Montagu’s Gift Primary School principal Reginald Gabriel has reached retirement age and officially said goodbye to the school on Friday September 28.
After 42 years, Mr Gabriel said teaching was still his passion.
“I taught at Grassy Park High School in the 1970s and a few years later I went to Acasia Primary School,” said Mr Gabriel.
Twelve years later Acasia Primary and Montagu’s Gift Primary merged and Mr Gabriel became the head of the school.
Mr Gabriel said they had a lot of upheavalbut stayed focused on educating pupils.
He said he will still be involved in the resource hub, which includes the computer room and library.
An assembly was held to commemorate Mr Gabriel’s time at the school.
Addressing the school, he said you can’t go through life without following rules. “Create self-discipline. Everyone must make a concerted effort to behave. You have the future in your own hands,” he told the pupils.
He said they should thank their parents and grandparents who made sure they attended school. “You should also show your appreciation for the teachers and write them a letter of appreciation.”
Mr Gabriel encouraged the pupils to keep on reading. “Reading leads to writing and reading also leads to communication which is a big part of education.”
He advised them to stay in school, do their school work and after they finish high school to come back to help Lotus River.
“I will come and assist the school, but I will also enjoy my retirement,” he smiled.
Secretary Tarnia Kemp said “it was a dream”, working with Mr Gabriel who was a soft-spoken gentleman and father figure.
“I could talk to him about anything. I spoke to him before I got married, I spoke to him about my twins, and now my kids know him so well, and when they come to the school, they run straight to greet him first.”
Mr Gabriel was a Mr Fix-it as well. “The printer once broke, and he took it apart and fixed it without saying a word,” she said.
Mr Gabriel told Southern Mail that he would like to travel in his retirement but not any time soon. “I am waiting on my wife Naomie who teaches at Rosebank Primary School and has another year before she retires.”
Diane Floris, the learning support teacher, said a prayer at the assembly. “We thank God for Mr Gabriel who led the school, for his kind mannerism and his smiling face. He has been a friend to so many.”
Amanzo Jacobs, the sports teacher, thanked Mr Gabriel for his time and patience. “You have been a role model and we wish you well as you are going into a new season in your life.”