Popular Benalla teacher Paul Challis will bring his more than 30 years in education to a close at the end of term.
Mr Challis said while he had enjoyed his career he was looking forward to retiring and having a bit more spare time.
‘‘My wife is also retiring and one of the things we want to do is to give a bit back to the community,’’ Mr Challis said.
‘‘We want to volunteer a bit and the reason we want to do that is that my dad was a returned serviceman from World War II, and so was my wife’s father.
‘‘So we want to volunteer and do a bit for the legacy RSL group, that’s the plan.
‘‘We’re also going to help out with meals on wheels once a month.’’
On top of the voluntary work Mr Challis said he was looking forward to making the most of living in Victoria’s north east.
‘‘I don’t understand why more people don’t come and retire here,’’ he said.
‘‘The weather is magnificent and there’s some beautiful country in this part of the world.
‘‘We’re also going to travel a bit, we’ve got a son in Japan and our other son is a teacher in Melbourne, so we’ll have time to visit them.’’
Mr Challis began his teaching career in Portland in a different era.
‘‘I’ve been teaching since 1987. I started in Portland. After a couple of years we moved to Echuca and I worked there for 20 years,’’Mr Challis said.
‘‘After that I worked for a couple of years in Wangaratta before taking on a job here.
‘‘There’s been a lot of changes since 1987. Computers were just coming in and no student had a mobile phone.
‘‘And having mobile phones in schools has become a bit of an issue. But we’ve got a policy here that the kids respect.
‘‘The most significant change I’ve seen is in the social fabric of the community.
‘‘Now it’s normal for both parents to be working and the kids are home alone a bit.
‘‘The other thing, that I commend the current state government for, is the educational policy and the framework for improving student outcomes, FISO as it’s known.
‘‘It is an absolutely fantastic blueprint for education in Victoria, and I think if the Liberals had got in they would have continued with that as it’s a bipartisan policy.
‘‘It’s really fantastic in supporting schools in improving student outcomes.’’
Mr Challis said in parting he wanted to tell students that if they worked hard they could achieve anything.
‘‘Nothing comes easy and people often say ‘gee that person’s lucky’. But it’s not luck, it’s usually because there has been a lot of effort put into achieving a goal,’’ Mr Challis said.
‘‘So my message for all students is if you dream big you can do it, if you put in the effort to achieve it.
‘‘And that’s what I’d like to see them all do, to really work hard to achieve their goals, as everything is possible.’’
Mr Challis is also happy with the direction of Benalla P-12 and thinks the school has a bright future.
‘‘Benalla P-12 is on a steep climb of improvement,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s lots of good things happening in the school and there has been for a long time.
‘‘In particular in the last 12 months, the new principal Tony Clark is taking it in a fantastic direction using the FISO model.
‘‘Watch this space for Benalla P-12. There’s been lots of money pledged in the lead up to the election and that is going to be delivered now, which is a great thing for the school and the community.’’