While he may not look as though he’s aged a day since high school, Michael Picone has been busy since graduating in 2000.
A partner at C&W Financial Services, married to his high school sweetheart and father to three little ones, he is one of Moree’s young business leaders, and passionate about servicing his community.
Michael is a proud local education advocate, and hopes his own children one day emulate the fantastic experience he had completing his high school here in Moree.
“We had great teachers who, looking back, gave up an enormous amount of their time after hours to help us succeed,” Michael reflects.
Ms Gibson was one of his stand out teachers, going above and beyond to ensure students reached their capabilities.
“Plus she let me do my project on cricket,” Michael laughs.
And while instigating a class trip to Thailand may have cemented Mrs Cayirylys as another firm favourite, he believed all his teachers were extremely supportive.
“The friends I made at high school in Moree are still friends today,” Michael said.
“And of course, I met my wife Kelly there – so obviously it was a fantastic part of my life.”
Michael and his high school sweetheart, then Kelly James, both graduated with the exact same UAI – to the decimal point – and together embarked on their tertiary education at Newcastle University.
Michael completed a Bachelor of Commerce, and Kelly a Bachelor of Speech Pathology, before a 12-month working holiday in Europe.
Laughing that he uses the term ‘working holiday’ very loosely, he admits that while the trip afforded them the opportunity to take in all the wonders of the world, it also cemented Moree as home.
An accredited chartered accountant, Michael is now one of the youngest partners at C&W Financial Services and Kelly is a speech pathologist currently working for Community Health and the Department of Education.
With three young children, Hazel, 6; Joe, 4; and Mack, 18 months, Michael said returning to, and raising his family in, Moree was an obvious choice.
“We have family close by and love the tight-knit community feel of Moree – our children have space to explore and time to play and I really couldn’t imagine raising a young family in the city,” he said.
“Professionally, it has also given me a defined career path, and having spent my high school years here many local relationships were nurtured, ones that have proven imperative in my career progression.”
Michael and Kelly are both heavily involved in the local community, and Michael’s volunteer position as president of Moree Pre-school is testament of his dedication to education, even at the earliest level.
“My primary school years were spent at Garah Public School, and I really don't think you can beat the attention you receive in a small school environment,” he said.
“We are so fortunate to have educational options here in town, from pre-school through to secondary education.
“I have a lot to thank my Moree education for - never have I felt I missed out on an opportunity – we graduated well with wonderful friends, gained the degrees of our choice, travelled the world and now have careers we enjoy, in a community we love while raising a great little family.”