Rosemont elementary students ended their school year with a special sendoff for their principal Diane Larcombe.
On their second last day of classes, students gathered in their school yard. When their principal came outside, the 95 students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 broke into dance.
“It was a complete surprise,” Larcombe said through tears.
A week earlier, while Larcombe was away from the school on district business, students had gathered in the gym, where Kindergarten teacher Wendy Maslechko and her 15-year-old daughter Oksana taught them choreography for The Beatles song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”
“We almost got caught,” laughed Maslechko, explaining that Larcombe had unexpectedly shown up at the school with a flat tire while they were rehearsing the dance. “Luckily she didn’t know what we were up to. She left again and we continued practicing it over and over.”
Maslechko said she chose the song because she’d seen dances done to it before, and she thought the “life goes on” lyric was fitting for the occasion.
Larcombe was principal at Rosemont for three years. The 57-year-old accepted early retirement to work overseas. She and her husband, a teacher in Kaslo, will move to China and work at a BC curriculum school there.
“I probably would have retired next year anyways, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity,” Larcombe said, noting schools in China don’t generally accept new teachers over the age of 60.
Her new job will be at a private boarding school for Kindergarten to Grade 6. Her husband will teach high school math and physics in a different part of the school. They plan to stay for at least two years, then return to the Kootenays and retire at their home in Kaslo.
While Larcombe is looking forward to the new opportunity, she said she’s grown attached to the students at Rosemont.
“It’s been a pleasure working with these kids, I’m going to miss them,” she said.