Well its been a whirlwind last few days here at St. Julian’s Primary. It’s a common misconception that teachers ‘wind down’ at the end of term; in fact, we do the opposite! It gets incredibly busy in the last few weeks, with reports, transition days, assessments, concerts etc… but amongst all the busyness, we made sure we set aside time to celebrate a very special occasion.
Earlier this term, Mrs Gabica announced that she would be retiring at the end of the year. She has worked at the school for over 25 years and done so much for our wonderful children; not least, leading our school choir. We wanted to make sure that we gave her a good send off and so some of the teachers in our Foundation Phase put their heads together to come up with a plan. Mrs Gabica loves music and musicals, so Mrs Jenkins had the idea of doing a ‘Flash Mob’. The staff were all onboard with the idea and quickly set to work planning and preparing how it would all work. Miss Butcher choreographed the dance moves and Miss Browne came up with the song and helped to teach the dance moves to the rest of the teachers and pupils.
On Mrs Gabica’s last day of work, Wednesday 15th July 2015, we held a special assembly and then sent her out onto the yard for her final break-duty. As she stood in the middle of the playground, Mr Prewett pressed ‘play’ on his iPod and the song ‘He lives in you’ (from The Lion King musical) started to blare out of the speakers at full volume! As the dramatic introduction of the song played, the children stopped playing their games and hurried across the yard into position, forming a ring around Mrs Gabica. Miss Butcher’s class led the way with their carefully choreographed routine whilst the rest of the school crouched low on the playground waiting for their cue. As the song began to build, the whole playground sprang to life and performed a series of swirls, jumps and turns, in unison.
As all this was going on, Mrs Gabica stood speechless in the middle of the yard, taking it all in. People passing the school also stopped to gaze in amazement at what was taking place. The song came to an end and a tearful Mrs Gabica thanked all the children and teachers for their efforts.
You can see the original video, here…
Just before the break time had started, we had managed to plant some cameras around the yard, which meant that we captured the whole thing on video. We uploaded the video to our school ‘Vimeo’ account and shared the video on our Twitter feed. We originally uploaded the video purely to show parents what we had done but within a matter of hours, we started receiving phone calls from local news teams asking if they could report the story. It first appeared on the South Wales Argus website and later that evening, on the ITV news. Then the following day, we had calls from the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Independent, Wales Online and BBC Radio 5 live, asking for more information for them to report the story also. ITV even sent a news crew in to film Mrs Gabica, so they could feature her again on the evening news.
To date, the original upload of the video has received over 40,000 views but the combined total of views for the video is estimated to be at around half a million views!
It’s such an amazing achievement for the school and a wonderful way to say ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Thank you’ to Mrs Gabica, for her service to the school.
Comments have been flooding in via our twitter account and our school website, including:
“Still have my primary school report from Mrs Gabica! I wish her all the best in her retirement” – Megan (Past Pupil)
@StJuliansPri this is amazing, so many children dancing in time, your staff deserve medals! Elsie has loved the Mrs Gabica days in nursery.” – 2Young2
@StJuliansPri Well I could pretend we didn’t blub… absolutely brilliant. Proud to say “She taught me!” – Sarah (Past Pupil)
@StJuliansPri not the only one who needed a tissue Miss Gabica. Best flashmob I’ve seen. Enjoy your retirement.” – Janet O
“We want to join
@StJuliansPri‘s next playtime duty after watching this! Retiring teacher is ‘flash mobbed’.” – DiscoveryEdUk
“I would like to congratulate you, your pupils and staff on the most moving video I have seen for a long time. Mrs Gabica is one of the most inspirational and obviously much loved people I have seen in education for a long time. She is clearly loved by the pupils and staff at your school. We’ll done to your staff and pupils it was tear jerking to say the least. Well done to all who choreographed it. It was truly amazing. Please send her my best wishes for her future.” – Claire F
“I was moved to tears with your flash mob video for Mrs Gabica’s last day. What a wonderful event for everyone. A beautifully choreographed video, well done to all those that took part.” – Gary H
You can read some of the published news articles, here…
…and lots more!
Click here to read Mrs Gabica’s final blog post