Bruce Mines

Ms. P Retires from Arthur Henderson

Ms. P Retires from Arthur Henderson

Ms. P as she is known to her students aka Mary Petrocco has spent her final day at Arthur Henderson Elementary School in Bruce Mines.

Mary, who grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, dreamed about being a teacher since she was in Kindergarten. However, when the time came to get a post-secondary education she was told there were no teaching jobs.

As a result she got her degree in Social Work at the University of Waterloo. When she realized that was not a career she wanted, she attended teachers college in London.

Again, she was told there were no teaching jobs to be had between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Mary was thrilled to beat the odds and land a teaching position in Blind River at St. Mary’s Catholic School. Mary and her husband bought a house in Bruce Mines and she commuted until she started teaching at the 3 room school in Tarbutt Township.

Mary loved the small school then and has really enjoyed coming full circle and finishing her career back at Arthur Henderson with only K-Grade 3 classes.

When the Johnson and Tarbutt schools were combined, Mary taught at JTCS in Desbarats where each of her 5 children attended elementary school before heading to CASS.

Mary taught for 2 years in Thessalon, then back to JTCS as Acting Principal. At this time the Ontario Teacher’s Union was undergoing changes and she had to choose to be either a teacher or a principal. Mary says, “The choice was easy, I really wanted to stay in the classroom with the kids, that’s what I loved about teaching.”

Mary has been able to finish her teaching career close to home in Bruce Mines at Arthur Henderson. She jokes about “Going down with the ship” as the board has been promising to close the school and relocate JK-3 at Central Algoma Elementary School in Desbarats. But “The ship won’t sink” and no definite date has been given as to when the school will close, so she made the choice to leave at the end of this school year.

Anyone who has had the privilege to be Mary’s student or have her teach their child, knows that she is the best of the best. She is full of life and truly loves the kids in her class. Mary understands that learning happens many places, many different ways, and her students always got to experience so much more than the required curriculum.

Mary is thrilled to be a new grandmother of 3 grandbabies since May, 2018, so she looks forward to spending more time with them. Travel is also in the plans, with a trip already booked to California. Perhaps a few trips back to the school too, as she will really be missing the students and staff come September.

Pictured above is Mary with her Grade 2/3 class and Principal Don Nadeau (left).