Nana Ange bids farewell
Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News.
MAROONA Primary School teacher, Angela Reynolds, has said her goodbyes to a school she loves with every inch of her heart.
Arguably Maroona’s most treasured nana, Nana Ange as she is affectionately known by her students, is retiring to spend time with family and travel with husband, Tony.
Mrs Reynolds was acknowledged earlier this year by the Department of Education for more than 35-years of teaching.
The Maroona Primary School community recognised her contribution to the community last Friday at a function organised by the School Council and parents.
The proceedings included the planting of a tree on school grounds, with assistance from one of her first students at Maroona, Sean McDougall, and his son Vincent who happens to be in prep this year.
Mrs Reynolds said while her strong connection with the community has made the decision difficult, she is ready to leave and take some time for herself.
“Not many people have the privilege to do a job they truly love and still be as passionate and enthusiastic about it at the end as they were at the beginning,” she said.
“It’s been my privilege to teach here at Maroona and there are so many for whom I have enormous gratitude.”
While she has vivid memories of playing schools as a child and lining her four younger brothers up on chairs in front of a small blackboard, there was no dream of returning to her place of birth to work. Rather, it was just meant to be.
Mrs Reynolds left Ballarat Teachers College in 1978 and was sent to Willaura to begin her career.
“Following two terms at Willaura, I moved on to Ararat West Primary School and over the next few years that I was there Tony and I got engaged, married and eventually our first child Robert arrived,” she said.
Whilst on brief leave with Robert she gained a permanent position at Ararat North Primary School which was where she spent her time in between the births of her daughters, Amy, Emily and Laura.
“My next job was a shared music specialist role in seven rural schools around Ararat (including Maroona) which lasted two years,” she said.
It was brought to a halt when the Kennett government overhauled Victoria’s education system. The Yalla-Y-Poora and Ross Bridge schools were closed and amalgamated on the Maroona site.
“I was lucky enough to gain the teaching gig at Maroona. That was 28 years ago and as they say, the rest is history,” she said.
School Council president, Jane King, spoke of Mrs Reynolds’ undeniable impact on two generations across the Maroona district.
“This lady that is the queen bee of our school is one of a kind. Hard working, passionate and dedicated to always striving to improve her knowledge of teaching, but most of all her devotion to the children is incredible,” she said.
“We thank her for the dedication to our school. The hours and hours of time she has worked to ensure every child is catered for and for her enduring love for our children.”
“This is why Maroona Primary School is such a special place. Teachers like her that go the extra mile.”
In addition to her classroom duties, Mrs Reynolds has been fundamental in organising fetes, teddy bear picnics, excursions, and played a pivotal role in celebrating the school’s 125th anniversary and co-writing a corresponding book on its history.
“The fairy garden, animal cut-outs on the front fence, wall hanging quilt, music wall and Dairy Australia cow are all projects I have initiated and completed for the school,” she said.
Mrs Reynolds has watched Maroona Primary School evolve, reminiscing about the six months she spent teaching in the school’s kitchen 12 years ago before new portables arrived.
The way education is delivered has been even more transformative with the introduction of new technology.
“I started out with blackboards, then we moved to dotted thirds paper, then desktop computers and now we’re regularly using iPads and many other technologies,” she said.
One thing that has stayed the same is Mrs Reynolds’ commitment to students, their education and wellbeing.
“I know a lot of teachers won't give out their number, but my parents have got it and I have always been accessible day and night because a problem at night can be absolutely enormous if it is not resolved,” she said.
Mrs Reynolds is going to ease the difficulties of transitioning into her new retirement lifestyle by taming her garden, sewing, spending time with her grandkids and seeing more of Australia in her newly purchased caravan.
But no matter how far her and Tony roam, she insists that Maroona Primary School will always be home.