Retiring teacher aide had a lasting effect on student lives
JUDE Glasby's loyal tenure as a teacher aide is coming to an end, but not before she helped dozens of students find their hidden talents.
Working with special needs students at St Mary's Primary School since 1992, Mrs Glasby not only assisted teachers, but also worked one-on-one with children born with Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, Asperger's and hearing impairment.
She was spread out across grade 5, 6 and 7 classrooms over the past 15 years of her 23-year career at St Mary's, and can now proudly say that a lot of her students went on to achieve university degrees and enter exciting careers.
"I think we offer a lot more to kids with special needs now than when I first started," Mrs Glasby said.
"The children with special needs are also a lot more accepted by the general community, and I am surprised at how well the other students accept them now.
"It is great to see, because it means they have friends and people care about them and look after them."
Former St Mary's student Judy Bourke (nee Swift), said Mrs Glasby's efforts had a lasting effect, not only on her education, but her life.
Mrs Bourke, who is hearing impaired, first came across Mrs Glasby in 1993, when she was in grade 4 at school.
"Jude was fun-loving and really easy to work with," she said.
"Primary school was a tough time for me and my family, because my brother was suffering leukaemia.
"Jude was always there for me and became my substitute mother during that period."
Call it a coincidence, but Mrs Bourke has now taken on a career of caring for the disabled, working with Ipswich's CATS service.
Having already been officially farewelled during a church service, Mrs Glasby will finish at St Mary's tomorrow.
The retiree is looking forward to travelling with her husband, Joe.
"I will miss the kids more so than anything else," she said.