12 January 2023

Local school teacher to represent Yass community at show woman competition finals

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Grace Armour

The 2022 Yass Young Woman of the Year, Grace Armour. Photo: Grace Armour.

After eight years, the Yass Show Society has announced the return of its Young Woman of the Year competition, with a new face representing the community.

Grace Armour, a 24-year-old Berinba Public School teacher, has been crowned the 2022 Yass Young Woman of the Year and will go on to the next stage of the Sydney Royal AgShows competition.

From eight years of age, Grace has been involved in the Yass Show Society, by entering her horses and volunteering her time, and in September last year decided to nominate herself for the Young Woman title.

“The show society had put out a call to the community because Yass is hosting zone finals in February and they didn’t yet have a Young Woman ambassador,” Grace said.

“The Young Woman competition is the new name for the ‘showgirl’ movement that’s been held throughout NSW for the past 60 years or so. It entails being an ambassador for rural women in Yass and being involved with the show society and movement itself.

“I had seen the call out on a post on Facebook, and since I’d always been interested in doing it [but never had the time], I decided to send an email to the society and they were happy to pull me on board and then I was announced 2022 Young Woman.”

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Grace said as she had grown up on a 1214-hectare (3000-acre) farm in Bookham, a 25-minute drive from Yass, agriculture had always been one of her biggest passions, which was why the role of Young Woman suited her perfectly.

“I’ve always been immersed in rural life and the community, especially working with animals from a very young age,” she said.

“I really love being rural because we’re such a tight-knit community here in Yass, and everyone gets involved and helps one another and I think that’s really important.

“As a primary school teacher, I see a lot of students who have a very limited understanding of what agriculture is, where their food comes from and the opportunities the industry can provide them, and I feel there is a real need to raise that awareness.”

girl with horse

Grace with one of her winning horses at the Tarago Show. Photo: Grace Armour.

The year five and six teacher said her goal was to bring exciting programs and activities to her students, to engage them and help them potentially develop a love of the land.

“Our livelihood depends on the agriculture industry, so I believe it is imperative to teach future generations about it,” Grace said.

“I became a teacher because I went to rural schools myself and understand the need for teachers in rural and remote areas.

“I feel that students in more isolated areas don’t always have the same opportunities as those in metropolitan schools, and since the curriculum is really limited and there’s no focus on agriculture until secondary schooling, I want to change that.”

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Grace will be representing Yass at the Zone 3 final of The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman competition, to be held at The Crisp Galleries next month.

This involves up to 20 Young Women from rural communities who will participate in a series of interviews, discussing their passions, goals and community involvement, where one will be deemed successful.

The winner will then represent Zone 3 at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April.

“Being Young Woman is very empowering,” Grace said. ”I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last few months and even though I’ve had doubts about my capabilities, it’s so nice to see the influence I can have on other people and the power we have as young women in our society.

“For my students, I want to be a great role model and I want to show them that even as a teacher, I can still do amazing things for the community.

“My overall goal is to expand on my knowledge of agricultural shows and rural Australia, as well as bring awareness and passion back to the Young Woman movement as it’s been eight years since we’ve had one, and we need to bring more attention to what the role can provide for young women.

“To all the girls who want to enter, I say go for it. Don’t ever doubt yourself, and if you have a passion for anything to do with rural life, you can do it.”

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