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Maree steps down from principal role

Piper Foley and Lauren Smoothy's mothers were taught by retiring principal Maree Messer, who is also standing with school captain Alice Mathewsell.
Piper Foley and Lauren Smoothy's mothers were taught by retiring principal Maree Messer, who is also standing with school captain Alice Mathewsell. Renee McKeown

MAREE Messer has been involved with St John Fisher College since it moved to Bracken Ridge 36 years ago and is now preparing to retire at the end of the month.

The principal is in the process of packing up her office which is adorned with photos, paintings and memorabilia of her time at the school.

"In 1981 the school relocated (from Sacred Heart Sandgate) to the new site here in Bracken Ridge,” Mrs Messer said.

"I've been connected with the school for all but six of those years, either as a teacher, parent or principal.”

Mrs Messer was a teacher at the school until 1992, then her daughter (former Queensland Firebird Jacinta Messer) attended the school when she took on a deputy position elsewhere, before she returned in 2005 as principal.

"It was like coming home,” she said.

"It's been really very helpful, I know the reason the things are the way they are, like the houses and badges.”

Over the years there have been a lot of changes at the school.

"They had John Fisher Drive built when they put the Gateway Motorway in, because our access used to be Bracken Ridge Road,” she said.

"The next project is to build a sound barrier for the Gateway Motorway in October.”

Maree Messer (during her teaching years at St John Fisher College) and her Year 9M class from 1981.
Maree Messer (during her teaching years at St John Fisher College) and her Year 9M class from 1981. Contributed

Mrs Messer said she was ready to retire on Friday, August 25 but it took a long time to reach that decision.

"It's time for fresh eyes, a new leader and I'm looking forward to a very different pace,” she said.

"I was (once) a geography teacher, so travel is really calling me.

"These jobs always present lots of challenges but I loved every day of it.

"I'm happy for just an afternoon tea and to quietly slip out.

"It's not about me, it's about the people being empowered around me.

"I'm most proud of the girls who graduate here, and I'm proud of the girls who've really achieved something but have had to take a risk (either big or small to get there).

"Another highlight is teaching the daughters of some (former students) I've taught, but I had to get out before someone said 'you taught my grandmother'.”

Topics:  bracken ridge gateway motorway jacinta messer maree messer principal queensland firebirds retirement sjfc st john fisher college teachers


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