“Make the most of every opportunity” was the message from Goldfields Primary School principal Sharon Booth as she spoke for the last time to her pupils.
Mrs Booth retired last week after 12 and a-half years in the role.
A formal farewell last week included a performance of the school haka and waiata Mati mahi ka ora.
“It was a very humbling send-off, actually. The deputy principal Anna Harrison organised an end-of-year production around the highlights of the 12 years that I had been at Goldfields,” Mrs Booth said.
Mrs Booth was born in Dunedin and did her training at Dunedin Teachers College, beginning in 1972.
She started her career at Kaikorai Primary School in Dunedin, then worked at various schools in Oamaru.
While at the college she met her husband John, and took a break from teaching while raising their two sons.
The family moved to Cromwell while the children were still young, Mrs Booth said.
“We’ve lived in Cromwell for about 35 years, and I returned to teaching in Cromwell around 1986,” Mrs Booth said.
“I was deputy principal at Clyde school for about 11 years, and then moved to Goldfields as principal in 2005.”
One of the challenges Mrs Booth found over her time as principal was a growing roll of pupils.
“When I arrived at Goldfields our roll was 115, and when I left our roll was 287, so it has certainly been a challenge in terms of roll growth,” Mrs Booth said.
“The thing that has always impressed me about Goldfields is the people, the support that we have received from everyone _ the people have just been amazing.”
A new school hall was a highlight of her time there.
“In 2007 we managed to build a community-funded hall.
“Prior to that we had nowhere to meet within the school as a group.
“The board really got behind it and we had the hall built probably within a year of our first talking about it.
“So that was a real plus for us because it gave us an alternative space, and it was all community funds used to build the hall,” Mrs Booth said.
The school’s deputy principal, Anna Harrison, has been appointed principal.
“My D P, Anna, when I arrived she had been there around two years prior to me, and it’s great to know that she is going to carry on from me.
“I’m delighted that Anna is taking over. It just means that the connections that we’ve got and the culture that we’ve got at the school will continue,” Mrs Booth said.
As for Mrs Booth, she and husband John are looking forward to their retirement, including enjoying their crib in Pounawea.
“We are both retired, so we will take some time to reflect, to do the things we want to do.
“We’ve got a lot of recreation activities that we want to pursue, and we’ve got our family, our sons and grandchildren.”