Prin­ci­pal says farewell

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

When Wal­ton School kids race down the hill and onto the field to play sport next year, some­thing will be miss­ing – their prin­ci­pal.

Af­ter 25 years of lunchtimes spent coach­ing and ref­er­ee­ing games, Bob Mar­low is hang­ing up the whis­tle, and hand­ing over the top job.

De­cem­ber 18 will be the last day for Mr Mar­low, as well as his youngest grand­son Jor­dan, who starts in­ter­me­di­ate next year.

‘‘I’ve had three grand­sons come through the school and I thought when the last one fin­ishes it would be a good time for me to fin­ish too.’’

Mr Mar­low – or Mr M to the chil­dren – said Wal­ton was a ter­rific school and he was proud of his time as prin­ci­pal.

‘‘It’s been fan­tas­tic but it’s time to move on.’’

You wouldn’t find ‘‘ much more of a lovely man’’ than Mr Mar­low ac­cord­ing to Board of Trustees chair­man Be­van Pratt.

‘‘He’s very good at what he does – he’s a bit of an in­spi­ra­tion for a lot of peo­ple really,’’ Mr Pratt said.

‘‘ Kids that have gone to Wal­ton School and are now 18 or 20 years old still have a lot of re­spect for Bob as a prin­ci­pal and as a per­son.

‘‘He’s just a gen­uinely nice guy.’’

Mr Mar­low started at Wal­ton in 1988 af­ter act­ing as prin­ci­pal at Te Puninga School and teach­ing new en­trants at Tauhei.

At the time there were 62 stu­dents at the school. To­day there are 116, with chil­dren from all over the district en­rolled.

‘‘I have worked really hard and I have a very ded­i­cated staff, and we have built the school right up,’’ Mr Mar­low said.

‘‘The success here is not just me, it’s my team.’’

Mr Mar­low’s phi­los­o­phy was to cre­ate a fam­ily at­mos­phere at Wal­ton, which he hoped had played a part in the school’s success.

‘‘The staff and I are com­mit­ted to the whole ed­u­ca­tion of the chil­dren . . . the so­cial, emo­tional and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.’’

For Mr Mar­low, this meant go­ing above and be­yond to get to know his stu­dents out­side school. Dur­ing week­ends, for ex­am­ple, he spent hours vis­it­ing the chil­dren at home so they could show him their home gar­dens.

‘‘Ev­ery year I come along and have a look at them, give them some seeds and talk to them about how they grew things.

‘‘It takes me all week­end, I drive for miles all over the district. ‘‘But the kids love it.’’ Wal­ton also had an ex­tremely sup­port­ive Par­ent Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion and Board of Trustees, he said.

Over the years, Mr Mar­low has seen ma­jor changes at the school.

Th­ese in­cluded the ad­di­tion of a fifth class­room, a new li­brary, an ad­ven­ture play­ground and ten­nis courts.

There is also a brand new multi- pur­pose room, which the board de­cided to name The Mar­low Room.

Last year, a year 6 stu­dent nom­i­nated Mr Mar­low to ap­pear on the TV One News seg­ment Good Sorts.

‘‘ So that was em­bar­rass­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t like to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion, I pre­fer to fo­cus on the kids.’’

In the class­room, he used hu­mour as a way to keep the kids en­gaged and help them learn.

‘‘I truly be­lieve that learn­ing should be fun,’’ he said.

And af­ter 25 years, what will he miss the most?

‘‘ Def­i­nitely the kids,’’ said. ‘‘Not the pa­per­work. ‘‘I’m proud of what I’ve done here and I have got ab­so­lutely no re­grets.’’

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Good­bye Mr M: De­part­ing Wal­ton School prin­ci­pal Bob Mar­low said he will miss the kids the most.

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