Teacher chalks up 30 years

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Queenstown Primary School teacher Mark Douglas got the shock of his life when Friday’s earlier-than-usual assembly turned out to be all about him.
 
To celebrate his 30 years at the school, teachers and pupils sprang a surprise ‘This Is Your School Life’ on him, climaxing with the vigorous singing of his favourite assembly song, ‘Aotearoa’. 

Douglas, affectionately dubbed ‘Mr D’ ever since he took his first class at Queenstown Primary, says he always harboured an ambition to live here since visiting as a 10-year-old – his dad won a family trip from Auckland on the radio version of Selwyn Toogood’s It’s In The Bag. 

The sprightly fit 59-year-old, who transferred in 1980 after seven years in West Otago and just months after marrying his wife Brenda in the Queenstown Gardens, says he’s got no intentions of retiring, noting a music teacher at Whakatane High is still going at age 96. 

“I just enjoy classroom teaching,” he says. 

Douglas often teaches the sons and daughters of his former pupils. 

“I’m now looking forward to teaching the grandkids of former pupils.”