physical outdoor activities around to do with her family.

She had a pleasant childhood growing up in Colorado. “In general it was a pretty nice place to grow up, kind of safe and I got to go to good schools and had my family around. They were into doing outdoor stuff so that was quite nice as well,” she said.

Mrs Gravett first came to New Zealand on an exchange from her university, then after meeting her husband here she decided to move. “We spent the next few years sorting out visas and (…) been here for about 12 years now.”

Last year, Mrs Gravett was on maternity leave and this year is enjoying life as a new mother. “Hanging out with my daughter’s probably my ‘big thing’ at the moment,” she said.

Outside of school time Mrs Gravett enjoys anything athletic including tramping, skiing and mountain biking with her husband. “He’s way better than I am,” she joked.

Mrs Gravett is also an avid runner, completing seven marathons until her knee stopped working so well. “I still enjoy running, just not as far,” the determined athlete said. Her list of marathons includes the New York Marathon, the Portland Marathon, and the Avenue of Giants and Marine Corps Marathons.

After her schooling Mrs Gravett wanted to be a firefighter. She had the opportunity to do a two week ride-along course with her local fire department. On the last few days she took part in a firefighter recertification test, where she had to carry a 240 pound dummy on her back. “I basically was flat on the ground before I could get it to move forward. […] I thought if I’m going to be needing to pull people out of burning buildings, I’m […] going to have to lift weights for the rest of my life!”

By student reporter Jaid Russ