Diana has worn, and continues to wear many hats. She started as a parent with her two children attending. She became a parent volunteer then, as she says, “they figured they might as well pay me for the hours I was working.” And the rest they say, is history.
Now Diana works with a variety of students in a variety of roles and brings her own unique sense of humour to the interactions she has with both students and staff.
“When I was at school I didn’t have anyone to help me and left at the age of 15. I enjoy seeing the little steps the students make and giving them opportunities that I never had. It’s kind of nice when I see them downtown as adults and they say hi. I’ve even had some that give me a hug.”
Highlights for Diana include camps to Waihi, Papamoa and MERC where Diana kept everyone fed and watered in her no nonsense, well organised way.
“I’ve always enjoyed our Camps. Pet Days are great too, even though it's a lot of hard work. Everyone has a fun day and it's great to see all the students with their animals around the school.”
The environment has always been a passion for Diana. There are numerous projects that she has been involved in over the years. Some that stand out for her include, facilitating the Enviro programme, setting up and maintaining the Aquaponics unit with the students, working on the Leavers Garden and developing the school’s Brain Maze.
“The Brain Maze was a student initiative that I supported them with. Three very keen students presented their proposal to the Board of Trustees, and a local parent helped draw the Maze to scale. Then we had to dig 540 holes and plant 540 native trees. The whole school came out to help with that. Now over 18 years later, the Brain Maze is a favourite playing spot for this generation of students.”
“Enviro has been a passion. I love seeing the students being proud of their work, able to share their learning and present to outside visitors. As an Enviro team we worked hard along with classes, to gain our Bronze, Silver and Gold Enviro Awards. It's been great seeing different students grow in their understanding and I’m super proud of their achievements.”
Diana has fond memories of the day the present school hall was moved from across the road to its present place. “It was moved in three parts. The school paid the council $1.00 with the main funding coming from the Lotteries Board and the Council. Now it is used by the local community and the school.”
Diana is going to spend her long service leave visiting family in Australia. “I’m taking my granddaughter to Australia to visit family that we haven’t seen since Covid.”
Thanks Diana for the many years of service you have given and continue to give Wairakei Primary School. You are our ‘go to gal.’ Congratulations on your 25 year milestone.