When Sr Annette Young RNDM retired in early July after 30 years on the staff at Sacred Heart School, Petone, it was the end of an era. Sr Annette, a former pupil at the school, first taught the new entrants’ class.
After earlier retiring from full-time teaching she remained on the staff part-time to work particularly with ESOL students and their families. Sr Annette has also been very involved with the Tokelauan community in the school and parish. She has been a fantastic staff member and friend to many staff, students and parents over her time at our school.
Sr Annette’s retirement also means after 105 years we no longer have an RNDM sister on the staff. But we are lucky to have the RNDM convent and Provincial Office next door to still have a RNDM presence in our school community. We have been blessed to have seen the charism of our founding order lived out in our school week-after-week by Sr Annette.
Sr Annette was farewelled at a special assembly that included liturgy, song, dance and presentations. Mission Sisters, members of Sr Annette’s family, past staff and the school community attended.
Sr Annette has taught many of our classes Tai Chi – something she learnt on her renewal course in Ireland a couple of years ago – so students performed Tai Chi for her.
The children rewrote the song She’ll Be Coming round the Mountain using words about what Sr Annette has done for us. During the last chorus staff did a surprise line dance as Sr Annette is a keen line dancer. The school choir performed a Tokelauan action song Pili Pili and a video memoir showed Sr Annette from her schooldays until the present day.
Michele Lafferty, School Manager for the Archdiocese, presented Annette with an Archbishop’s award celebrating her long and dedicated service to the Archdiocese. Liz Heatley presented an Outstanding Service Award from the NZ Catholic Primary Principal’s Association for her 50-plus years of teaching around New Zealand. Board of Trustees Chairperson, George Bignell, made a presentation on behalf of the school and assembly concluded with the singing of the Irish Blessing.
We will miss Sr Annette very much as a staff member but she will still be a parishioner and has offered to be a volunteer whenever she is able. We thank her for everything she has done for us and wish her well in her retirement.
Liz Heatley is Principal of Sacred Heart School, Petone.