TEARS were shed as Our Lady of the Rosary School, Caloundra, bid farewell to six of their long-term teachers who retire at the end of the year.
The combined years notched up by Ann Johnston, Bernie Pearson, Cathy Smith, Denise Dilger, Maria Colwell and Marilyn Carmody totalled almost 150 years and assistant librarian Carmel Knight said it was only right to give them a good send-off.
During a liturgy at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Caloundra, attended by their families and many former students and work colleagues, the retirees were thanked for their contribution to the school and wider Caloundra community.
Principal Col O’Brien also paid tribute to the retirees and presented them with a gift on behalf of their colleagues and the school community. A morning tea followed with the retirees catching up with some of their former students and their families and colleagues, sharing a story or two about their time at the school.
Long-time assistant principal for religious education Marilyn Carmody said it was a fantastic send-off by her school “family” and she would sorely miss them all.
“It was just full of every emotion I’ve ever experienced in my life,” she said. “This has been an amazing family for more than 30 years and just to see kids who I teach currently, kids who I taught years ago and their parents, area supervisors, former principals and colleagues; it’s been very overwhelming.”
Mr Pearson said it was also an emotional experience for him. However, he said it was great to have the support of his children and grandchildren at the celebration and to be able to share the experience with them.
“They went to school here – I’ve been here for 30 years now – and to see them grow up and to know what this school has done for them over those years, well that’s just amazing,” he said. “It’s an amazing school filled with wonderful people and great teaching staff, including those I am retiring with today.”
Although he had officially retired from teaching, Mr Pearson said that did not mean he would be giving up his passion.
“I love teaching and I will always be involved in teaching somehow, someway,” he said.
Mrs Knight said the celebration was a great opportunity for the school community to say goodbye and good luck to those who were retiring and thank them for everything they had contributed to the school both personally and professionally.
“We have had a retirees’ committee work hard to help give our long-serving teachers a big exit and we felt that we needed to celebrate all the years that they have given to our school,” she said. “We will be sad to see them go and there are certainly big shoes to fill.”