Children have bade a fond farewell to a much-loved teacher who is retiring after 37 years’ service.
Pupils, staff and parents at Newcastle Church High Junior School staged a series of events and activities to celebrate Judith Cunningham’s outstanding contributions.
Joining Church High in 1976, Judith started out as a part-time drama teacher, working with infant and junior pupils.
She soon became a form teacher in the infant department, before taking on the role as deputy head for 10 years and after that, the role of junior head in 2007.
Throughout her time at Church High, Judith has been heavily involved in teaching drama, which is a passion.
She is committed to instilling confidence in girls through performance, adding new areas to the school syllabus including a project where junior girls are given the opportunity to write their own opera.
Speaking about her achievements, which have seen her involved in more than 100 school productions, Judith said: “It has been a huge privilege to be a part of the long history of Church High School and I would like to wish all our girls and staff the very best for the future.
“Looking back on my time at Church High, I’m probably most proud of the developments made in drama to help support our girls.
“I truly believe that encouraging young people to express themselves through drama and performing helps them grow in confidence and gives them all a voice.
“There are so many things I will miss about Church High, but most of all I will miss the girls – the funny things they say, the way they arrive every day so excited and full of enthusiasm and the heartening conversations I have with them on a daily basis.
“I am very sad to be leaving such a wonderful school, but I am also excited by the opportunities that await during the next chapter of my life.”
She has been part of a number of significant milestones for the school including development of the facilities, curriculum changes and in more recent months, the announcement that Church High will merge with Central High to form Newcastle High School for Girls. Headteacher Joy Gatenby said: “Miss Cunningham is a truly inspirational teacher and will be very much missed by all at Church High School.
“I would like to thank her for the incredible contribution she has made to school life. She has the satisfaction of retiring, not only with a wealth of happy memories, but also knowing that she has set thousands and thousands of young girls off on the road to personal happiness and success.
“Judith has a unique skill for bringing out the very best in all pupils and making each and every one feel special, and she will be a big loss to the school. We all wish her every success and enjoyment from her retirement.”
Judith has many plans for new adventures after life in the classroom and is looking forward to spending more time in the USA, where her son and young grandchildren are currently living.
She also hopes to spend more time enjoying her many hobbies, including walking and cycling.