TGHS pioneer to retire after 37 years with school
When electronic typewriters first arrived at Timaru Girls’ High School (TGHS) in the early 1980s, they were greeted with suspicion.
The women employed in the school office had worked hard at developing their short-hand typing skills, ‘‘so when the first Golfball Electric typewriter arrived, the ladies were very suspicious,’’ TGHS executive officer Caroline Collins said. She should know: she was one of them.
After 37 years with the school, Collins, 65, will retire in July.
‘‘I have had a huge bond with the school from being a student and a staff member,’’ she said.
In 1980, Collins’ youngest daughter had just started at Sacred Heart School and Collins was ready to go back to work.
‘‘I needed something to stimulate the ol’ brain matter,’’ she said.
Principal Rae Wilson ‘‘took a punt’’ and appointed Collins to a part-time role in the office.
When principal Anna Hobday and deputy Norman Halstead later had a vision of creating a separate reprographic centre for
‘‘I have had a huge bond with the school from being a student and a staff member.’’
the school, ‘‘it was my privilege, of setting it up’’, Collins said.
She typed up all the teachers’ worksheets and exam papers, and dealt with all printed materials, ‘‘the whole nine yards’’.
Collins said she appreciated the school’s forward-thinking approach to technology, and enjoyed being a part of it.
‘‘I was really lucky, I was at the forefront of all of that.’’
She assembled the school magazine, and eventually evolved the reprographic centre to using coloured card and paper, ‘‘like a copy centre does now’’.
In 1990, school bursar Bette Stuart retired.
Collins applied and was appointed bursar and principal’s secretary.
At the time the school was sending all its invoices and financial documents to a business in Christchurch for processing, but in about 1993 it brought the accounts in-house, and Collins became executive officer, a role she has held since then, though she noted it had become more of a business manager’s role over time.
She said she had
‘‘really appreciated’’ the people she had worked with. ‘‘I’m going to miss this place. ‘‘It’s been a part of my daily routine for a long time.’’