Principal leaves a lasting legacy
Surprise bash to say fond farewell
Not many schools would hold a birthday party the size of Marion Henriksen’s, but the celebration was also a fitting farewell for the much-loved Intermediate school principal.
A talent quest last Tuesday was the guise for the celebration held in Henriksen’s honour as she farewells a teaching career spanning decades.
A number of those years have been spent at Matamata Intermediate, the last 11 as principal.
The evening kicked off with the school kapa haka group performing a waiata and haka. It was then time for the special guests to arrive and the true meaning behind the concert was revealed.
Members of Henriksen’s family, friends, former colleagues and members of the Matamata community were led into the school hall by a piper. Henriksen had no idea and had been totally surprised.
In the days leading up to the ‘‘talent quest’’ she’d said to deputy principal Lorraine Stiles the programme ‘‘looked a bit light’’. ‘‘Is this all we can do for the arts,’’ she had said. But really, the concert was all for her. From the drum band, the rock band and singers to the poetry, the school concert band and rock n roll dancing, Henriksen was farewelled in style.
The concert, which was a trip down memory lane for the firm but fair principal, culminated in the singing of happy birthday, birthday cake and presents.
Henriksen said she wasn’t a person for fuss. Becoming emotional, she said the concert made her feel ‘‘really humble inside’’.
She was blown away and said it was really nice to know she was leaving with such great memories.
‘‘I’ve got 40 years of teaching memories to take with me.’’
Henriksen said it was exciting to retire. ‘‘When you look back on it you have influenced a lot of people’s lives, for better or worse I suppose. You’d like to think for the better.’’
‘‘I will retire a happy person. The community in Matamata has just been wonderful, I feel like we’ve had really good parental support with what we try and do and achieve here,’’ she said.
Henriksen said ‘‘ you get out what you put in’’ when it comes to teaching and being involved in young people’s lives. ‘‘In my heart, I feel blessed. Tonight has been really special. I will always treasure this, no matter where my future takes me.’’
The tribute concert shows that Henriksen will leave behind a wonderful legacy upon her retirement.
SURPRISED: Matamata Intermediate school principal Marion Henriksen was thrown a surprise birthday and farewell concert last week. For more photos from the special celebration, see our Facebook page.