Deloris Campbell brings the curtains down after 52 years in the classroom
After 52 years in the classroom, Deloris Campbell, more popularly known as 'Aunty Reetel', is about to bring the curtains down on her teaching career. She began teaching at the Effortville Basic School in 1964 with six children, and a few months later, 172 students from the community enrolled.
Now retiring as the principal of the institution, Campbell said her never-ending love and undying passion for children and people in general is what kept her in the school for more than five decades.
"I love it. I love children. I like being around people. I enjoy being with them - that's why I have been an educator for so long," she declared.
Having made it her life's work to positively mould the young minds hailing from a community as volatile as Effortville and its environs, Aunty Reetel says she will definitely miss the classroom when she retires, but promised to visit regularly.
"It is rewarding to see so many persons come back after so many years to say 'thank you' for what I have done for them. It's just so fulfilling. Even when I travel abroad, people recognise me and they remember the good that I have done for them, and they always show their appreciation. I really don't want to leave," she told Rural Xpress.
Aunty Reetel is also an active member of the Oliver Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church where she was baptised at 16 years old and has remained a child of God ever since.
She teaches Sabbath School and directs the youth and senior choirs. Her 40-year-strong marriage has produced six children, all of whom were raised in the community, but have gone out to make life for themselves. She noted that she has encountered several struggles in her day, but with a supportive husband, she managed to balance family life, school, church and the community.
"I ask God for the extra strength to carry on and He gave it to me because I asked Him for it and I never stopped believing in Him."
She is a well-respected elder in the community and her long-term wish is to see the people unite and live together.
"People should learn to accept who they are and live good and try to understand each other. They have to accept that one person's opinion may not be the opinion of another, but that doesn't mean you should war. Accept it and let us move on. Just agree to disagree and all will be well," she advised.