THE gentle “face” of Welshpool and District Primary School’s office is bidding farewell after nearly a quarter of a century of looking after and out for students and their families as well as the teaching staff.
Business manager Carmel Sutherland is retiring on Thursday June 25, 2020 after 23 years in the position, just one day short of the end of Term Two.
Her qualifications as a secondary accounting and business teacher and as the mother of three now grown up children of her own have more than proven their worth to the Welshpool school community.
“This really has been a good job for me as I’ve always liked the school environment, and three days a week part-time has meant that I’ve had a great family life and work balance over the years,” Carmel said.
“I’ve loved the friendships I’ve made with the staff, the families and especially all of the students who have come through the school,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the parents’ group here at Welshpool as well, and I think it’s a very strongly knit and efficient group that does such a lot for the school and for the kids.”
Carmel said she has also appreciated the mateship and support she has received from the other business managers at schools in the South Gippsland area during her career.
“I first began working casually in the office at the Welshpool school during the mid-1990s, helping Di Walker who was the business manager at the time.
“Di was appointed as Toora Primary School’s business manager in 1997 and I got the job here at Welshpool.
“There have been so many changes to how schools are run over the years and gradually each school has had to become accountable and in charge of its own business and management,” she said.
“Now I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life and to spending more time with my husband Paul at home in Sandy Point and with our three children, Justin, Carlene and Jess, who all live in Melbourne.
“I also have a large extended family in Queensland,” Carmel said.
“We’ll be able to go travelling more often and for longer now!”
School principal Gabrielle Boyd said “Carmel has been an avid supporter and friend to all students who have passed through Welshpool and District Primary School.
“Her kind and loving approach is the reason her office is adorned with letters and flowers from students,” she said.
“Some of the loveliest experiences I have seen, here at school, have been the connection Carmel has with students, from students saying ‘Good morning Caramel’ to the Preps who ‘just want to see Carmel’ or those students who just need the magic ice pack from Carmel.
“Every one of these connections are real and filled with love, and Carmel will be greatly missed by not only the students but by the staff and families too,” Ms Boyd said.
“On behalf of the school community I would like to say ‘thank you Carmel’ for being an integral part of Welshpool and District Primary School; for the support of our families, students and staff, for your smile and warmth and for being the face of WDPS over the past years.”