Rochester Memorial bids farewell to longtime maintenance supervisor

Dec 22, 2021

ROCHESTER — After nearly four decades of dedicated service to Rochester Memorial School, Maintenance Supervisor Brian Ouellette was celebrated on Wednesday, Dec. 22 with a “clap out” ceremony in honor of his retirement.

Students from kindergarten to sixth grade lined the halls of the school holding handmade signs wishing Ouellette a happy retirement and telling him how much they would miss him.

Teachers too smiled widely from under their masks as he made his way down the halls one last time. Some students and staff fist bumped him as he passed, others gave him notes — which piled up into such a heap by the end that they were difficult for him to carry — but all of them showed their heartfelt gratitude for his service.

“It’s kind of sad to leave,” said Ouellette. “The people here are wonderful, as you can tell. It’s been like that all the years I’ve been here.”

Ouellette said that one of his favorite parts of the job was getting to see the kids grow up over the years from kindergarteners all the way up to the sixth grade.

“They almost got me emotional,” he said of their enthusiastic sendoff.

Ouellette worked for the school for 38 years, and his history with it goes back even further.

“Brian was a student here too,” said Rochester Memorial School Principal Derek Medeiros. “His only time away was when he went to junior and senior high.”

Medeiros said that the school would greatly miss him.

“You have to go into this knowing that you’ll never find someone to replace Brian, you’ve just gotta do what you can,” he said.

Once he had made his way past each of the classrooms and all the students and teachers had said their goodbyes, Ouellette returned to the lobby where he was given a hand-stitched quilt and a commemorative poster.

Beverly Ciaburri — herself a retiree of Rochester Memorial School — likes to honor school staff when they reach retirement by making them quilts with messages from other staff members written in the squares.

“It’s kind of like a gift to both of us,” she said. “They get a quilt and I get to see my old colleagues” when they come over to write the notes.