Farewell Speech – From Prue (Class 6 teacher)
I would like to acknowledge the Original People of this land where we are gathered– the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation and pay respects to Elders past, present, and emerging and honour their spiritual connection to Country.
It is such a pleasure to be here with you today in this stunning place being held in the loving arms of nature, the sun to warm us and the gentle breeze to freshen us. I’d like to welcome everyone who could make it here today and send my love and thoughts to those who cannot be here. In that spirit, I would like to take deep breaths and say our morning verse one last time. As we breathe and feel the pink light in our hearts I will say the names of those members of our class who cannot be here. If you could bring them to mind and send them your love – Sari, Sachika, Laila Belle, Zoe, Ofir, Ma’ayan, Sunny, Ivy, Willow and Remi….the sun with loving light…..
A special word of thanks to Laurie, Suzie and Skai who, despite the many difficulties thrown at us, have remained positive and tried to make today a beautiful day. The fact that a group of parents saw to it that we could gather together after so many months apart is testament to the resilience and open- hearts and minds of you all. These are qualities that have been imparted to this superb group of children that I have had the honour to have in my care for the past six years. Every day I have been blessed to witness the intelligence, playfulness, wonder and amiability of the people who met me on the other side of the rainbow bridge along with those who left us along the way and others who have joined us. Today, I am honoured to say that I am proud of your achievements over the years and the sweet memories will forever remain in my heart.
On that first day of Class One, you were perhaps a little bit nervous – I know I was. But after those first few days, I knew that I had arrived where I belonged and that my angel had guided me to you. We got to work quickly and Class One got off to a great start learning about the straight and curved lines of shapes and all the challenges of form drawing. It only took about six months until everyone could, mostly, open their books around the right way! You learned the alphabet from Fairy Tales and you met Portly, Tikkity, Mini and Dame Divide and counted all the way to 100! Our class play was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and you brought it alive with talking mirrors, trees, a prince prancing on a pony and all of the other ways that you were able to take your place and make this together – the first of many. The field out the back of the classroom and the mud pit that was there for much of the year was a constant source of enjoyment – getting stuck in the mud was cause for hilarity….sorry for the messy clothes that went home parents. Many cake shops did a roaring trade from the kitchen/cubby underneath the deck, the fairies were accommodated in some of the fanciest and most lovingly created palaces, the slope at the side of hill next to Kindy became the site of an epic water game that lasted most of the year and there was lots of free play in and out of the classroom. Dress ups and cubbies with tunnels of sheets connecting them. This is when the two Kindies really came together and began forming one class. And through much of the year, you learned to knit and get those little fingers and hands so able that out of them came your cuddles knitted dolls, each one as unique as you are. Very importantly you began learning about helping one another during this year and there have been so many times that I have looked out over the classroom to see all of you busy at work and helping one another. You give each other a lift when you need it and I am so proud of you for that.
When you all came back together for Class Two you knew each other and arrived ready for another great year. Sol joined us and it wasn’t long before he belonged with us. By now you were able to do a lot more things and you knew the daily and weekly rhythm. You had gotten to know one another during morning circle news time and being in the playground or working together and so our class was really humming. This was the year you started the reading program and that was hard work for many of you, but you did it and worked your way through those coloured boxes! The King of Ireland’s Son delighted us so much we had to do a class play from it – who can ever forget cheeky little Gilly with his horse’s legs and being thoroughly entertained by the Mummers – a play within a play. That play was only as spectacular as it was because you had learned to collaborate and work well together. You all took your little part and worked with it to create something wonderful as a group. During Class Two you moved from learning and writing letters to beginning to write sentences and now you were able to learn about Place Value. It was very exciting for you to move to the Class Two room – most of all because that meant you were allowed on the monkey bars. And wow, did they get a workout that year! That game, “Crocodiles” kept many of you busy and happy every morning tea and lunchtime.
After a long Summer holiday, you came back ready for Class Three and Ivy and Django joined us that year. They very quickly became a part of our energetic group who were ready to learn and have fun which was just as well because we had a busy year ahead! We began the year learning running writing and hearing Old Testament stories but you wanted to know more about how the world works so we began to measure it, time it, build on it, as well as garden on it. The brilliant house projects were a highlight of the year and perhaps for some of you being covered in mud while building our little home was a highlight. Again parents…..sorry for the mess. But how good was that homemade butter with bread? I think it is safe to say that all of you know that Captain Cap goes at the beginning and at the end is a cannonball. The day our classroom turned into a Bazar was one of the most memorable for me – we had book shops, chocolate shops, lolly shops and the room was a hive of activity. It was very exciting to camp at school that year, all snuggled up in your tent with your parent. You could be found playing on the green at morning tea stretching those little legs that were growing so quickly. There were a lot of Mummy Daddy games that year and all sorts of family configurations….twins, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles…all of it kept many of you happy.
Class Four was the year of all of those exciting Norse Myths and you made the shields too. All those weaving form drawings, under and over, under and over! Now you were allowed in the field and you made the most of that….. but handball was the favourite game by far. Now that you could write you learned about the History of Writing. The Animal Main Lesson was a favourite and all of your brilliant animal projects filled our classroom. Our class play – The Three Trials of Thor – was spectacular. The King of the Giants isn’t here with us today, but he is remembered fondly along with all of the other children who have left – Harry, Alice, Jesara, Maya, Poppy, Indie, Llewellyn and Jessie. You were all very brave at our camp at Midginbil Hill camp, sleeping in tents on your own, but for me, the best part was when we could all swim in the dam. That was a lot of fun taking turns jumping off the pier.
In Class Five we welcomed Kirra, Sachika and Max and we gobbled them up because more kind people are always welcome. It was the year of ancient cultures – Persia, India, Egypt and Greece – Ahura Mazdao, Rama and Sita, Isis and Osiris and the deities of ancient Greece. So many wonderful stories to fill your souls. Your geometry went to the next step when you were given instruments and were able to become more precise and naturally you rose to that challenge. Personally, one of my favourite lessons was Botany when we would go into the playground every day and find what we were learning about.
And here we are at the end of Class Six after this long and fulfilling journey. The rainbow bridge was crossed but so many other bridges have been crossed along the way – from those beginnings of learning each letter to being able to write essays or poetry, debate and public speaking. From meeting the characters of Numberumbria to all of the abstract ways you can work with numbers now. From the seven dwarves to a complex musical. You are so clever and capable, and the future looks bright for you not only because you are so willing to apply yourself to a task with gusto but also because you are a group of respectful and loving people. You have shown me over and over again that life is good and there is fun to be found everywhere. You take care of one another. We have shared so many experiences and they have helped grow you into fine young adults. I know that you are well prepared for High School and that you are ready for this big transition from PS to the new routines and teachers of HS.
Your Primary School days have been an amazing journey for not only you but also for your parents. I remember a few tears from your families on your first day of Class One and I am sure there will be tears for some on your first day of High School next year. Throughout all of these years, your parents have been holding you with love and care and given you everything you need to succeed and arrive here. The craft helpers – and Laura you get a special mention – how could we have done it without you– reading helpers, popcorn makers, mud house creators, parents who came on camps, or made wooden shields…and all of those amazing buffets created when everyone brought a plate. Parents, thank you for all of your loving support over these years. You can be so proud of this group of children that you have helped to form with your care and attention. They will continue to excel in High School, and I know the teachers will enjoy getting to know them.
So my dear Class Six, after a long and sometimes bumpy road this year we have made it through and you have a long summer holiday to recharge and get ready for this next exciting chapter in your lives. You might be a little nervous or perhaps you’re excited or maybe a little bit of both. I would like to acknowledge Tanya and how lucky we were that she was able to step in and guide you through these last few weeks. I know you are in good hands. And for those of you who are leaving to go to a new school, those schools are so lucky to have you! They don’t know it yet, but they are about to receive some extraordinary individuals into their care. You may be moving on but like all of the class you carry qualities you have developed throughout the years – graciousness, an excellent work ethic, a love of learning and of course a fine sense of humour. It is with pride and love that I farewell you today and I look forward to hearing about the wonderful places your lives lead you.