Some students look forward to leaving school.
But Theresa Hansell loved it so much she sent her own children there and spent the last 35 years on the staff.
The Ponsonby resident retired last term from Richmond Road School after spending almost every day there since 1976.
Mrs Hansell, 77, felt she had “done her dash” in May and left the school that she first attended as a five-year-old.
She says the school has given her lifelong friends and memories she will have forever.
“We had many dear teachers who were so caring. I really did love my school days, they were the happiest I had,” she says.
Mrs Hansell left in year 8 and attended Auckland Girls Grammar with the hope of pursuing teaching, but the arrival of her first child put her plans on hold.
All five of her children attended the school and when she enrolled her youngest son the principal offered her a job.
ERA ENDS: Theresa Hansell attended Richmond Road School in 1938, sent her five children there and spent the last 35 years there as a staff member. JASON OXENHAM
“In 1976 the school opened an inner-city language unit and I was asked to teach there, helping children from the Pacific Islands and Asia learn the New Zealand way of life.”
When the unit closed Mrs Hansell worked at the school as a teacher aide and then in the office doing administration work.
She recalls how close-knit the staff were – throwing parties and attending shows and even venturing overseas together.
“We did a lot together in those days and everyone looked after one another. We went to Hawaii, Rarotonga and Samoa. It was great.
“We would say, `Next pay we will need to book fares for somewhere else’ and off we would go again.”
Mrs Hansell still keeps in touch with former staff members and even with friends from her own schooldays.
“There is a group of about five or six of us who still meet up for lunches.”
Mrs Hansell’s love for teaching and helping others has seen three of her children become teachers – one a principal – and has given her a life filled with adventure and happy memories.
” I just really have had a good life. I have five children who have been here for my husband and me, and we have just done everything together,” she says.
CLASS OF 44: Richmond Road School’s standard 4 class pictured in 1944, when Mrs Hansell was 10.
Auckland City Harbour News – 27/07/11.