After 14 years at Brooke Weston Academy art technician Susan McAlpine is retiring. She has been fundamental in helping teachers organise their lessons, makes sure students have the equipment they need and carries out a host of other duties that she has been doing so long that it’s just second nature to her.
Susan, originally from Glasgow, moved to Corby 44 years ago. This meant that she had to leave her apprenticeship as a window dresser with House of Fraser that she had started aged just 14 and a half.
She came to Brooke Weston as a part time cleaner and four years later went on to the role of technician.
What do you enjoy about your role?
‘I’ve always liked being creative. My first job was training to be a window dresser and now my last job is in the arts. That’s why I’m so happy. The mess doesn’t annoy me; it’s the end result that you see that’s lovely. I love looking at the students’ work once it’s completed. ‘
What have you learnt from your time at Brooke Weston?
‘I’ve learnt a lot. The best thing is that I’m helping the students to grow up into the world. If I can advise them or help them I will and nothing is a problem, it’s all part of growing up. ‘
What changes have you seen in the school?
‘There have been a lot of changes over the years and students are different now. They are getting a lot braver, especially the younger ones that are coming into the school, but they soon learn how things should be done here.’
What do you plan to do in your retirement?
‘I don’t like to just sit around so I plan to keep busy. As I’m a dressmaker by trade I’m going to help a friend who is setting up a business teaching adult dressmaking in Corby. I also help my daughter at a toddler group she runs locally and I will join some local clubs. I have four grand children that I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with now. In January I’m going on a holiday to see relatives in New Zealand and Australia.’
What are your fondest memories of working here?
‘There have been so many! All the lovely friends I’ve made and worked with over the years. The Christmas dinners in the restaurant, the Principal who is so caring.’
What will you miss most about Brooke Weston?
‘Brooke Weston is such a lovely Academy and there has never been a day that I haven’t wanted to be here. There is always someone to talk to if you need to and I will miss all the staff and students. I have truly loved working here and will miss everyone very much.’