Business Owner and President of Yarra Old Grammarians
Over the past 50 years Yarra has inspired students to pursue their passions and interests. Yarra Old Grammarian, Rod Penaluna, Class of 1990, says the School encouraged him to step outside his comfort zone and to learn life skills, such as self-motivation and having a go, that he still values today.
Rod joined Yarra in Prep when the facilities weren’t as expansive as they are today. He remembers lunchtimes spent swinging from the monkey bars, building a cubby and kicking a footy around.
Sport was one of his great passions and he spent three or four years as part of the School rugby team. After school he was a long-time youth cricket coach.
“I wasn’t very academic and while I always felt comfortable here I had a brief stint at another school in Year 10. That woke me up. I hated the six months I spent there. Luckily, Mum rang Yarra and I was lucky enough to be able to come back - that turned my life around.”
Rod became a prefect and enjoyed being part of School music productions. He was given a part in Godspell and remembers his teacher encouraging him to have confidence that he could perform.
“I’d been involved backstage but when I was given a part in the play I didn’t think I could do it. I sung a couple of solos and loved it.”
During school holidays, Rod worked with the grounds staff to help maintain the lawns and sports fields and he was a committed fundraiser to support School sports events. Rod maintains strong links with the School as President of Yarra Old Grammarians.
“I attribute this place with where I am today in my life. I loved being involved with the School and I still enjoy that involvement.”