Mrs Kozi, Jeanette Kozikowski, retires from Tailem Bend Primary School

After 32 years, one of Tailem Bend Primary School's most beloved figures has retired.

Mrs Jeanette "Kozi" Kozikowski had been a fixture at the school since 1986, when she moved into the administration and finance role she has held ever since.

She was a nurse by trade, having spent several years caring for patients at the town's hospital before a stint running a deli with her husband and caring for her young children.

Nursing was the career to which she had planned to return, even going so far as to get a new uniform; but the opportunity at the school came up and she never looked back.

Like other stalwarts of the blue and gold community, a tree was planted in her honour on the school grounds on Thursday.

Before a crowd of students, staff and parents, principal Travis Schenke described her as the "heart and soul" of TBPS.

"It's going to be a sad time for us, but ... you've earnt your right to leave, you're leaving at the right time and you've left the school in a positive state," he said.

The woman of the hour said she was proud that she would be remembered in such a way at the primary school she once attended.

"What an honour it has been knowing this tree will stand here long after I've gone, and that its branches will offer you shade," she said.

"I'll miss you all very much.

"I can't imagine what it's going to be like not coming here every day and sharing my life with you all, my Tailem Bend family."

But she said she would continue living in the town, and would appreciate every hello in the street.

She finished by encouraging the next generation of Eagles to set goals, work hard to achieve them, to be their best selves and be proud of their school.

She will have one last celebration with staff past and present: a meal at the Riverside Hotel this Sunday.

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