Retired Saltus teacher dies, aged 93
Mary Hopkins, a veteran Saltus teacher who headed the school’s lower primary department, has died. Ms Hopkins was 93.
The former teacher was credited with shaping the department over decades as head teacher. Ms Hopkins wrote in the Saltus yearbook in 1988 how the department began in “an old two-roomed schoolhouse, with 37 children and one other teacher”.
Jon Beard, deputy head at Saltus Grammar School, said: “Mary joined the school in 1959 and the lower primary then was on Mount Hill in Pembroke.
“A few years later it was moved to join the Saltus Junior School. With Mary’s wonderful guiding hand it out grew those premises and the lower primary was then housed in its present site, when Saltus purchased the then Cavendish Hall School.”
He added Ms Hopkins headed the Cavendish department for almost 30 years and made “an incredible contribution”.
Mr Beard said she continued to visit the school, even after she retired in 1986. He added: “At social functions it was a source of constant amazement that she always seemed to know a student who was now at university or working, when she had known them as five-year olds.”
Students at the “prep school” were known for years by their distinctive red sweaters — introduced by Ms Hopkins when she relaxed the stricter uniform guidelines for pupils. Ms Hopkins ran many aspects of the Cavendish department in its early days, which included fixing the plumbing and electricity along with her regular duties. She was also keen to help students with learning problems and started the school’s remedial reading programme. Ms Hopkins said her work was “sometimes hair-raising but always lively and enjoyable”.
Ms Hopkins was also a longstanding member of the English Speaking Union. A memorial service will be held at 3pm today in St John’s Church, Pembroke.
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