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Principal's Farewell Message

I have written regular messages for the website during my sixteen years as Principal of Thurston Community College.  However, this is without doubt the most difficult of them all. 

I look back with great fondness on my time as Principal.  I have always seen it as a huge honour to be the leader of a community which is shaping the lives of young people and through them, the society in which we live.  Of course, being a Headteacher can be tough, lonely at times, daunting and downright difficult, but it can also be one of the most rewarding jobs imaginable.  I have so many things to be grateful for; not many Headteachers can say that they have an entire staff team that they love working with.  I will always remember our fun times and shared laughter, as well as our struggles.  I thank my colleagues for their friendship and support, for their loyalty and for their trust.

To all Thurston Community College parents, I cannot thank you enough for your support over the years.  You have engaged with us and voiced your opinions, whilst sharing your concerns and worries.  We can never get everything right all the time, but I have taken the time to listen to you, taken on board your views and endeavoured always to do my very best. 

I can say with complete honesty that Thurston students are the best I have ever met!  You make me extremely proud and I know you will all go on to do great things in life.  Stay true to yourselves; be your own person; have your own ideas and opinions and most of all, always be kind.  You hold a very special place in my heart and I will continue to smile with pride when I hear about you reaching your goals and achieving your dreams.

Whilst it will be incredibly difficult and sad for me to leave Thurston Community College, as my heart and soul are here, the time is also right for me to enjoy retirement from headship and I am very much looking forward to the next exciting chapter of my life!  I am relocating to Devon and have bought a bungalow on the outskirts of Sidmouth, about twenty minutes from the beach.  I have accepted a part time job as a Chemistry Teacher at Exeter School and will also be carrying on with some headteacher consultancy work.  I intend to walk the 630 miles of the South West Coastal Path (having been inspired by Raynor Winn’s novel, The Salt Path), to cycle across Dartmoor and Exmoor and, living by the seaside, to take up a new water sport hobby; paddle boarding.  I will be living just down the hill from the Norman Lockyer Observatory, so perhaps I will join that community and rekindle my passion for astronomy.  Who knows, I might even be invited into local schools as a guest lecturer, to share my enthusiasm for the wonders of our universe! 

As I depart to pastures new, I am delighted to be handing over the reins of Thurston Community College to Nicki Mattin.  Nicki is leaving her current post as Principal at Spires Academy in Canterbury, to join the College for the start of next term.  I know that I can rely on you to support Nicki as you have done for me, as the school continues to flourish and moves from strength to strength in the future.

I would like to take this final opportunity to thank you all for your support over the years.   My heart is full of very special Thurston Community College memories that will stay with me forever.  I wish you and your families every good health and happiness for the future. 

With my very best wishes,

Helen Wilson