“I think it is obvious that your work here in this school was never just a job – it was a vocation. Your dedication, energy and commitment were second to none and most importantly the pupils were at the heart of everything you did” Newmarket Girls School Principal Mary Rea said as she paid tribute to Norma Stritch who retired last week after teaching at the school for the past 41 years.
Norma’s retirement celebration began with Mass celebrated in St. Mary’s Church by Fr. Francis Manning PP. Although torrential rain poured down, it did not dampen the spirits of current and former staff, family members and the children who joined in the party at the school where presentations were made to Norma by the Board of Management, Parents Association, staff and pupils.
Mary Rea added that since she became Principal, Norma has been a wonderful Deputy.
“You have been my confidante, my advisor and my support and on behalf of all of us here I wish you a very long, healthy and happy retirement during this new chapter in your life”.
Chair of the Parents Association Liz Bradley added her congratulations saying: “after giving so many years of your life to teaching here, you will have memories that will last forever. We thank you for 41 years of true dedication and wish you a wonderful retirement”.
In reply, Norma thanked all those who helped make her retirement party so memorable. “I feel very honoured that you went to so much effort and took the time to come here today” she said.
“I started teaching in Newmarket Girls School on January 7th, 1981. I am very grateful to have been given the privilege to teach at this school. During my 41 years, I have taught with three Principals, Miss O’ Riordan, Mrs. Meade and Mrs. Rea and I thank them for their guidance and everything they did for me during my time here”
Norma said as she also thanked the wider school community and the numerous organisations in Newmarket parish who were of immense help to the school throughout the years. She paid tribute to her family who she said were always there for her and supported her in every way they could.
The wide eyed children at the gathering heard Norma describe how the school functioned when she started teaching in 1981.
“There were blackboards and chalk as well as fireplaces in the classrooms. Now we have interactive boards, laptops, ipads and beebots. We have goal posts and modern basketball stands as well as lots of PE equipment. While many things have changed, one fact remains the same. When people visited the school they complimented the children’s behaviour and high standards. When the children went on a school tour, people always praised them. They are and always have been a credit to their families”.
As tears flowed from both children and staff Norma said that she will always be around.
“I will meet you all and will continue to be interested in all the pupils I have taught over the years, thank you all so much for organising this wonderful and memorable occasion,” she finished.