After 41 years of teaching Grade 1, Patricia de Lillie, 60, from Punts Estate, in Elfindale, will resign at the end of this school year.
The stalwart has been a teacher at Levana Primary School for 35 years.
She had spent a year at Blouvlei Primary School and five years at Princess Vlei Primary School.
She taught all grades but teaching the foundation phase has always been her first preference.
“I love developing young minds and nurturing the little ones. My passion in teaching lies in the foundation phase. I enjoy seeing the learners develop and grow into little readers, writers and sentence builders. It’s always a great feeling when I’ve accomplished this – especially those ones who come from troubled backgrounds and homes. My classroom was always a safe haven for them and these children were like my own,” said Ms De Lillie.
She has been the facilitator of the Wordworks programme, a home partnership programme, since 2008.
The programme equips parents to help their children with school work and she has been in charge of catering and planning of parties for the school for over 30 years.
Raised in Retreat, teaching wasn’t Ms De Lillie’s first career choice. She wanted to become a nurse but her father persuaded her and her two sisters to become teachers instead.
“I am eternally grateful to my father for pushing me in this direction because I truly feel teaching was my calling,” said Ms De Lillie.
Questioned about her loyalty to Levana over the years, she said: “Levana is a very special school. The Lord placed me here for a reason, to make a change and to help the children of Lavender Hill,” said Ms De Lillie.
“I am extremely sad to be leaving the school, my second home behind and I will miss the children and I will definitely come visit but I am ready to rest now. I am going to look after my mother, spend time gardening and travel a bit,” she said.
Friend and colleague Camilla Martin who has been working with Ms De Lillie since she started at Levana Primary said the stalwart will be dearly missed.
“We became friends and shared many memories. She has been my mentor, friend and confidante. She has been doing sterling work at the school, she’s very helpful and friendly. Her presence at the school will be missed.”
Ms De Lillie commended her fellow teachers for their hard work and dedication and wished all pupils, parents and staff well.
“It was great to be part of the family at Levana and I hope the school grows from strength to strength. I also thank the principals who have been very involved in my growth as a teacher at Levana as well as my two sons and husband for their support,” she