Steenberg Primary School’s retiring principal Cassy Dick was described as being a fair, well organised and people’s person.
These words were echoed by fellow teachers at her farewell party, on Thursday December 6.
Acting principal Genine Erfort said Ms Dick’s organisational skills were excellent. “Last Friday I needed to find a document from 2016. It was so easy because everything was filed. I have to compliment her because she is definitely going to make my job easier.”
Ms Erfort said Ms Dick had a good way with people.
“Cassy brought something special to the school. She had a down to earth nature as well as a light-heartedness as she had the ability to make people feel comfortable around her.
“She draws people to her and this is reflected with the number of kids celebrating with her today. Cassy has left her mark on the heart of Steenberg Primary.” said Ms Erfort.
Humorous Nicholette Frank, a teacher who started with Ms Dick at Steenberg Primary, described her as professional, contemporary and profound as she was the school’s first female principal.
“Thirty nine years ago she started as an inexperienced teacher in an unfamiliar territory,” said Ms Frank.
“She goes beyond the call of duty.”
One day Ms Frank took one of her pupils home as the girl seemed like she had not eaten in a while The child ate everything that was laid out on the table.
“I told Cassy about it, and she looked at me and asked to take the girl home with her. She fed the girl many times after that,” said Ms Frank.
She described Ms Dick as a marvellous and meticulous person who was not afraid to speak her mind and who was determined to get staff to do their work. “Thank you for being a perfectionist and a passionately professional and principled principal,” said Ms Frank.
Ms Dick told the guests that the last few days at school “were bitter-sweet”.
“I am sad to leave my second home after 39 years,” said Ms Dick.
She took the audience down memory lane, starting with her childhood and how she grew up with her sister and two brothers.
“We had a very, very strict father. My father and his brother had a family printing business. Since I was five years we were expected to work during the school holidays in the printing business.”
She was sad to work while her friends were out playing and enjoying themselves.
“Strangely, it never occurred to any of us at the time to rebel against my dad; we were too afraid. But looking back today, I realise that my working (experience) at the printing works had taught me many of the values that I have today. When I was young I promised myself that as soon as I didn’t have to, I would not work. And that time has come – it’s taken me 55 years. This teaches us never to give up on your goal and that’s the sweet part of my retirement.”
However, Ms Dick said, despite the fact that they had to work, they had “an amazing childhood”.
“When I look back I realise how privileged we were. I was fortunate to follow a career that I truly came to love.”
Ms Dick recalled when she started at Steenberg Primary with two other new teachers “ready to conquer the world”.
“In those first five minutes when I came to school, I was terribly brought down to earth by a teacher whose name I am not going to mention, but who turned out to be a valued friend of mine.”
Ms Dick said during her tenure she grew up and learnt that life and the world did not revolve around her. “I learnt to work with the hardest of task masters with a smile on my face. I learnt to appreciate how we, as teachers, can affect our children either positively or negatively. I discovered how to build a relationship with our children. I shared some of my valued moments as well as my deepest sorrows at Steenberg Primary. Thank you to my family and organisations who supported our school, district officials as well as principals and staff from surrounding areas,”
She thanked her colleagues for their support and encouragement as well as inspiration and said they must continue to value each other and work together as a team.
“You are priceless. Each of you have touched my life and it has been an absolute honour to have s
erved Steenberg Primary,” said Ms Dick.