Branyan State School vice captains Nicholas Quinn and Jane Rohdmann and captains Erin Pfeiffer and Lachlan Longhurst farewell school principal Elio Colasimone, who is retiring after 40 years of service.
Branyan State School vice captains Nicholas Quinn and Jane Rohdmann and captains Erin Pfeiffer and Lachlan Longhurst farewell school principal Elio Colasimone, who is retiring after 40 years of service. Scottie Simmonds

Head retires after 40 years

REMOVING snakes from one-teacher bush schools and helping Aboriginal children in Cape communities to learn English – these are among the memories of long-time Bundaberg school teacher Elio Colasimone, who retires this year.

Education has been a rewarding 40-year career for Mr Colasimone, 60, who will soon leave as principal at Branyan Road State School.

Mr Colasimone said his greatest reward was seeing well-adjusted past students contributing to society.

“Teaching is the sort of career that gives people the chance to do something for the children and the youth in our community,” he said.

“Children are our future.

“These are the ones who will be fixing our cars, treating us as doctors, fixing our roads, helping us with legal matters as our solicitors and working at our mines generating wealth for our nation – basically running the country for us.

“I guess the least we can do for them is to give them a good start.”

Mr Colasimone said the bad press about youth was not a reflection of the majority of students, who were doing the right thing.“Overwhelmingly, they have done themselves proud.”

The son of Italian immigrants who settled in Bundaberg in 1957, Mr Colasimone and his family could not speak English.

He attended Alloway State School, Bundaberg's Christian Brothers College and in 1972 was posted to Walkervale State School after completing university.

His first principal position was at Winfield State School – a one-teacher school with a student population ranging from 12 to 22.

Dajarra Aboriginal School on the Cape provided a unique educational experience because the Aboriginal children spoke the local dialect.

Mr Colasimone was then transferred to Hervey Bay and back to Bundaberg where he worked for long periods at Norville, Woongarra and Bargara State Schools in leadership positions.

For the past eight years he has been at the helm of Branyan Road State School.

“As a career it's always been changing. It's been interesting and very gratifying,” he said.



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