At the end of this term, both the principal and assistant principal of the school will be leaving, after 21 years, writes Andrea Jutson.
When Alan Foy and Sue Boyer step out the doors of Mellons Bay Primary School at the end of this term, it'll be the end of more than two decades of history.
The long-serving principal and assistant principal are both embarking on new careers, after having started at the school at almost the same time 21 years ago. Sue started in 1986, having already taught at the school for five years as a relief teacher, and new principal Alan was the man who hired her.
Sue most remembers the support of local parents, such as the time the community pitched in to build the adventure playground in just two weeks.
``I don't think we've ever wanted anything we haven't got,'' she says.
This is the main reason she's stayed at Mellons Bay so long. ``Who wouldn't have wanted to teach at a school like that?''
When Alan started at the school, fresh from his principalship at Rongomai School in Otara, it was a bit of a culture shock. His employers at the Education Board asked him if he thought he'd stay as long as the previous principal - 19 years. Not likely, scoffed Alan. As to why he chose to stay as long as he did, he grins, ``No one wanted me anywhere else.''
The school has been doing a study on what Mellons Bay means to each student, and some old photos from 1981 were brought out. Except for the girls' uniforms, the children looked exactly as they do now - even some of the building blocks they were using are still in the resource room.
Sue also remembers the banda machines and Gestetners used in place of printers and photocopiers, smelling of methylated spirits and nail varnish.
Alan's favourite memories are those ``aha'' moments, when he saw the light go on in a child's brain.
After so long, neither likes the idea of quitting for good. ``I explain this as the three Rs - refocus, recharge and retrain - rather than retire,'' says Sue.
She and Alan say they are simply in need of a change. Sue hopes to spend more time with grandchildren, and perhaps focus in future on children's literacy, and Alan wants to practise his golf swing while he decides.
The new appointment is Judy Brown, current principal of Bucklands Beach Primary, who should know Mellons Bay well - her children were former pupils.