Eidsvold principal's farewell brings assembly to tears
STUDENTS, teachers and parents were all moved to tears at a farewell assembly for Eidsvold State School principal Graeme Weatherburn, who announced his sudden departure for the Indigenous township of Doomadgee in Gulf Country last week.
Deputy principal Preston Parter, who will take on the role of interim principal until a full application process at the end of the year, said it was with "pretty heavy hearts” the school had to say goodbye to Mr Weatherburn.
Mr Parter said Eidsvold will be investigating ways of exchanging with Doomadgee State School, Mr Weatherburn's new school.
"We are all very sad you are leaving, but we're also very grateful to have had you as our principal,” school captain Ella Fort said.
"I'm sure everyone here has learnt something from you.”
And in a moment of incredible poignancy, student Zali Gooda-Gee went to the front of the room, took the microphone, but was unable to say more than a few strangled words, such was the emotion of the occasion.
"I think you're saying enough as it is, mate, I really appreciate that,” Mr Weatherburn said in response.
P&C treasurer Sheridan Newman said the positive effect Mr Weatherburn had on students was evident in Ms Gooda-Gee's courage in taking the microphone.
"That shows me you've had a huge influence on the children at school and the emotion displays what we all feel, you're going to be an incredible loss to our community but we have gained so much by having you here for that short time,” Ms Newman said.
P&C president Bronwen Fort praised Mr Weatherburn's straightforward approach.
"There's no rubbish in you,” Mrs Fort said.
"You've been a great role model to these children.
"If only we could get them all to turn out like you.
"Kids, just think of Mr Weatherburn every time you're trying to do your best, because he really is one of the best role models you'll ever have in your life.”
Teacher aide Corey Appo said Mr Weatherburn was a "beautiful man”, before leading students in a rendition of Wakka Wakka farewell dance, Gari Gynda Narmi.
Mr Weatherburn, who has been at Eidsvold since the start of 2018, will be deputy principal at his new school, working under wife Beth, who is principal.
"We've spent a lot of time apart,” Mr Weatherburn told students.
"It would have to be something special to override staying here.”
Mr Weatherburn said the beauty of teaching as a profession is that you continue to see old students, all along their different life paths.
"You'll be older, a lot wiser, and we'll have a lot to talk about,” he said.
"And that's the beauty of this.
"It's not a sad time at all.
"It's a time for us to go forward.
"And remember, I will be watching.
"You always wonder how I know stuff without being there, well that's not going to change.
"I've got spies everywhere, so keep up the good work.”