When one door closes, another opens - that's the mindset Donna Thomas has as she approaches retirement after 45 years working for the NSW Department of Education.
Mrs Thomas worked for the department for 12 years before commencing her 33-year-long-stint in Dubbo at Orana Heights.
"I started out here as a relief teacher back when we first introduced the four-year-terms instead of three," Mrs Thomas said.
Mrs Thomas has also taken on the schools roles of classroom teacher, job shed worker, librarian and finally, office clerk, deeming her as a jack of all trades.
"One of the things I will really miss the most is that I have one of my grandchildren attending the school," she said.
"He's in year three now and every day he comes in and gives me a hug.
"I will really miss that."
Mrs Thomas said she will also miss her fabulous colleagues who have made her feel like a valuable member of the team, which is the soul reason Mrs Thomas said she has stayed at the school for such a mammoth amount of time.
"My proudest achievement would have to be the influence I have had on the musical culture within the school and coordinating a gifted and talented program for 10 years for students at Orana Heights who had a flair and potential for the arts."
Mrs Thomas said her time at the school has been invaluable and full of impactful experiences, though that hasn't stopped her from planning for the future.
Mrs Thomas has plans for her retirement, including getting back into sport, sleeping in and finding her niche.
"I will also find something that is going to make a difference because that's you have to do, you have to make a difference," she said.
"And I can confidently say that I have identified three ex-students that have identified to me that I have made a difference. One was a boy who struggled with shyness and learning. He had no confidence and I had been quite worried about him when he first came into my class in year five. By the end of year six the girls were fighting to sit next to him, he was getting up and presenting to class.
"Following the announcement of my retirement my daughter had showed me a message that students had written on Facebook. He wrote; best teacher, made a difference to my life, Mrs Thomas. That's what you work for, to make a difference."
Mrs Thomas said one perk of retirement will be getting to sleep in and having more time to pursue her passion for sport.
"I'm going to play golf and I'm going to play netball."