HUNDREDS of pupils took part in a flashmob to mark a retiring Newport teacher’s last day at school yesterday.

Mrs Margaret Gabica, who has been a teacher at St Julian’s Primary School for more than 25 years, was brought to tears after pupils and staff danced to her favourite song, Losing You from The Lion King, as she supervised her last playtime session.

Pupils and fellow teachers danced around the courtyard to mark Mrs Gabica’s last day on Wednesday, July 15.

Grandmother-of-one Mrs Gabica, who lives in Llantarnam in Cwmbran, said it was a “wonderful” sign-off and that she was “overwhelmed” by the experience.

“It was just fantastic and testament to the people I have worked with,” she said.

“They are such a wonderful team that I have been lucky to have been part of for so long.

“I couldn’t have worked with better people.”

She added that the flashmob took her completely by surprise.

“It was completely beyond anything I could have imagined or dreamed of,” she said.

“It was one of my favourite songs and it was lovely hearing it with them dancing.

“I’m so grateful to the people organising it and carried it out.

“I have taught all of these children and just looking at their faces they were so intent with what they were doing I was so impressed.

“It will be something I will cherish forever.”

She added that it was “the right time” to retire but that the school would always be a “a special place” to her.

Mrs Gabica, aged 62, said she planned on keeping busy during her retirement and was looking forward to spending time with her granddaughter and becoming a volunteer reader at the school.

“I like different activities and have no intentions of sitting being idle,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to starting craft stuff and becoming a lady that lunches.

She added that some of her favourite memories were conducting the school’s choir, which she has done since 1996, and working with the children. The day before her last day a special concert was also held with former staff reappearing to bid her farewell.

After the flashmob she was also presented with flowers, cards and other presents from pupils and staff.

“The amount of thought that went into what they did was lovely,” she said.

“I was also given a memo board with pictures of my children, my granddaughter and my two dogs too.”

She added that she would miss everyone at the school.

“I'm going to miss them dreadfully.

“I’m planning on keeping in contact with the staff, but I’m going to miss working with the children as they’ve kept me young all these years with their enthusiasm, their love of life and living and being in a school."

Deputy head teacher Mr Luke Mansfield said the idea for the flashmob came from Mrs Tracey Jenkins, the choreography came from Miss Chloe Butcher and Miss Hettie Browne chose the music and helped teach the dance moves.

"It was very difficult to keep it a secret, so whenever Mrs Gabica wasn't in school everyone would rush to the courtyard so they could practice it together," he said.

"Everyone worked as a team to pull it off without Mrs Gabica finding out.

"The children were fantastic and picked it up straight away.

"We are all so proud of them for doing an amazing job.

"I don't think there was a dry eye on the whole courtyard after the performance."

He added: "Mrs Gabica has led the choir for many years and the Lion King is one of her favourite musicals so we chose that song.

"We had a leavers assembly for her with a mastermind style quiz as she loves quizzes, and when we sent her out on the yard I think she thought that was cruel on her last day.

"But it was all worth it in the end."