One era ends at Twizel Area School as an­other starts

The Timaru Herald - - News - Joanne Holden

A new era for Twizel Area School is ap­proach­ing as its prin­ci­pal of 19 years re­tires months be­fore a $21 mil­lion re­build.

Bill Feasey has re­tired af­ter be­ing in­volved with the South Can­ter­bury school for close to 40 of its 50 years.

‘‘It’s a fan­tas­tic com­mu­nity to work in and the kids are great,’’ he said yes­ter­day.

‘‘I’m go­ing to miss the stu­dents. The kids are the rea­son a lot of peo­ple get into teach­ing.’’

While Feasey of­fi­cially left about six weeks ago, he re­turned yes­ter­day for an of­fi­cial farewell with stu­dents and staff.

Feasey said he was go­ing at ‘‘quite an ex­cit­ing time’’ for the school, with the Govern­ment an­nounc­ing in July it had ear­marked $21m for a com­plete re­build.

‘‘It will be a good time for some­one else to take over.’’

Feasey had worked at the school since 1982, save for two years teach­ing in South Asia’s King­dom of Bhutan, and ‘‘rose through the ranks’’ to be­come prin­ci­pal about 19 years ago.

‘‘The area has a lot of the things I like do­ing – walk­ing, climb­ing, ski­ing, go­ing bush, bik­ing. The out­door ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme we’ve been able to build has been fan­tas­tic.’’

One of the high­lights of his ca­reer was help­ing the school sur­vive a de­clin­ing roll at the end of the Up­per Waitaki Hy­dro build, its re­lo­cat­able class­rooms and the rest of Twizel cob­bled up with tem­po­rary ma­te­ri­als to ser­vice the project in 1970.

‘‘It [roll num­bers] started drop­ping in 1997, and got to a low point in 2004 with 140 stu­dents.

‘‘At the mo­ment, it’s 232. See­ing it come back up again has been a high­light.’’

‘‘I’m go­ing to miss the stu­dents. The kids are the rea­son a lot of peo­ple get into teach­ing.’’ Bill Feasey

Feasey said as the town ebbed and flowed, so did the school.

‘‘The school re­flects how the town and the peo­ple in it have changed over the years,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve gone from decile four to six to eight. The learn­ing has be­come more per­son­alised, and we have a great record of taha Ma¯ori.’’

Feasey said he was look­ing for­ward to hav­ing more time for ski­ing in re­tire­ment, but was keep­ing a foot in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor as a NetNZ board mem­ber.

Bill Feasey, front cen­tre, in the 2019 school staff pho­to­graph.

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