Rasharkin principal bows out after forty years teaching

THE principal of Rasharkin Primary School will set his chalk down for the last time this week after almost four decades in the teaching profession.

Stanley Lee has been Head since 1992 and has become an integral figure in the local community since joining the school in 1975.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Lee admitted he was saddened to leave his post but said he was looking forward to his retirement.

"I've had happy times and sad times - but mainly happy I must say," he said.

"When I started at Rasharkin Primary School there were 240 pupils compared to 62 today.

"The pupils at the school are second to none and all very well behaved.

"During my time they have performed well in the transfer tests and in sporting events.

"Indeed in 1992 they won a province-wide 7-aside football competition.

"I have a lot of happy memories."

Mr Lee was born in South Wales but moved to Northern Ireland as a child with his parents. He attended Ballymoney Model and Dalriada, before studying at Stranmillis College in Belfast.

He began teaching in 1969 at Dundonald Primary School where he spent six years before moving to Rasharkin as vice-principal.

He was appointed principal of the school in September 1992.

"The ethos we always promoted was that of a caring school," he said.

"We have had children who have went on to become consultant surgeons, lawyers and dentists over the years.

"I am more than pleased with how the children have done."

Asked if a return to teaching at some point in the future was likely, he quipped: "I have 39 years done in teaching and I think that is enough!"

The avid Coleraine FC fan says he will have no trouble filling the extra hours which will be available to him each day.

An active member of the church, Mr Lee is also involved in numerous projects locally including assisting with the work of Ballymoney Independent Gateway Club.

He added: "I'm just going to enjoy the opportunity to relax and enjoy my spare time.

"I'm sad to go and I will miss the kids though I will still be involved with young people through my other projects."

As yet no replacement has been appointed to the post of school principal.