Librarian Cathy Carroll with her student helpers, Elsa Gibberd, Nathan Harrisson, Belle Wilson, and Rhiannon Bean-Norgrove with the special peace prize that Cathy donated to the school, awarded to student librarian Nathan Harrisson this year. “He smiles and helps others,” Cathy said.

Activist, social worker, tutor and teacher, Waiheke Primary School’s librarian Cathy Carroll retired at the end of the school year after over 40 years of service to education.

Marked by a farewell assembly on Friday 15 December, staff and students took to the stage to say goodbye to the clearly loved teacher, including an excellent rendition of the Cat in the Hat.

Principal Kathy Moy-Low said Cathy’s retirement marked the end of an era.

“Cathy joined our staff in April 2010 when our school was just four years old. Ms Moy-Low said. She is the longest serving teacher on our staff.

“She came to work with our students who needed ongoing extra teaching support because of their physical disabilities. Cathy took the time to get to know these students, their learning needs, their physical disabilities limitations and adaptations.

“Some of her work was groundbreaking and she forged friendships with the students and their families, actively seeking support from the community and community groups and sourcing grants for extra resources for these students.”

Cathy completed her teaching training in Auckland and her first teaching job was over 40 years ago at Balmoral Intermediate in Auckland City.

When her son Sam was born she took time off to raise her family and complete her masters in English Literature, before working in social welfare as her family grew.

Cathy tutored sick children at Starship, and started private tutoring on the island. Then it was time for the island schools to share in Cathy’s passion for teaching.
She settled into a teaching position at Te Huruhi that was to last 17 years before ending up at Waiheke Primary.

It’s clear she’ll be missed most for her gentle ways, though she’s promised to keep popping in for reading time.

“Cathy always lightens the mood with her quick humour but I think what we will miss the most is her very caring ways which have reached out to us all … the endless knowledge about books and reading and the willingness to share.”
• Safia Archer

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online