THE staff, pupils and parents of Armoy PS have said a fond farewell to Mrs Mary Huey, who has been the school secretary for the past 33 years.
The Chronicle caught up with Mary after the bell rang on her final school day last week, and it's clear that Mary's 'school days' really were the best!
Mary's career started in 1985 when she began working 2.5 hours on a Friday for the principal at the time, Mr Gowland.
Mary said: “I was only the second secretary the school employed and my hours increased gradually, four hours, then six, then ten, until I was working 25 hours a week. And even back then the sense of camaraderie in the school was outstanding. Mr Gowland and I still remain friends to this day and he would still call and see me.”
After Mr Gowland, Mr McCombe became principal, followed by Mrs Neill and then current principal, Mr Dunlop.
Mary continued: “I have loved the friendship and company of the staff over the years. The chatter of the 89 pupils was just music to my ears – most days! I will miss them, I have always been used to being out of the house and working so retirement will be a whole new thing to me.”
Mary whose two sons went through Armoy PS as well, will spend more time with her daughter who requires special care.
Mary continued: “One of my sons is an electrician in Saudi and the other is in I.T. at Causeway Coast and Glens Council, so Armoy PS served them well! I hope to spend more time with my daughter when I retire, I have no doubt I will get my days filled anyway.”
Mary said husband George, who works at JSC builders merchants, isn't ready to retire yet, but in the meantime her hobbies will keep her occupied!
She added: “I am a member of Armoy W.I., I'm in the choir in the Presbyterian Church and I go to the gardening club in Ballycastle. I love music and enjoy Irish Country Music, I'd like to dance but George has two left feet!”
Mary, from Hillside Road, said she will treasure her days at Armoy PS. She concluded: “I have lots of lovely memories, I enjoyed working with the staff as well as the pupils. I was given money as a leaving gift so bought myself a beautiful bracelet to remember them all by. I also got lots of flowers!”
Mary wants to thank everyone at the school for the many happy years of fellowship and she wished new secretary Mrs Kathy Murray all the very best. She said: “I hope Kathy has as many happy years at Armoy PS as I have had. I stayed on a while to help her find her feet, she is a genuinely lovely girl and I wish her every success!”