A farewell that 'Burnes' bright

Trish Burne

As she thinks about her next great adventure, we asked Trish to reflect on her wonderful career at CCGS and share some insights into what it’s like to walk in her shoes. 

Tell us about your role at CCGS?

I was employed in 1990 to be the Headmaster’s secretary. The role involves looking after administrative tasks and ensuring all correspondence, diary appointments, meetings and travel arrangements are maintained, as well as assisting the Business Manager.  

Can you tell us a little about your unofficial roles? 

Well, someone has to do it don’t they? Yes, I’m referring to processing all the lost property from around the school. This is a job I took over in 2002 and became known as Queen of Lost Property.  I now process around 2500 items each year and I have to admit to enjoying the connections I have made with the students. It is particularly refreshing when a younger student thanks you for returning their lost item so they won’t get in trouble from their parents! 

Apart from lost property I have loved my involvement as Front of House Manager for school productions. For many years I was also the gift buyer for the Common Room and wrote a number of ‘odes’ to anyone who was leaving, having a baby, getting married or retiring. From the early 90’s one of my special tasks was to buy a tie for the Headmaster to present to the Musical Director of each school production that matched the theme of the show. It was quite a challenge, but a lot of fun!

What was your first impression when you walked into the school?

It was so refreshing to come to an environment where you could see that staff and students looked happy. It instantly felt like a family-oriented community where there was no ‘us’ and ‘them’ barriers between teaching and non-teaching staff.  I felt very at home and welcomed, so knew I was fortunate to be working in this supportive environment.

Top three memories of your time at CCGS?

  • Seeing students support and cheer on a member of their cohort who was struggling to reach the finish line of their running race. I will never forget the encouragement given at a number of carnivals to students who needed the extra help from the sidelines as well as those students who held back to run alongside the slower runner.  
  • Sitting in the audience and watching the students bring to life a body of work in drama, song and dance. At each school production I fill with pride as each performer comes on stage. It takes a lot of people behind the scenes to create these events and I honestly feel like a proud mother hen of all her chicks. 
  • The official opening of the Performing Arts Centre with the most spectacular showcase of talent on offer at the school. A coup for the school (and for me getting through this event!)

What will you miss most? 

The camaraderie of the staff around the school each day and of course the background babble of children’s laughter at playtime coming from the Infants area. It will be somewhat a quieter lifestyle when I retire, but I am sure ICT can record some playground noise for me if I need it. 

I will also miss the interaction with the students I have got to know so well over the years. Some students were young enough when I started in 1990 to now return as parents with their own children, it makes me feel proud to think that past students want their own children to be a part of the same school they grew up in. The contact with past parents better known as ‘Year 13’s’ is also special and I am grateful they keep in touch.

This school has a beautiful soul and feeling of being a close-knit family. It is my wish that this caring and compassionate community continues to never lose its sense of connection as it develops in the future.  

What are your plans from here?

Renovations on the house first which means a huge de-clutter and clean out. I can probably run the 2019 Spring Fair Second Hand Stall with all the things I need to get rid of! 

I have also committed to going to Uganda to work alongside the African Children’s Choir and help out in local schools, which I’m really looking forward to. 

As my passion for theatre goes way back, I will of course also reconnect with Gosford Musical Society and hopefully get back on stage again to sing and act. 

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who has maintained a positive attitude to try and help staff, students and parents during their time at CCGS. I would like to think people will remember me as being considerate and kind-hearted while at the same time having a sense of humour to make people laugh and cheer them up when needed.