Julie Booth outside her office at Wairarapa College. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Julie Booth first stepped into Wairarapa College as a student in 1967, and 50 years later she is saying goodbye to her “second home” for the final time.

Mrs Booth has been working at Wairarapa College since March of 1997, and on December 8 she will bid farewell to the school she has such a strong connection to.

She spent her first couple of years working with special needs students in the school’s support learning centre, and spent the rest of the time as a youth health provider.

Mrs Booth said there was no way she could have imagined working at the school for two decades.

“It’s just been an amazing journey.

“It’s been a privilege really, to work with the youth of today, and it’s needed.”

Students were under a lot of pressure these days, and it wasn’t just to do with the odd headache or broken arm, she said.

“There’s a lot more pressure than there was in my day, and I was a student here from ’67 to ’70.

“There’s a lot of emotional stuff as well — we also have a guidance counsellor here and we work together if we need to.”

Mrs Booth said the use of cell phones and social media had brought another lot of concern for children and teachers.

Those advancements in technology had made life faster, and were another source of stress for children at times.

The Waicol senior students had given Mrs Booth an “amazing” farewell on Monday, and she said it was hard to keep her emotions in check.

“I will definitely miss it . . . there’s already been tears.

“Our three children also went through the school, and I feel like it’s my second home in a way.”

Mrs Booth had always been involved with hockey at the school, and had introduced blood donor day.

It was about “throwing yourself into the life of the school”, she said.

She knows the time is right to head into retirement, but said helping her husband (Carterton Mayor John Booth) on the farm would keep her busy.

“It will give me more time to spend time with my family and the grandchildren, and also just a bit of time for me,” she said.