Mr Speaker

I rise today to acknowledge the retirement of Ms Judith Felton, a remarkable educator who has served as Principal of Hunters Hill High School for almost two decades.

Ms Felton’s passion for her students’ education, her work with parents and the community and her strategic and teaching skills have all shined brightly.

Ms Felton’s early years at the school were a baptism of fire – literally so when the school’s hall was incinerated just before students were due to sit the HSC.

After calmly finding alternate accommodation for the school students she was faced with an even greater battle – for the very existence of the school itself which the state government announced would be closed.

A massive campaign saw the decision reversed and, under her leadership, the school has grown and flourished. Despite its prime real estate beside Lane Cove River – always a tempting target for finance officials – I am sure no state government will ever again contemplate the school’s closure.

Today Hunters Hill provides a vibrant learning environment with great facilities – including the multi-purpose hall which replaced its charred predecessor, its impressive kitchens for food technology and hospitality classes and its refurbished science facilities.

As the son of a school principal, I know good teachers don’t really retire.

Their advice and mentorship will be frequently called on and the progress of past students will be watched with interest.

Yet there is no doubt that Judith Felton will be missed by the Hunters Hill High School community.

She can be exceptionally proud of all she has achieved for those thousands of students who have come through the school gates on her watch.

[ENDS]