Emotional farewell for retired principal

Camps Bay Primary School principal, Stuart Collier, in the middle at the back, has retired.

Emotions ran high at a special assembly held at the end of the term for much-loved Camps Bay Primary School principal, Stuart Collier.

Mr Collier has retired after 34 years as a teacher – serving Camps Bay Schools for 19 years – eight years as a teacher at Camps Bay High School and then 11 years as the principal of Camps Bay Primary School.

Acting principal and long-time colleague of Mr Collier, Liesel Visagie said this was a sad moment for everyone but it was also a time to be happy because it was an opportunity to thank and acknowledge Mr Collier for everything he has done for Camps Bay Primary.

“I still remember Mr Collier saying when he first arrived, ‘How am I going to cope with all these little people?’. But, by the end of a first term, he felt, ‘How am I going to cope without these little people?’,” said Ms Visagie.

Ms Visagie praised Mr Collier for his knowledge, vision and wisdom, which has made Camps Bay Primary School the excellent centre of learning it is.

“Thank you for filling the corridors and classrooms with loads of laughter and life. Thank you for your inspirational presence everywhere — at assemblies, on the sports field, and even on the stage and dance floor. Thank you for always going the extra mile — and ensuring that everyone felt worthy. Thank you for being that special principal in the lives of your staff — you were more than a principal — you were a friend, and I am sure your office has seen more wet tissues than a doctor’s office,” she said.

Mr Collier thanked the staff and pupils for the very special assembly that they had put together for him which included performances from pupils in all grades.

He also thanked parents and old colleagues from the high school for taking the time to be there for him and the school’s governors, past and present, for their voluntary service and positive contribution to the school.

“If I look back, there have been 10 very good years. We have achieved a lot in terms of upgrading facilities including, for example, astroturfing the entire front of the school, the 5-a-side, Grade 3 and Grade 4 playgrounds, the new Grade 4 classrooms.

“But, at the end of the day, the infrastructure is not the most important thing, what is more important is that we created a school of excellence and a very happy and caring school in which children enjoy coming to school daily. That, for me that was the most important thing. This is a team effort and I thank all the staff and teachers for everything you have done to make this school so special,” said Mr Collier

He said 2019 marks the end of a chapter and 2020 marks the beginning of a new chapter at Camps Bay Primary School and he believes that it will be a good chapter with new leadership.

He reminded the pupils of Camps Bay Primary School that they are always running their own race and encouraged them to be the best that they can be and always show goodness and kindness to others.

“In closing, I bid you farewell – I thank you for the honour and privilege of heading this beautiful school from 2009 to 2019. It has indeed been a privilege and if I had the opportunity to turn back the clock and start again, I would. I have treasured memories that I will have forever. Hopefully, I have not only imparted knowledge but instilled goodness, values, laid solid foundations and touched the hearts and minds of thousands of children so that those children and those young people can go out and can make a difference in our country and even further afield,” he said.

Mr Collier closed his final speech with a quote by Carl Jung: “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”