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Parkies’ pillar of strength calls time on her career

Principal Du Preez tearfully admits, "It's difficult to leave".

After nearly four decades of service and having impacted countless lives, principal Stella du Preez is handing over the reigns and stepping into retirement. Her departure may leave an unfillable void but Parkies will march on.

Having led Florida Park High School for 10 years as their first-ever female principal, her journey to this point began a full 38 years ago. Once a young Stella completed her BSc in Chemistry, she began her career at the school as a part-time Mathematics and Science teacher. “There was a shortage of those back then. I remember getting paid R250 per month and when it went up to R270 I was ecstatic,” beamed Stella as she reminisced about her earlier years.

Speaking of the highs she had experienced over the years, Stella said, “It’s all about the children and their achievements – what they have accomplished and how we were able to help them do so. I will truly miss the heart of the organisation.” There have been lows too and the one that sticks with Stella is the Christmas of 2011 when the school was left without a roof after a botched renovation.

Comedic moments were also in abundance as Stella told stories of stressed teachers with mismatching shoes and late-night one-eyed marking sessions. An unknowing outgoing principal was lured by her three children to a surprise farewell which was attended by everyone closely associated to the school, and she admitted, “There were many tears that night”.

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Expressing her gratitude, Stella said, “Thanks to the SGB for being so supportive. I am going to miss the children and the Parkies family, they really are a wonderful group of people.” When asked how she plans to spend her retirement, Stella winked with a gentle smile, “Who knows, I might just write a book on it all”.

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