Chalk it up to 70 years of service

21:15, Nov 29 2012
Last term: Long-serving Marlborough Girls’ College teachers Robyn Anderson, left, and Miriam McNamara are leaving the school at the end of the year

Marlborough Girls' College teachers Miriam McNamara and Robyn Anderson are retiring at the end of this school year after providing the college with a combined 70 years' service.

Mrs Anderson yesterday recalled arriving at the school in 1977.

"I remember coming to the school and meeting the principal, who was Miss MacFarlane at the time, and her telling me, ‘I'm going to walk you over to the block - you'll take one look at it and decide that you want to stay or go'."

Before her stood the college's home economics and sewing buildings - army barracks relocated from the Delta Army Camp in the Wairau Valley.

"It was the most archaic building I've ever seen," Mrs Anderson said.

"But I decided, as an assistant teacher, it would be a real challenge so I stayed.


"I stayed for 35 years," she laughed.

Mrs Anderson, the college's head of department for technology, was just 18, fresh out of teachers' training college.

"I actually turned 19 in my first week of teaching here," she said. "I never told any of the girls [students] because I thought I'd never get their respect."

Mrs McNamara began her career at Marlborough Girls' College as an English and French teacher in 1975, taking over from Brian McNamara, her future husband she had yet to meet.

Her students seemed a bit bewildered to have such a "prim and proper" teacher replace Mr McNamara, a complete contrast, she said.

"I met him later and married him and his job," she said.

Mrs McNamara met her husband at a teaching course in Nelson in 1975; he had visited to catch up with some former colleagues.

Both teachers agreed that students had become more assertive and demanding.

The buildings on site had improved phenomenally, with special areas for technology, performing arts, dance and weight training.

The board of trustees farewelled them and another teacher, Marlene Carter, who has taught at the college for 12 years - in both the departments of technology and learning support - with a dinner at Wither Hills Restaurant in Blenheim last night.