A north-east head teacher was surprised by pupils and staff yesterday when they staged a farewell concert in her honour.
Wilma Mutch, who began teaching at New Deer School in 1979, was delighted by the performance in the public hall yesterday.
Opening the show, the pupils sang their version of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved – with the lyrics relating to her time with the students over the last 40 years.
Following speeches from the teachers, the pupils stole the show with a video answering questions about Mrs Mutch to great hilarity and summed her up as kind, helpful, funny, “a bit shouty” and beautiful.
The kids were then asked how they thought she would spend her retirement and suggested holidays, reading, visiting the school and “eating chocolate all day”.
Delighted by the surprise and wearing a crown for the show, Mrs Mutch said: “It was a fantastic morning with the concert the pupils and staff put on.
“I can’t believe that 140 kids kept that a secret – not one of them had told me anything about it. The whole thing was wonderful and throughout it I had mixed emotions – it was happy, funny and a little sad too.
“But I’m excited to be moving on to the next chapter and taking up granny duties.”
The surprise celebration also included a rendition of the Baby Shark song on recorders, a comedy sketch of a day in the life of Mrs Mutch and a ditty by the teachers.
Class teacher Vicki Paterson said: “She always strives to ensure pupils have a range of engaging learning experiences and we are so grateful for all of the professional learning opportunities she has given us as staff.”
With Mrs Mutch at the helm of the school since December 2011 it has gone from strength to strength, with many achievements being recognised.
The latest accolades includes a Pride of Buchan award recognising the outstanding achievement in accelerated reading, a positive school inspection receiving good and very good gradings, winning the Education Scotland’s Digital Schools award and being named among the First Minister’s Reading Challenge winners.
Aberdeenshire Council’s director of education and children’s services, Laurence Findlay attended the event to pay tribute to Mrs Mutch’s achievements.
He said: “It has been a fitting goodbye for someone who has had not only a career in teaching for 40 years, but someone who has such a passion and is still at the top of their game 40 years on.
“With all the school’s success of late, Mrs Mutch is really going out on a high.
“She’s so respected among her colleagues, pupils and parents and it’s all to do with how good she was at what she does. We wish her all the best in retirement.”