Much-loved principal Doug Ambrose set to retire
FOR Bundaberg East State School principal Doug Ambrose, walking out of the grounds for the last time will be a bittersweet moment.
The passionate teacher announced his retirement after a lengthy but "fantastic" career in teaching spanning 41 years.
"I still get as much pleasure today when a kid comes up to me and reads a book for the first time," he said.
"It is a wonderful thing to hear kids learn to read."
Mr Ambrose said the decision to hang up his hat for good wasn't an easy one.
"It was very much a case of trying to pick a time to go when you are still on top of your game," he said.
"There are still a lot of things I haven't done in life, like see the snow ... and now is really the time I need to be spending with my family."
Mr Ambrose's career as a teacher started at the tender age of 19 and evolved dramatically over time.
"1976 was my first year and I have been a principal since 1977," he said.
"I was a teacher for 12 months in Miles and then I was sent to Arcadia Valley which was a one-teacher school in the sticks.
"There was no power and we had pit toilets and tanks for water.
"When we had our P&C meetings people used to bring kerosene lamps."
He became principal of Bundaberg East State School 25 years ago and will retire in September, aged 61.
Mr Ambrose said the school community had shown him support and resilience during some trying times, especially during the 2013 floods.
"It was one of those things where you couldn't see coming, couldn't control it, but you had to be ready to respond to it," he said.
Through his four-decade career, Mr Ambrose said there were many people who had helped make him the passionate teacher he is today.
"I would like to thank my wife who has followed me all over the state for my teaching career," he said.
"I would also like to thank the people I have worked with. I have been blessed.
"If you go to work happy and you are happy at home, your life is in perfect harmony."
And to teachers starting out, Mr Ambrose said he had a few pieces of advice.
"The moment you stop learning is when you stop growing, developing and doing the best job that you can," he said.
"My advice would be don't be afraid to learn and don't be afraid to go looking for what you need.
"Listen to people around you and most of all enjoy the contact with the kids."