After 19 years, La Jolla Elementary School principal Donna Tripi, stepped down Dec. 21 to move on to a new job as superintendent in the Rancho Santa Fe School District. And with that much time at the helm of the 1111 Marine St. school, one send-off party just wasn’t enough!
The school hosted a surprise celebration for the outgoing principal following the morning flag ceremony Dec. 14, at which the entire student body sang a song about the school, with supportive parents watching. Then, on Dec. 18, a parent party was held in the auditorium featuring speakers, a video, gifts and more.
“This is the most difficult decision I have ever made, both personally and professionally,” a teary Tripi told those gathered. “It topped moving out here from Chicago, which was a big move!
“I have loved every minute of the journey, being at La Jolla Elementary School from the beginning, when it had so much room to grow. Now I feel like you are in such a good place, because of all of you in this room. It has been a team from the very beginning. It has been so much fun, every day, even with its challenges. It has always been us. We are a family and we work hard together.”
Motioning to the students sitting on the auditorium floor in front of her, Tripi continued: “We have all of them at the center of all we do. This is who we are working for and what we want to give them. It’s been a joy for me, so to give it up was so hard. But I feel like this is a next step for me, and I can help another district get to where you all are. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to make this a magical place. I appreciate this outpouring and I don’t feel like I deserve it, but it, and you, are incredible. Just incredible.”
Retired principal and former area superintendent for La Jolla, Dr. Julie Martel, will serve as interim principal when school resumes Jan. 7.