Saint John Houghton CVA staff member retires after 28 years

Diane Slysz

A member of staff who served Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy for 28 years has retired.
Diane Slysz, 58, occupied various roles at the academy including librarian, teaching assistant, summer camp co-ordinator and cover supervisor.
A special presentation took place at the academy, in Kirk Hallam, during an Act of Worship and Joan McCarthy, head teacher, paid tribute to Diane.
She said: “Diane has had lots of different roles here and she knows how to get the job done without fuss or drama. She has done so much for the Saint John Houghton community and has really lived out the Christian values. She will be missed and we wish her all the best for the future.”
Diane said she began working at Saint John Houghton CVA after being approached by one of the former head teachers.
She said: “When my daughter started school here I was a parent on the PTA and Terry Murphy, who was head teacher then, said he had a role for me. He said there was a child due to start who needed support and would I give it a go.
“I have six children and at the time I wasn’t working. I worked just a few hours a week to start with and it just gradually built up.”
Diane was a teaching assistant supporting children with special needs for 18 years, a cover supervisor and work experience co-ordinator. She also worked in the Learning Resource Centre and was a health and safety officer and a first aider.
She ran the Duke of Edinburgh awards at the academy and was responsible for organising trips in the summer break for children who would not normally have a holiday.
She said: “I’ve seen lots of changes at the academy. When I started there was no Victor Key building and reception was in a little office with three administration staff.
“Some children couldn’t afford a holiday so we would organise a summer camp perhaps to Devon where they could have a break. It gave them the chance to have a bit of a childhood and it was great to see them enjoying the outdoors.”
Even though Diane is retiring, it is unlikely that she will have too much time on her hands as she has 14 grandchildren.
She said: “Leaving feels a bit strange after all of these years but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and I have so many lovely memories of Saint John Houghton; it’s a very special community
“I will be spending some time looking after my two-year-old grandson and I’m sure I’ll be doing a few school runs as one of my grandchildren is due to start at Saint John next year.”