FOUR teachers who have notched up almost a century of teaching at a rural high school have retired.
Bishop Heber High in Malpas has said farewell and thank you to design and technology teacher Norman Ellis, Karen McKay of the school’s inclusion resource centre, assistant headteacher Kate Soragna and home economics teacher and badminton coach Pat Symms.
Norman Ellis joined Bishop Heber in 1985 as a design and technology teacher.
He continued to teach the subject, along with ICT, and has seen the introduction of many new courses linked to advances in technology during his teaching career.
Karen McKay has been teaching for 35 years, for 23 of them at Bishop Heber.
During this time she has been a member of the English department, head of drama and a head of year.
Over the last three years she has organised the inclusion resource centre to support students in school.
Karen ended her career as a guest at a recent garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Kate Soragna joined Bishop Heber in September 1991, working in the business studies department.
She introduced Italian into the sixth form and in 1996, when languages college status was achieved, Italian became a Key Stage 3 language option, following through to GCSE and A- level.
Appointed an assistant headteacher in 2001, responsible for the languages college and international curriculum, Kate forged close links with partner schools in Monza, Italy and Parkskolan in Sweden, both of which continue to work with Bishop Heber through British Council development projects. The school gained the International School Award last October.
For the future, Kate plans to study for a degree in Italian Art History and spend more time in Italy.
Pat Symms took up an appointment as head of home economics in September 1975.
She has seen many changes over the years including the change of subject name to food and textiles technology.
Pat has maintained a passion for the subjects, according to the school, and enjoyed teaching students skills for life.
She has been involved in many aspects of school life and her pastoral roles have included acting as a form tutor, a deputy head of year in the sixth form and, more recently, a head of year.
She has organised the school badminton club and has coached students to county level.
Pat set up an American exchange with East Greenwich High on Rhode Island which ran from 1984 to 1994.
Many students and families made lifelong links through the exchange.
She has also been on many ski-ing trips, was a mentor for the first Chinese teacher in the school and for 26 years was the staff representative on the school governors.