After dedicating more than half her life to teaching, Helderberg Primary School legend, Colleen Mullins, has finally packed away her books.
Colleen has been moulding children’s futures since 1983 and after 40 years, decided to retire due to recent health scares. At her send-off held at the school yesterday, an emotional Colleen was hailed by colleagues, learners, parents and the community of Bishop Lavis.
The Grade R teacher, who has no children of her own, says she made the decision with a heavy heart. Colleen says: “If I could, I would stay even longer because these are my children, each and every one of them, and I want to see them grow up.”
As the laaities recited poems and sang songs dedicated to Colleen, she broke into tears. School principal Patricia Hendricks, who became Colleen’s friend 35 years ago, says the veteran teacher’s departure is a loss for the school.
Patricia says: “She was not only a motherly figure to the learners but to the staff as well. She was always there no matter what situation, personal or work-related.”
Parent Lucinda Beukes, whose son was in Colleen’s class more than 10 years ago, says: “She would take out of her own pockets and buy children uniforms, food for their parents’ homes. She would go out of her way to make sure that child is well looked after.”
Former pupil Zaid Isaacs, 21, said he still remembers the very first day he met Colleen.
Zaid says: “Most of us were crying to go to our mommies, but Ms Mullins quickly managed to calm us down and since that day, I recall being very excited to go back into her class. She was strict, but also so caring. She made us feel like our mothers were right there.”