MARIE Martin will leave a leadership legacy spanning 15 years when she farewells Marist College Emerald at the end of the school year.
Mrs Martin arrived in Emerald with her family 16 years ago.
Originally from Longreach, her three children and husband were excited about moving to a bigger town.
"We stayed so long because it's a great place to bring up young people,” Mrs Martin said.
"It's a community which creates really great, down- to-earth young people.
"There's so many sporting, academic and cultural opportunities.”
During her time at the school, Mrs Martin spent eight years as deputy principal and seven as principal.
Through that time she witnessed the ebb and flow of the region and the development of the school.
"Through Catholic Education there has been masses of infrastructure added to the school in the last 10 years,” she said.
"We've been lucky to have had renovations which have greatly improved our facilities.”
The renovations include four new classrooms, an art room and a hospitality room.But Mrs Martin said, for her, the pinnacle of the building program was the sacred space.
"Spirituality is at the centre of our teaching, it is a very important part of our school and to have this building in the centre of our school highlights its importance,” she said.
Mrs Martin said her style of leadership was influenced by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, the patron saint of the school.
"He believed that family was important in education,” she said.
"We want the students to feel like they are family, like they are brothers and sisters, and that means I've been the firm but loving mother.”
Mrs Martin said her favourite moment of the school year was the Year 12 graduation.
"On graduation day you get to look at a group of young people who are joyful about being on the cusp of an exciting adult life,” she said.
"I cry every year because the students have worked so hard and they've been supported so well. It's a great achievement to get kids to graduation.”
Mrs Martin will be leaving Marist College Emerald at the end of the school year to start her new role as secondary curriculum consultant at the Catholic Education Office in Rockhampton in January.
"I'm very sad to be leaving but I'm ready for a new challenge,” she said.
"I'll miss the people the most. I love the energy and challenges of teenagers. I love the age group - I genuinely loved them.
"The real gift is the community of the school, the students the staff and the families.”
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