en-us Inspired by Yarra

Claire Atkinson

YOG 2009

Fleet Performance Engineer

“There’s a community at Yarra and that includes the students, teachers and parents.”

Claire enrolled at Yarra’s ELC and enjoyed the school’s facilities, the diverse education program and the Yarra Spirit throughout her years at school.

“I was one of those lucky few who went all the way through. I remember my first School Camp in Grade 2 when we spent a couple of nights in Portsea. That year I started playing violin, too, and I became a music nerd throughout my school life,” says Claire.

“Mum was President of Yarra Music at one stage and she enjoyed being involved with the concerts and fundraising.”

Claire aimed high during Year 12 and her friends were similarly driven and focused to get the best possible ENTER score (ATAR).

“I wanted to be in the top ten per cent – I was in the top 20 per cent. I was upset then, but now I think that’s a great achievement and I’ve gone where I wanted to go.”

Claire studied Engineering at Swinburne University – initially Biomedical Engineering and then Mechanical Engineering. In her role as a Fleet Performance Engineer with Metro Trains, she tracks the performance of the Siemens fleet and identifies and manages any performance issues that arise.

“If I identify a type of fault that is happening more often, I then step in and work out why it is happening and how to rectify it.”

While university gave Claire her engineering knowledge and skills, her many years at Yarra also left their mark.

“I still remember the words of the School Song and the Motto which, to me, is all about preparing for opportunities in the future. Yarra taught me learning skills that set me up for life, like time management and social skills. I was shy but Music and being part of shows and drama productions made me a different person. I was less reserved and I loved that.”

Claire has a vivid collection of good memories of Yarra – the standing ovations during the Year 11 production of Les Miserables, getting her licence in Year 12 and driving herself to School, and the encouragement of her Maths teachers who suggested Engineering might be her forte.

“My Grade 6 teacher was also important. That was a pivotal point in my school life, making that transition to high school and I remember her classes where we had conversations about life and what was happening in the world. Yarra definitely helped me become the person I wanted to be.”


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