Loved Gympie teacher farewells St Pat’s after 46-year career
46 YEARS of teaching, and 23 of those years spent in Gympie, came to an end yesterday for St Patrick’s School stalwart Bernadette Baxter.
Mrs Baxter was farewelled by her students and colleagues in a heartfelt retirement ceremony yesterday morning, putting a bow on a stellar career.
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Reflecting on an emotional day, Mrs Baxter said she felt humbled by the sincere send-off.
“I feel very grateful. I don’t think the Queen could’ve been more honoured today, it was very very special,” Mrs Baxter said.
“I graduated in 1975 so I’ve been teaching for 46 years, and I’ve been here at St Pat’s for 23 years.
“I feel extremely connected the school, I’ve seen a lot of growth and development in that time, and the love and care that goes into nurturing each student. And for me that’s the most important thing.
“Teaching has been part of my identity for almost my entire life, so it’s been very hard to walk away from it but at the same time I’m excited about new journeys.”
Of those new journeys, Mrs Baxter said she had plenty of exciting things planned for what comes next.
“I want to absolutely embrace life and enjoy every opportunity I’ve been given. Change is amazing, we need to embrace change and let it be part of our lives,” she said.
“I’m going to stay in Gympie, Gympie’s my community. I’ve got great things planned.”
Mrs Baxter said the opportunity to nurture each student’s growth according to their individual needs was the most rewarding part of her journey.
“The fact that you create that journey with each student, of course you have to adhere to the curriculum, but you have so much freedom in the way that you can connect them to the curriculum.
“I’ve loved the fact that we’ve worked as a team, the camaraderie and support of my colleagues no matter what the difficulties are.
“The collegial support has been amazing, and also the spirituality with the church connected to the school and that strong connection to community.
“It’s not an easy job, it’s very challenging. But it’s a very rewarding job.”