Three long serving educators have decided to retire after collectively almost 100 years of teaching at Nuriootpa High School.
Mr Neville Saint is retiring after 36 years at the school, whilst Mr Shaun O’Neil is retiring after 30 years and Mrs Lyn Seidel, 23 years.
Mr Saint and Mr O’Neil started together at Nuriootpa High in 1985, however Mr O’Neil taught at Eudunda Area School for six years from 1990 to 1996.
For Mr Saint, who has always taught forms of design and art like photography, visual arts and digital imaging, it was just time to retire.
“It’s a great place to grow old but I just didn’t want to stay forever,” he said.
Mr Saint explained that he’s always asked about some of his memorable moments at the school, but he finds it too hard to sum up.
“My problem is because I’ve been here so long there’s been a lot of good things happen. Friends and staff have come and gone, I’ve met a lot of students,” he said.
“But I think the best thing for me is when I hear names like James, Tessa, Chloe, Ella and see children that I’ve taught out in the community in a positive way.”
Post-retirement, Mr Saint’s plans include travel in the caravan and eventually overseas again, as well as spending time on his property and riding motorbikes.
“I’m looking forward to all of the exciting things that could happen,” he said.
And who knows, there might even be time for a catch up with mate, Mr O’Neil.
“When Neville and I started together in 1985 we shared the new boys in town feel… it was fun and we were well accepted within the community,” said Mr O’Neil.
Mr O’Neil, who taught Biology in the early days but spent most his time as PE teacher, explained that he’s retiring to have ‘at least 10 good active years’ pursuing other interests and relaxing with his wife, Catherine.
But he still plans to do some relief teaching, because the biggest loss he thinks he’ll feel is missing the students.
“It’s interesting when you virtually give your whole working life to one job and site…this place means a lot to me,” said Mr O’Neil.
“The children have really been fantastic, and that’s been the highlight for me.”
Mr O’Neil has always prided himself on creating a safe and fair classroom, where he does his job and educates, but still has fun.
But the thing he treasures the most are the times he’s made a difference to students without even knowing, and they’ve given him a little thank you note or card, which now sit proudly in his ‘pool room’.
“One of the things I’ve said on that last lesson of every week is ‘have a good weekend and remember, be careful, it’s a jungle out there’. So then they’d come back in one piece,” said Mr O’Neil.
“Students wouldn’t leave the class on a Friday until I’d said it!”
And just like Mr Saint and Mr O’Neil, Mrs Seidel is going to miss the students and these memories the most.
After 23 years at Nuriootpa High working in Home Economics and Hospitality, she has decided to retire and explore what the world has to offer.
“It’s been great. I have really enjoyed my time here that’s for sure,” she said.
“I’m going to miss the staff. They really are wonderful and it’s like a big family.”
With the school year finished and retirement life now upon her, Mrs Seidel plans to spend time with her children and grandchildren, sew, garden, travel and continue with her community work.
Like Mr O’Neil, she hopes to do some relief teaching work in the future.