RETIREMENT The Holly Leaf (1949)

Miss M. E. Dixon - Retired 23rd July 1948 after starting at S.P.T.C 1919

For many people, 23rd July, 1948, was just an ordinary Friday, with no event to make it memorable, but for others it was a day which will always be recalled with a feeling of sadness.  It was the last day of the summer term, and, for the senior students, their last day in the dark, stone building they had learned to love during a brief sojourn of four or five years.

One member of the Staff, however, said farewell after almost half a century.  Miss Dixon was a student of the old Central Secondary School.  It was in those early days that her thoughts were directed to teaching as a career.  How wise was the mistress who made the suggestion to the shy little girl who stood at her desk!  After training at Stockwell College, Miss Dixon returned to her native city and taught senior girls at Hunter's Bar School.  The influx of students to the Pupil Teacher Centre in 1919 made necessary an increase in the staff, and Miss Dixon was one of those chosen from Sheffield schools because of their proved worth as teachers.

In those early days, Miss Dixon taught English, History, Scripture, Mathematics and Needlework, but recently all her time has been devoted to English.  One old boy has written, "None who has known her can forget the great work Miss Dixon did in teaching English.  The solid foundation acquired by students in this supremely important subject was almost entirely due to her boundless energy and exceptional ability in 'putting it over'. In all branches of her subject she demanded and achieved a standard which is rarely equalled and could not be surpassed".

Miss Dixon's greatest concern was for the welfare of her students.  Each one was an individual known to her personally in such a way that the shy ones gave her their confidences, the awkward and difficult ones developed self-reliance and powers of co-operation, and the good students realized their capabilities and made progress at a rapid rate.  Miss Dixon found the best in all her students, and in return they responded and loved her.  The truth of this was shown during the past war, for few letters came from old boys without a special message for her and a tribute to all that she had done for them.

We who have been her colleagues for many years have a store of happy memories.  Who will ever forget her amazing vitality?  It showed itself on the hockey field, for Miss Dixon could sprint down the wing at a speed which left younger opponents standing bewildered.  Her vigour at camp, when an indescribably dirty Hanthorpe Hall was transformed into a temporary home for tired "agricultural labourers", was incredible.  Her solo dance, executed with one leg encased in plaster, was a demonstration of the triumph of her indomitable spirit over the physical disability of a broken leg.  Memories crown in, too, of her love of fun, and her gaiety and leadership at the Christmas parties.  That is Miss Dixon, a glowing, vital, generous colleague, whose zeal and enthusiasm are infectious.  School is not the same without her, but we are glad for her sake that she has left the stress and turmoil of workaday world.  May she have many years of happy retirement enjoying her home, her books, her garden and her friends.  Such will be a fitting reward for one whose life has been spent in the service of others.

Mrs. E. M. Wiggens