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Primary school teacher takes a bow after 38 dedicated years

Berenice Joseph is well-loved due to her compassion, kindness, professionalism and contributions to education and the community and will be greatly missed in her role.

IN a bittersweet moment filled with both nostalgia and anticipation, Assegai Primary School, nestled in the heart of Wentworth, bids farewell to one of its most cherished teachers, Berenice Joseph, affectionately known as ‘Mrs J’ by colleagues and learners alike.

With a tenure spanning over 38 years, Mrs J has woven herself into the very fabric of the school, leaving behind a legacy as she embarks on her well-deserved retirement.

Also read: WATCH: Fairvale bids farewell to principal

For Mrs J, Assegai Primary School has been more than just a workplace; it has been her educational home. She said, “I applied as a young 21-year-old to the school as it was the school I attended. I’ve never wanted to leave as I felt the children in my community needed me. I loved working with the principals as well as all my colleagues. There has never been a day that I was not happy to go to school.”

As she prepares to turn the page to this new chapter of her life, Mrs J grapples with mixed emotions. “Waking up on the first day of the new term and realising I won’t be heading to school feels surreal. My mind and body are still adjusting. I still wake up early out of habit, only to remember I can afford to sleep in a bit longer,” she shared.

Mrs J’s influence extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. Clint Leverton, chairperson of Assegai Primary School’s governing body, acknowledges her invaluable contributions, stating, “Over the years, Mrs J has nurtured countless learners from diverse backgrounds, shaping their futures with her unwavering dedication and compassionate guidance. Witnessing the successes of her former learners brings her immense joy and pride.”

Throughout her illustrious career, Mrs J has collaborated with esteemed colleagues and leaders, leaving an indelible mark on the school’s ethos. Leverton adds, “Her professionalism, kindness and steadfast commitment have earned her the utmost respect and admiration from all who have had the privilege of working alongside her.”

Beyond her teaching duties, Mrs J’s involvement in community initiatives, such as feeding schemes and promoting literacy through the Zenex Foundation, exemplifies her selfless dedication to serving others. Furthermore, her contributions to gymnastics and netball coaching, coupled with active participation in the Austerville Methodist Church, underscore her passion for making a positive impact beyond the realm of education.

“I eagerly anticipate this new season of my life. I look forward to indulging in activities I didn’t have time for, spending quality time with my family and fellow retirees, deepening my involvement in church and charitable endeavours and perhaps indulging in a bit of travel,” Mrs J expresses with gratitude. “I thank God for blessing me with this fulfilling chapter in my life.”

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