Teacher retires after 37 years at Castlehill

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

Last Friday’s end of term assembly was an extra special one for Castlehill primary’s pupils as they said goodbye to one of the school’s longest-serving members of staff.

Barbara McCormick has retired after 37 years of teaching at the only school in which she has ever worked.

Pupils from each class put on a show for Mrs McCormick, singing Christmas songs including Santa Claus Is Coming To Town to I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

Before they sang, the P7 pupils used letters of the alphabet to share some of the things Mrs McCormick might not miss, such as registers, memos and internet connection, or disconnection as the pupils pointed out. The letters spelled out ‘MRS MCCORMICK RETIRES TODAY’.

Mrs McCormick, 60, had pride of place to watch the show, as a chair had been set up for her beside the stage, with a table of items relating to her favourite things: tea bags and a teapot for her love of the hot drink and a horse figurine to represent her pony, stabled at Barrglen Equitation Centre.

Speaking at the assembly, fellow teacher Fiona Watson said: ‘Mrs McCormick has a particular interest in music and the brass band, which her daughters were both members of, so we hope she enjoys today’s performances.’

Mrs McCormick said: ‘It was superb, every single song was brilliant and I know they must have only had a coupe of days to practice.’

Head teacher Richard Long said: ‘I’ve known Mrs McCormick for five-and-a-half years and I know she’s been thinking of every single child she’s been working with and has always done the very best for them.’

When Mrs McCormick, who is originally from Ayrshire, received her teaching qualification in 1980, she was offered a job at Castlehill Primary School.

She said: ‘I originally came to cover Irene McIlchere’s maternity leave, but I met my husband John and made my life here. My two daughters, Jennifer, 26, and Gillian, 30, went to school at Castlehill.

‘All I ever wanted to do was teach. I’ve loved teaching the children and being around them – that has been the highlight of my career.

‘Thank you to all staff and pupils of Castlehill for making my career so special.’

In her new-found spare time, Mrs McCormick plans to spend more time with her family, including three-year-old granddaughter Aimee.

She also hopes to travel more with husband John, who retired as proprietor of men’s clothing shop A P Taylor in February, after 24 years.

Pupils hold up letters spelling: 'MRS MCCORMICK RETIRES TODAY'. 50_c52mrsmccormick01
Pupils hold up letters spelling: ‘MRS MCCORMICK RETIRES TODAY’. 50_c52mrsmccormick01

Barbara McCormick retires after 37 years. 50_c52mrsmccormick02

Pupils hold up letters spelling: ‘MRS MCCORMICK RETIRES TODAY’. 50_c52mrsmccormick01