STRAIDBILLY PS in Liscolman was a hub of excitement last week as pupils and staff celebrated their hardworking cook, Christine McKeeman.
Christine, who is also canteen supervisor, marked 30 years in the kitchen in the country school, and said it seemed like she started just yesterday.
The mother of three, whose children all attended the school in the close-knit community, admits she almost didn't make it to the kitchen on her first day on the job...
Christine explained: “I started out as a cook in Straidbilly PS, but I had been working at another Primary School before that. When I was told to go to Straidbilly I hadn't a clue where it was at! I soon learnt though – and I didn't even live that far away from there!”
Thirty years ago there were 36 pupils at Straidbilly, under the care of principal Mrs Kathleen Taggart – a massive jump to today when there are over 100 pupils and Mrs Gillian McConnell is the principal.
Christine looks back on her early years with fondness, starting in the school when her eldest child was four-years-old and staying on long after the three of them had moved on.
She added: “The children are what make the job the lovely job it is. Mrs Taggart was the first principal, then Mrs McIntosh and now Mrs McConnell, it's a lovely wee school and it's true when people say it's more like a family, because it really is.”
Christine recalls working alongise Theo Matthews who retired in 1996 and later Lorna Hunter, who is still there.
She added: “I do have lovely memories which were made over the years and many families I have saw coming and going, I wouldn't change a thing. I still love the job as much now as I did then.”