Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
ARARAT College staff member and former student, Janine Adams, has officially retired from a 40-year career devoted to Ararat’s state high school.
A crowd of 60 colleagues, family and friends celebrated her work and passion at a retirement dinner on Saturday night.
Ms Adams first commenced her time at the Ararat High School as a year seven student, completing her secondary education and then beginning employment at the school in 1980 as the laboratory assistant.
By 1998 she had truly immersed herself in the school community and the love for her job had become clear to those around her. Principal at the time, Robert Newton, praised her work in the annual review.
“She has reinvented the faculty with a very effective leadership style. Her effort in learning technology has been outstanding and she has been a real role model for others,” he wrote at the time.
In 2005, Ms Adams returned to Ararat Community College as a graduate teacher, after completing her study at the University of Ballarat while remaining part-time at the school.
As the current principal of Ararat College and a mentoree of Ms Adams, Ellie McDougall spoke of her devotion to state education and students at Saturday’s celebration.
“Throughout her career, Janine remained firmly focused on the students being first and as a result developed strong connections with all that crossed her path,” she said.
“Her knowledge of the school and the local community was astounding and her ability to make all that entered through the school gates feel welcomed and connected was second to none.”
Ms Adams was appointed assistant principal of Ararat College in 2012, playing a large role in the school’s centenary celebrations the following year.
She continued to climb the ranks in 2017, taking on the school’s acting principal position.
“From a young girl commencing at Ararat High School as a year seven student to an assistant principal and acting principal of the same school, the service Janine has given to Ararat College is one that very few will ever match,” Mrs McDougall said.
Ms Adams had reached the pinnacle of teaching in 2018, but her dedication to the school had taken a toll on her own mental health.
She told attendees on Saturday, that an introduction to mindfulness and The Resilience Project’s principles were what made her realise how burnt out she had become.
“It saved my life. It made me stop, see a doctor and complete long overdue medical tests which resulted in a diagnosis of breast cancer, two operations, seven months of chemo, then five weeks of daily radiation,” she said.
Ms Adams is now beginning her next chapter, retirement. She is proud of her achievements and content that the school has been left in very capable hands moving forward.
“I am proud of the time, energy and dedication that I have given to Ararat College,” she said.
“I have had the time of my life at Ararat College… but my willpower has gone. Education is a job that requires, no, really demands motivation. And when it's gone, it's gone.
“I could not recover from burnout and a new chapter in my life is beginning. I am enjoying calling myself a self-funded retiree.”
Ararat College will always be a special place for Ms Adams. She will remain involved with the school as a newly nominated school council member.