Herald coverage of Mrs Woods' retirement

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Farewell from Mrs Woods

2016, being my retirement year at Riebeek College, has been so very special, although probably the year that has flown by the fastest. I consider it a privilege to be able to retire while still
loving my job.

I have tried, over the years, to entrench and nourish values in the ethos of the school since our founder, Braam van Straten, in his wisdom, saw the need to establish a girls only school in Uitenhage. Proudly catering to the diverse religious beliefs and cultures that we so proudly count among our numbers today, the all-encompassing Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control; has been the foundation stone upon which my leadership has been based.

I am proud of having established traditions that can be carried forward, such as our annual themes. Each year we display our theme proudly for all to see and enjoy, and for many the theme statement becomes a watchword in their planning and actions.

I feel the need to thank so many people who have paved the path of my career, making the walk a happy, exciting and fun one. I have often said it, and I’d like to say it again. I still come to work each morning with a spring in my step. How blessed I have been, and how blessed I am, to be able to say this, and to thank:

Each and every child that I have had the pleasure of teaching and guiding;

All the many teachers who have come and gone over the years…and, in particular, all the present staff;

All the administrative staff – past and present;

All the wonderful parents, whose children I have been blessed to work with: May you nurture them and enjoy watching them develop into fine young ladies;

The principals under whom I have had the privilege of serving: Miss Jean Bartlett, Mrs Dorothy Hutton, Mrs Natalie Stear and Miss Laura Bekker; from each I have learnt something unique and special;

Most importantly, as always, my family: My sisters, Carol, Gail and Joan, all staunch ex-Riebeek girls and supporters, who have stood by me throughout my career, have been so proud of me and who have never shied away from offering their honest opinions and advice; my special daughters-in-law, Elana and Theresa, who have always been willing to ensure that I remain involved in their lives, and in my sons’ lives; lastly, my sons, Gareth and Darren, who have always being there for me, and whose understanding of the importance of “my job” over all these years has been generously given. These men have looked after me with such love and tenderness when I most needed it.

I mention, with great tenderness, my late husband, Russel, without whose love, understanding and support I would not have been able to sustain such a record of unbroken committed service to my Alma Mater. He was my soul mate, whose unstinting help and belief allowed me to develop as an individual, and to maintain my enthusiasm and sense of excitement about my calling as a teacher.

I say goodbye to Riebeek College, feeling content and ready to embark on the next phase of my life, as I believe I still have so much to give and enjoy. I know that Riebeek is in a good place. I have given everything I had to Riebeek College and though there is much still to do, I leave these tasks in the hands of others, hoping that those shaping a future for the country, or working with vulnerable youth, will remember “the Way of the Woods” and never give up on people. I have never given up on a child, no matter what.

This I proudly say. One is never only a teacher. One is a comforter, a nurse, an adviser, a protector, a listener, instructor, mentor, trainer, coach, counselor, psychologist and most importantly, an away from home “mother”.

Teaching is, after all, a task that has no final destination. So, in closing, I am reminded of the beautiful words of the Greek poet, Constantine Cavafy, writing about a mythical outcome or destination, Ithaka, that does not exist,

“hope that your road is long,
full of adventure, full of discovery…
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.”

In the end it is the journey and not the destination that is important. Riebeek has always been in good hands, and I know that this is not going to change. I wish the new principal the very best, and the assurance that my continued support and love for my Alma Mater, that has been so good to me, will grow through the coming years.

And so it gives me immense pleasure to end my last magazine entry with the phrase that I coined when I became principal: Once a Riebeek girl, Always a Riebeek girl.

FAREWELL, MRS WOODS

AS MRS WOODS RETIRES AT THE END OF 2016, WE INVITE YOU TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR BEST WISHES, MEMORIES OR ANECDOTES HERE:

Keep me updated?

Comments are moderated.


   i will miss you Mama Woods. Hope you have a lovely retirement and spend it with your lovely dogs.   
Chulummanco Nkohli
September 29, 2016 05:24:23 PM
   What a legacy,well done Marilyn,you have certainly left big shoes to fill and I wish you well in your retirement knowing that it will not be a time of rest but an opportunity to stay busy.May God bless you lots and lots.   
Lionel Thwaits
September 03, 2016 10:18:35 AM
   Go well my dear

xxxxx   
WARWICK OWEN
September 02, 2016 05:05:59 AM
   Delighted to read of your wonderful life at the school. Every blessing in your retirement. It's a life time since we were classmates!
It's great to be in touch with the school and I look forward to receiving the newsletter.    
Ann (Manser) Irvine
March 09, 2016 07:04:50 AM
   I was never a poetry lover, but I loved the poems we did with Mrs Woods in Grade 7. I wish you everything of the best, ma'am! You will always be remembered... ''once a Riebeek girl, always a Riebeek girl'' :)   
Nicole Rhodes
March 04, 2016 07:00:42 PM
   In grade 7 Mrs Woods taught us how to write a Haiku and that is when she came up with the phrase "potential" and would snap our fingers in the air after someone finishes reading their poem and we still do it even today.   
Mthunzikazi
February 21, 2016 05:32:18 PM
   "Once a Riebeek girl, Always a Riebeek girl" - A saying true to who Mrs Woods is! Her vibrant energy and remarkable influence will be dearly missed. I feel honoured to have experienced this as well as sad for the rest who will miss out on her wonderful ways!    
Tharwat Mohamed
February 21, 2016 05:15:38 PM
   One of my fondest memories of Mrs Woods was when I came for my interview in Grade 3. Her loving smile was so welcoming and her eyes sparkled when she asked me questions. It made me extremely excited to know that she would be my principal.

Riebeek is truly losing a jewel of a person and we will miss you dearly, Mrs Woods.   
Jessica Schoeman
February 20, 2016 12:26:02 PM
   It is an amazing privilege to attend a school with such a hands-on, dedicated, passionate principal who genuinely cares for all the girls at Riebeek. Although we know that Mrs Woods' retirement is well deserved, it is with a sad heart that we will not be able to complete our schooling with such a wonderful principal at the forefront. Enjoy your well deserved retirement Mrs Woods.    
Heather Wilkinson
February 20, 2016 09:09:42 AM
   When I first came to the school in Grade 4 it was Mrs Woods's first year as Principal and now that she is retiring it is somewhat bittersweet. Although Mrs Woods deserves the retirement, it is sad to see a person with such a big heart and the example of one who walks in integrity, leave.

The class of 2016 (the 'potential' class) is honoured to end this chapter off with you ma'am.    
Martez Meyer
February 17, 2016 03:35:43 PM
   I often wonder where Marilyn gets her boundless energy, bordering on hyperactivity. If, by the time she retires, her children haven't actually put her on Ritalin, she should be roped in (or would 'reined in' be more appropriate?) by the Old Girls' Union, thereby serving Riebeek even further.

I should also add, as a former colleague, that she was a great friend to have.   
J.J. Ossher
February 14, 2016 07:02:03 AM
   Issma Karodia-Marais: What an remarkable lady she's been, definitely a Riebeek girl an thanx for moulding us into Riebeek girls too "Ora et Labora Jennifer Cuyler Cohen: Such a big loss for Riebeek....but such a monumental moment. You have done Riebeek proud Mrs Woods. You deserve a long happy retirement.
Robyn Wates A legend second to none. "Once a Riebeek girl, always a Riebeek girl."
Janet Wilkinson: Awesome stuff Miss Dodd/Mrs Woods I remember you as our student teacher at Convent
Bernice Skinner: Mrs Woods was and is and always will be the best teacher ever! (Class of '88)
Kim Randell: Personification of a Riebeek girl. Best wishes for a healthy and happy retirement.
Jane Steenkamp Myburg: Legend!
Gesila Ferreira: Inspirational   
Admin -
February 10, 2016 11:25:57 AM
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Mrs Woods: The dodd family

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STAFF REUNION

STAFF, OLD AND NEW, GATHERED AT MRS WOODS' FAREWELL BASH IN DECEMBER 2016

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Mrs woods: Sunday Times 7 February 2016

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