By Jasmine Brough, Bruce Peninsula Press
This April, Bruce Peninsula District School (BPDS) will say goodbye to long-serving educator and former student Martha McLay. After 30 years educating local students, McLay is retiring at the end of April.
Having grown up in the Northern Bruce Peninsula, Martha attended and graduated from BPDS. She then attended Wilfred Laurier University, getting her undergrad in French and Phys Ed. She went to Teachers College at Memorial University Newfoundland.
In her early years of teaching Martha had the privilege of working with educators who had taught her at BPDS. “It felt strange to be working alongside teachers who taught me, I couldn’t call them by their first name and some I still can’t! They all welcomed me and were amazing to work with.”
She has taught for 30 years now, one year at Sauble School and the rest at Eastnor and BPDS. Teaching at BPDS has been nothing but a pleasure for McLay. “It really has been my second home and the people there have all been like family to me. I feel so fortunate to have lived and taught on the Peninsula.”
Students and teachers can all agree they have nothing but nice things to say about her. Principal at BPDS, Matt Pickett, spoke very highly. “Ms. Martha McLay is the type of teacher who has the perfect personality for the job. She has high expectations, cares about students, is a really good teacher, and is probably one of the kindest people I know.” Matt says.
Martha has mixed emotions about retiring. “I’m sad to say goodbye and I know I will miss my school friends and the kids. But I’m also excited to move on to other projects. I know I will return to BPDS some day to volunteer and I look forward to that.”
Some of McLay’s favourite things to teach include reading, composting and identifying local trees. “My grade one class always took on daily composting and it was the highlight of the years I had them. I also loved the tree unit with locals coming in to share their knowledge and the fundraising for the tree giveaway in May.”
BPDS staff and students will dearly miss McLay’s positive and kind attitude around the school. Matt Pickett says it best in these few sentences: “There is a general sense of sadness that she is leaving, but also a real happiness that she will be pursuing her other passions after so long in Bluewater. She was a student here, teacher at BPDS, and will join a really exclusive club of retired BPDS staff. Good luck in your retirement.”
During her retirement, she plans on doing lots of gardening, hiking and spending more time with family and friends. “I will be helping with our beekeeping business and continuing to renovate our farmhouse at Dyer’s Bay.” Says Martha.
Congratulations on your retirement Martha. On behalf of the school and community, we wish you all the best!