It's not often you hear someone say, 'you taught my grandmother,' but Bega High's Denise Perry has been around for long enough to hear exactly that.
After a long teaching career at the school, having started in 1980, Ms Perry celebrated her final day teaching on Friday September 17.
Although she has racked up 41 years of teaching, the reality of her involvement in the school community dates back to her own time at the school as a student.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would wind up teaching for so long at my high school," she said.
Ms Perry grew up in Merimbula and said lots of things have changed over the years, most notably the technology that has come even further and faster since the pandemic began.
"But basically if you have a love of learning and a love of kids, it's still sort of the same."
Although she had always wanted to be a social worker, she found herself a HSIE (human society and it's environment) teacher.
She has taught a range of subjects including history, geography, international studies, Aboriginal studies, society and culture, and legal studies.
Ms Perry was also a year advisor for 22 years and took four cohorts through their years at high school and in 2014 received the Student Engagement NSW Year Adviser of the Year award.
She has also been instrumental in taking groups of students to countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia to build houses and through that process has assisted in raising around $200,000 towards the cause.
She has also assisted with school productions by using her sewing skills to create and decorate costumes.
- Denise Perry presented with year adviser award
- Students from Bega High going to Cambodia and Vietnam say 'thank you' to the community
- Year 12 students at Bega High School donate remaining formal money to Can Assist
- Students and teachers from Bega High School arrived back following study tour to Cambodia and Laos
On how some of her students were feeling about her retirement she joked, "I'm sure there's probably some who clapped their hands and were gleeful," but reiterated that her own love of teaching kids and the repour she has created with many of them will be long-lasting.
"My last day has been a bit surreal because up until about midday yesterday we didn't think there was going to be a last day, but it's been lovely.
"We haven't had a huge population of students but it's been lovely, it's been really nice, everyone has been supportive and the kids have been really great," she said.
Ms Perry also wanted to take the time to thank her husband of 36 years, Robert Bateman, who also attended Bega High. She said that without his support she would not have been able to have been so involved in the school community.
"I'm very proud of what I've done in teaching but I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of him and my extended family, in terms of chuffing off and leaving kids," she said.
In terms of retirement plans, Ms Perry plans to take it easy for a while but will still be involved in fundraising to continue to assist with the school's house building projects overseas.
As a member of the Social Justice Advocates, Ms Perry also would like to continue to be heavily involved in her work with the group.
She said when the ability to travel becomes an option, she would also like to do some more travelling.