After 20 years of teaching, a much-loved Witherlea School staff member is bidding farewell to staff and students.
Deputy principal Kirsty Stone will move on from the Witherlea school, thankful for the relationships she built with children and families over her two decades.
“I will miss my family here very much,” she says.
“But it’s always good to have a change and I’m excited about that too.”
Kirsty vividly remembers the fire that tore through the Wither Hills in 2001, it was her introduction to the region.
Moving to Marlborough to look after her sick father, she fell in love with the school and put down deep roots.
A teacher for 34 years, first in Wellington then the UK, she says she is passionate not only about teaching, but learning too.
“I taught right from the word go,” she says.
“We’re lucky at Witherlea, we have dedicated, passionate people.
“It’s such an amazing school.
While she isn’t leaving the industry, Kirsty says she believes teaching is becoming more challenging.
“There’s a lot of pressure on teachers,” she says.
“You have to really love teaching, otherwise you do something else.”
She says she will miss the strong connections with the kids and the local community at the 400-pupil strong school.
One of her proudest achievements is growing the school’s flourishing Kapa Haka group.
“Kapa Haka went from my class and one other eight years ago, about 40 students, to just under 200 today.
“That would be one of my proud moments.
Kirsty has also been a force for pastoral care in the community.
“We identify children that might be at risk, from grief, trauma or abuse, and put in small systems and mentoring,” she says.
“Wellbeing has become a special focus at our school.
“To the community, I would like to say a special, personal thank you for the privilege, and it is a privilege, of teaching their children.”