Phenomenal ‘Mamma Woodsie’ to retire

2016-12-08 06:01
=Mrs Marilyn Woods displaying the Fruits of the Spirit, values she has held in high regard throughout her teaching career.              Photo: SUPPLIED

=Mrs Marilyn Woods displaying the Fruits of the Spirit, values she has held in high regard throughout her teaching career. Photo: SUPPLIED

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Marilyn Dodd Woods attended Riebeek College as a learner becoming a Sub A (Grade 1) learner in 1957 and started teaching at her Alma Mater in 1972. Now, she bids it farewell as she will be retiring as school closes in December.

Colleague Sandra Gerber said part of the history of Riebeek College Girls’ High School is the history of one person’s involvement in the school.

“With 6 decades of association with the school, Mrs Woods has been the link between the old and the new. She has ensured that a Riebeek girl of today has the same principles and grounding that she received,” said Gerber.

“Ask many Old Girls about their memories of Riebeek and they will tell you of Miss Dodd or Mrs Woods, for she has influenced the development and future prospects of many Old Girls and the school as a whole.”

She made history becoming the first Old Girl to become a principal at the school.

During her reign the school received really smart bathrooms, an admin block and boardroom and the school pool was named after Penny Heyns.

“Mrs Woods has been involved in numerous aspects of the school, and in all her undertakings she has forested a love of Riebeek among all she comes into contact with.

“One of the most important parts of being a Riebeek learner is learning about appreciation.

“In fact, letter writing is important at Riebeek and Mrs Woods had the learners write to many celebrities, such as those at Buckingham Palace, presidents of South Africa and sport players,” said Gerber.

As principal she ensured the school received national exposure.

The school featured on Good Morning SA and thanks to her, even Oprah Winfrey knows about Riebeek College.

Professor Jonathan Jansen put it well, during the toughest time last year when he wrote in a national newspaper that Mrs Woods is “the rock on which many relied”

Gerber said Mrs Woods is tolerant, has a lot of energy and her knowledge and thirst for knowledge knows no limit.

“Her direct, tactful and friendly approach endears Mrs Woods to all. She believes in herself and therefore has no need to tear apart the characters of others.

“She has a delightful sense of humour and a well-directed sense of fun, which add to her popularity and make Riebeek a happy place.

“All these facets have become embedded in the ethos of the school, a place of happiness and respect,” said Gerber.

To the girls she is known as Mamma Woodsie. Those who have been fortunate enough to be taught by her recall her to be a knowledgeable and animated teacher.

“If it is true that we develop a shared sense of identity and an informed awareness of the past which influences the future, then Mrs Woods has shaped the identity of Riebeek College and honoured the past by influencing the directions the school will take in the future.

“Mrs Woods, you have fulfilled your professional ambitions. Now is the time to further achieve your personal aspirations.

“Retirement is the start of life’s golden phase. Give your childhood dreams one final chase here in the place that used to be your playground and know that your legacy will continue here.”

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