"We all have a school teacher we'll never forget - one whose dedication to their students and the wider school community goes well beyond anything ever written in the job description.
For me, that was Miss West, my teacher in 4th & 5th class at Campbelltown Primary School. She was all about the three R's...and so much more beyond, from getting us to learn all the classic Australian poems (I can still recite them all now), good handwriting, choir, impeccable manners. Miss West never married because as she told me years later, "How would I find the time? My students keep me so busy." Late last year I went to visit her at home, at 81, still living a few blocks from the school she taught at for more than four decades (even teaching three generations in some families), and still in possession of some of my old exercise books, which, she reminded me she had kept.
But that day she gave those exercise books back to me, and for some reason we both got quite emotional.
Well I'm so glad I made that trip, because Miss West died on Friday after a short but courageous battle with cancer.
I will treasure these pics you see above. That's me as one of her happy, smiling charges in 4th class (bottom left), the proud woman I remember (top left), and our recent reunion on the right.
Vale Miss West. And thank you. You shaped countless lives - well beyond our school years - and you will be missed.