WATCH: Hundreds of people surprise a beloved Saanich educator as he steps out from the school halls and into retirement. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Tarj Mann has been the principal at Braefoot Elementary School for the past 16 years.
The walls of his office are lined with photos, keepsakes and memories from his years as an educator.
The beloved Saanich teacher has been working in education for 45 years.
“I’ve never really felt like I’m going to work,” Mann said.
It’s the motto the 65-year-old lives by – find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.
“Part of it is coming to school everyday, happy and enjoying the moment,” Mann said. “I try to make a difference wherever I can.”
It’s clear the impact Mann has made is in the hearts of his current and former students, staff and parents.
Today, hundreds of people gathered on the school’s basketball courts to wish him well in his retirement.
It was a special sendoff for the man they say is much more than just a principal.
“He does fun activities with us,” student Avery said.
“He does stuff like the spring fling and he barbecues,” other students chimed in.
“Mr. Mann knew I had my hands full with my twin babies, so when my daughter was sick he actually walked her home” Maureen Young said.
“He would take us out of class to go play floor hockey,” former student Anthony Bascuzzi said.
Dennis Howard was a student in Mr. Mann’s first class at Gordon Head Elementary in 1972.
“He had a big part in my life,” Howard said. “I hadn’t seen
“I hadn’t seen Tarj for 40 years, but after hearing my first name he knew who I was right away.”
Now, both of Howard’s children attend Braefoot Elementary.
“It’s become a generational thing,” Howard said with a laugh.
Mr. Mann won’t officially retire until July 31st, but he is looking back at his career with fond memories.
“It’s seriously been my blessing to be able to work in education,” Mann said. “This whole thing has been way cool.”
“This whole thing has been way cool.”