THE MORTLAKE P-12 College community has immortalised the impact of departing principal Graeme Good after renaming a key building as the Graeme Good Centre.
Past and present students, colleagues, school council members, parents and community members celebrated his time at the school during a farewell assembly last Friday – totalling close to 44 years.
Mr Good announced his retirement from the role earlier this year, with Daniel Forrest taking over as acting principal last term.
Mr Good began his association with the Mortlake school in 1975, when he became an assistant teacher at what was then known as Mortlake High School.
For the next 22 years, he worked his way through the teaching ranks and took on the role of assistant principal in 1998.
Mr Good acted as assistant principal for 12 years and then became principal in 2009, a role which he has continued in for the past 10 years.
School captain Jackson Boyden remembered Mr Good as both an authoritative and approachable figure in the schoolyard.
“I remember every time you heard Mr Good, you got scared,” he said.
Fellow school captain Keely Moore recalled how Mr Good used to check in with students as they were leaving their end-of-year exams.
Former colleague during the 1980s and 1990s Gerald FitzGerald spoke about the impact Mr Good had created on the Mortlake school.
“Graeme has had a profound and enduring impact on education in this community,” he said.
Mr FitzGerald said Mr Good’s most valuable qualities included his ability to adapt to ongoing changes to education.
“You have to be able to deal with change,” he said.
“His teaching style was both interested and interesting.
“As a leader, Graeme was both practical and visionary.”
Calmness and decisiveness were also major contributors to his skills as a teacher and a principal, according to Mr FitzGerald.
“It is my hope (he) will be continuing in a mentoring role,” he said.
“I considered him a mentor.”
Fellow colleague Pat Gleeson recited a poem outlining the journey of Mr Good’s career.
Current assistant principal Anne De Manser reminisced about her long-term relationship with Mr Good from a student in an English class to becoming a leadership duo.
“I truly believe he saved the school,” she said.
“The school has continued to strive under his leadership.”
Mrs De Manser said a number of past and current staff members praised Mr Good for being calm, reliable and trustworthy.
The junior choir graced the stage to perform the song ‘Best Day of My Life’ to honour the momentous occasion.
The school’s ‘Big Fish’ production team also performed musical number ‘Be the Hero’ for Mr Good during the farewell assembly.
Local architect and community member Noel McConnell worked with Mr Good on a number of construction projects at the school.
He said one of his fondest memories was hosting about 100 people at a working bee.
Former school council president Ross Quail said he was on the board which decided to induct Mr Good as principal in 2009.
“He was so enthusiastic,” he said.
“He really didn’t let us down.”
Current school council president Bruce Goddard then brought Mr Good onto the stage to present him with a gift from the school and to help him unveil the sign for the Graeme Good Centre – the new name for the current Building the Education Revolution (BER) building.
Overcome with emotions, Mr Good said he was grateful for the school’s support for his retirement and the outpouring of praise during the assembly.
Looking back on his 44 years of service to the school, he remembered one of his first responsibilities was mowing all of the ovals even though he did not know how to drive a tractor.
“It (the school) was a pretty different place back in 1975,” Mr Good said.
“One thing has remained constant and that is the people that make up the school community.
“The greatest joy for me has been teaching students and having the opportunity to see them grow and develop.”