Ballina teacher ends 100-year tradition

By Dawn Cohen

Sandra Patch did not go to school on Monday, ending a 100-year family connection with Ballina Public School.

But on her first day of retirement, the 55-year-old teacher forgot to eat without a lunch bell to remind her.

"It was a funny feeling, like I was playing hookie," she said.

"I wondered what the kids were doing."

The graduate of Lismore Teachers College retired on her 55th birthday last Friday, after 30 years of service to the school she had attended.

Her grandmother was a pupil at the school 100 years ago, when it occupied what is currently the library.

Mrs Patch's mother and both her sons were also educated there.

When she was dux of the infant school, Sandra Patch knew she wanted to be a teacher.

"I had a wonderful teacher who made me feel special," she said.

"She showed me that teaching was a job but it wasn't a drudge. It was something beautiful.

"I sang to her 'We must not say good-bye' as she was packing to retire, and she cried."

"On Friday, at my farewell assembly when the band played The Rose I cried.

"There was so much love in the room."

Mrs Patch is looking forward to many lunches with her husband Kevin, the boynext-door whom she married at 18.

"He is the kindest man," she said yesterday.



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