After more than 30 years of volunteer work at Sale Specialist School, Helen McDowell has been forced to call it quits.
Until this year, Ms McDowell would go along to the school each Friday and play the piano for music lessons with the school’s junior students.
Ms McDowell began volunteering and playing the piano when the then day training centre, Jerendine, was based in Maffra. Her oldest daughter was a baby at the time and would snooze in her carry basket next to piano while Ms McDowell played away. When Sale Special Developmental School moved to Sale in 1985, Ms McDowell Helen continued her volunteer work as regular as clockwork.
The Sale Specialist School was promised a new school on a new site over 12 years ago. The school and the temporary campus established five years ago are both full to capacity.
With the multipurpose room used as a classroom and no other empty room within the school there is nowhere for Ms McDowell to play the piano.
After more than 30 years of dedicated service the choice to retire was not Ms McDowell’s, but rather forced upon her and the school by circumstances, the lack of land and the slow moving wheels of bureaucracy.
The school community held a morning tea to thank Ms McDowell for her many years of service and students presented her with a hand painted silk scarf and a silver treble clef brooch.