A surprise farewell

This morning,  I was greeted with a surprise farewell assembly from my staff and students.  To see all 700 of them gathered, just to say good-bye to me was wonderful.  We usually do all of our farewells on the last day of school and with it being a large elementary school, that celebration usually takes the whole morning.  I was expecting to be tagged on at the end. 

But I was treated to a video of each class saying good-bye and “Thank you” and a lovely book, hand made by my “babies” as I affectionately refer to them.

I wanted to capture my Farewell address in print, as I had a number of staff members share how touched they were by my words. 

So here goes….

“Four years ago, I found myself in a very similar situation as I was saying good-bye to another group of students and staff members at my former school.  I was sad to leave, but very excited about going back “home” to Wilfrid Jury”.  On that day I remember that I promised myself 3 things.   I promised myself that I would as hard as I could, along with the staff to ensure that student learning was going to be at the heart of everything that we did. That we would bring in wonderful resources, such as technology to ensure that our students at Jury had every opportunity to be successful.   I also promised myself that we would continue to ensure that families felt at home when they entered our doors. Knowing the community, I knew that this would be very important.  And the third thing that I promised myself is that I wouldn’t fall in LOVE ~ Because when you fall in love, it’s too hard to say Good – Bye.

Well, as the song goes, Two out of Three ain’t bad….  I was immediately embraced by this community and I immediately fell in love with everything that Jury embodies.  This last four years has been the most challenging and most rewarding professional and personal experience that I’ve had and I have to thank each and everyone of you for being a part of that.

As I say good-bye, I have one request for each of you and that is that I want you to promise me that you’ll continue to work as hard as you have for the past four years, when you return in the fall and you are working with your new teachers, Mr. Kuracina, Mrs. Brown and your new principal, Mrs. Builder.   That is the greatest gift that you could give me….

Thank You”

I was impressed that I was able to get through my farewell address without lots of tears, but as soon as I left the front of the gym and was embraced by students, staff and parents, I could no longer hold back the tears.  I was thankful for the refuge of my office and the guiding hand of one of my learning support teachers who knew I needed a few minutes to compose myself and then get “back to work”.

I have one more day to enjoy my life as a principal in a school before transitioning into a different role in the fall.  I never forget how truly blessed I am to have had this opportunity.




Finishing your Favourite Book

June is a month mixed with many emotions. Students are excited about their upcoming summer vacation. Staff are working their way through report cards and year end activities. Some staff are transferring to new schools or into new assignments. Our grade eight students are looking forward to their graduation ceremony and final moments in their elementary school.

fav bookAs administrators, we are going through the same range of emotions and for some of us, we are excited about a change in the fall ~ a new school, a new assignment or retirement. Last week, we attended our final Principals Community of Schools meeting and several of us will not be returning in the fall, so we were entertained by a number of “Good-byes”. Donna Walker’s analogy of a good-bye was truly beautiful. I will try my best to paraphrase what she said.

 I want you all to close your eyes and think about your favourite book. Think about those characters, whom you’ve followed through their storylines. You know who they love, what they like to do and their dreams for the future. Now think about the setting. Whether it is a sandy beach, a rocky mountain, a quiet river or a exciting urban location, you can see the colours and smell the smells. Now, think about the plot. You remember the opening scene, the problems the characters encountered, the climax and the last moments.

 goodSaying good-bye is like closing the final page on your favourite book. You don’t want those characters to go away. You want to experience more stories with them, go to more exotic locations and live through more challenges with them, but you can’t.

Life is about closing one book and getting ready to open a new one, with new characters, different settings and other story lines.

 Thanks for being a part of my favourite book.