Hundreds will turn out to pay tribute to Maggie McCorkell, the first ever female principal at Warwick Academy, who retires this month after eight years at the helm.

The school will host an ‘Evening of Celebration’ next week to honour Ms McCorkell’s 27 years of teaching at Warwick Academy and 37 years of teaching in Bermuda.

A spokeswoman said ticket sales for the gala event on June 18th at Fairmont Southampton Princess are going great.

“We have about 340 people coming so far. Friday the 10th is our cut off date and there are no ticket sales at the door.”

Director of Development Jane Vickers said Ms McCorkell’s time as principal can be best described “as wonderfully challenging, uplifting, and joyous”.

“Our school was fortunate to have a person with both wisdom and compassion at a critical time when there were economic challenges creating hardship on school funding and parental priorities,” said Ms Vickers.

“Ms McCorkell embraced change throughout her career and it was noticeably positive here at Warwick. Her commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of every student shone every day with a passion that was infectious and powerful.

“Everyone knew exactly what was expected of them as she held students and staff to the highest standards of accountability. High expectations led to exceptional results throughout her tenure.

“Her character and confidence to move amongst everyone with ease and humility was demonstrated when you’d see her early in the morning as our crosswalk guard, followed by delivering assembly to students, chairing a management team meeting, engaging the Governors on strategic matters, and soliciting donations from prospective donors. A Principal’s work was 24/7 and Maggie was always ready to do what was right for each child,” said Ms Vickers.

“It has been a true honour and privilege to have worked with Ms McCorkell – she was always focused on the issue at hand, fair in her deliberations, and by surrounding herself with talent, she achieved optimum success for the school thus raising our status in the community.

“Maggie’s legacy will be transformative – she provided the springboard for change by her vision to position the school to be more globally aware, more compassionate in its pastoral care, and more collaborative with one another to find solutions. We are truly thankful to her for sharing her journey with all of us in Bermuda. We are forever grateful and wish her well in her retirement.”

Following an extensive search for a successor WA Board Chairman Colin Smith said: “We are thrilled to have Mr Dave Horan succeed Maggie.

“Dave has been here at Warwick Academy for ten years and his last position was Head of Secondary. He was chosen at the end of last school year so this year has been a gradual transition. It is the best case scenario so that it will be a seamless transition,” said Mr Smith.

The ‘Evening of Celebration” will see a number of surprises along with entertainment and musical tributes by the WA Jazz band. And the Tommy Ray Band will be playing from 10pm to 1am for dancing.

“We have had some wonderful alumni step forward to pay tribute to Maggie and the impact she made on them,” said Ms Vickers.

“Our head of audio visual and IT teacher teacher Mark Hamilton is compiling it all and producing a video to be presented during the event.

“So many parents, former parents and especially Alumni talk about what a difference Maggie made in their lives. She was firm and fair. This is an opportunity for alumni to say thank you and show their support and respect.

“There is a lot going on in Bermuda on the 18th that takes place every year, but there will never be another Celebration of Maggie McCorkell’s contribution to Warwick Academy.”

Meanwhile, another 200 people are expected to turnout later this evening for the school’s annual Alumni Cocktail Party.

Proceeds will go to the Alumni Bursary Fund which was set up two years ago.

“The first year they were able to give out two Bursaries to children of Alumni and this current year we gave out four,” said Ms Vickers. “Last school year we held an Wine Tasting and Art Auction which was a huge success. As a result we are able to increase the number of bursaries we could give. There is no profit in the ticket sales as the cost covers the food and one drink.

“Island Restaurant group is providing a wonderful Taco station and then there will be passed appetizers. The proceeds will come from the bar and our raffle and silent auction and we are extremely grateful to our donors.”

That event gets underway at 6:30pm this evening.

By Ceola Wilson