Here's to you, Mrs Robertson

Students, staff and parents say ‘Thank You for the Music’ to a beloved Elermore Vale Public School teacher. Kristi Pritchard-Owens reports.

A student and a teacher. A student and a teacher.
Image: Lyndell Robertson taught music at Elermore Vale Public School for 33 years.

In 1990, a softly spoken fourth year music student arrived at a school in Newcastle’s west tasked with running a 10-week choir and band program.

It was the start of a wonderful 33-year partnership that would see Lyndell Robertson become a cornerstone of education at Elermore Vale Public School, on Awabakal Country.

“The principal at the time, Bob Allan, was amazed by the large number of students going into the program, especially boys, who had never shown interest in music before,” current principal Luke Somerville said.

“He called Lyndell into his office to offer her a job as a teacher the following year and she has stayed with us ever since.”

Since 1991, Mrs Robertson has provided music lessons to every class in the school, from Kindergarten to Year 6.

She has also run the school choir, organised eisteddfod and other performance opportunities, put together excursions to Sydney to see musicals, and arranged the very popular biennial school concerts.

Musical trends have come and gone over the years and while recorders are still the wind instrument of choice, drumming has become increasingly popular with students, as has the humble ukelele.

But whatever the decade, Mrs Robertson said there were certain constants about teaching music that always remained true.

“Everyone has a part in a music lesson or an ensemble group,” Mrs Robertson said.

“When children are part of a group and they learn something new, then they develop more confidence.

“Success breeds success, not just in music.”

Mr Somerville said the belief in her students was one reason Mrs Robertson had been such a favourite at Elemore Vale Public.

“Mrs Robertson is the absolute epitome of public education; she goes above and beyond and shows such dedication,” he said.

“She talks about the students and says, ‘they put the sun in my sunshine’ but you know, that’s what she does for the entire school.”

With retirement, an important chapter at Elermore Vale Public School has closed, but for Mrs Robertson, her former colleagues and students will remain close to her heart.

“I love the staff and the children and so it was easy to stay here,” she said.

“But you’ve got to realise that the students grow up and move on, so they’re coming through all the time.

“I hope their love of music is always there.”

Students sitting on a floor at an assembly with another student and teacher standing. Students sitting on a floor at an assembly with another student and teacher standing.
Image: Students at Elermore Vale Public School farewelled beloved music teacher Lyndell Robertson last week.
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