Farewell to special teacher

Retiring sports teacher from Northam Senior High School, Rod Sheridan, shaking the hand of Melanie Polain before his speech at the assembly.

Retiring sports teacher from Northam Senior High School, Rod Sheridan, shaking the hand of Melanie Polain before his speech at the assembly.

Old students, current students and staff said a sad farewell to retiring teacher Rod Sheridan after 40 years of teaching at Northam Senior High School. 

Originally from Perth, Rod moved to Toodyay and bought a property in 1976 for a change of lifestyle. 

Rod has achieved a lot since teaching at the school, most notably his work as Head of the Sports Department, organising Country Week, mentoring other staff and being a supportive teacher to students. 

After hearing of his retirement, the 77-year-old has received hundreds of touching tributes on Facebook from people he has taught in the past. A heartfelt speech was made by past student and current teacher Melanie Polain at the assembly.

You can tell your families Sherro’s finally gone - Retiring teacher Rod Sheridan

She named all the teachers at the school that were past students of Rod’s including Mrs Wiktorski, Ms Soulos, Mr Sewell, Mrs Hedland, Mrs Trenaman, Mr Shaw, Ms McCloy and Mrs Winsor.

Ms Polain spoke of Rod’s positive enthusiastic nature and said she was lucky to have a teacher “who was an unassuming role model for his young and impressionable students”.

“We are all very lucky to have been mentored, inspired and taught by Mr Sheridan,” she said. “I think lucky is an understatement.”

She affectionately teased his distinctive look –  shorts a bucket hat and white socks, which encouraged a wave of laughter from the crowd. 

Ms Polain ended with stating all of Rod’s qualities including being patient and positive, and said “with all fairness, I’m not convinced Mr Sheridan actually realises how much of a positive impact he has had on so many people”. Humbled by all the praise he received, Rod opened his speech with, “Well some of that was true...I feel like a bit of a rockstar today!” 

“Thanks for making all this fuss over me,” he said. “I told Mr Martino I wanted to leave through the back door – but I knew that wouldn’t be the case.” Rod said the school has been good to him. “I have always had good people around me so that's a bonus,” he said. “I feed off those people that come to teach and pick up bits and pieces.”

Rod said he is not retiring from life and would be around town. “Say good day when I see you on the street,” he said. “You can tell your families Sherro’s finally gone!”

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