Principal of South Grafton Public School Sue Hillary in the middle of her students after they farewelled her with a surprise flashmob. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Principal of South Grafton Public School Sue Hillary in the middle of her students after they farewelled her with a surprise flashmob. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

School dances up a big surprise

SUE Hillery wondered what was happening to her school.

With retirement two weeks away, she was puzzled. Why had staff at South Grafton Public School suddenly become disorganised?

The principal continued with her duties, suspecting it might have something to do with her farewell dinner planned for Friday night.

What was really happening was the staff and students were in rehearsals for a flash mob dance send-off, which had to be kept secret despite the involvement of the entire school.

One of the flash mob masterminds, Tegan Ewart, said for the two weeks prior to yesterday's performance, the school was sweating on the principal being away.

"Any time she attended a principal's meeting, the music would start up and we would practise our routines," Ms Ewart said.

With music booming out, pupils and staff jumped and wiggled their hips to make sure they gave their special leader the send-off she deserved. It turned out to be the perfect surprise.

When Mrs Hillery arrived for assembly at 11.15am, she had no inkling anything was amiss until the staff formed a line in the quadrangle and the music started.

As they danced, more and more students darted from their hiding places, eventually filling the playground with dancing, singing faces.

The delighted principal was overcome.

"I'm speechless" and "look at those teachers move" was all she could say while she watched the show.

It has been that type of fortnight for her.

"We were having a P&C meeting and everyone was sitting down and nothing much was happening," she said. "Suddenly, everyone had wigs and tights on and they had converted into a rock band performing for me."

It was a fitting end for a teacher who had spent 26 of the 35 years of her career at the school.

"We have always tried to make the school a creative place to learn," she said.

"When you see something like that happen, you know you've achieved something you set out to do."



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