Esperance Senior High School principal retires after more than 20 years leading the school

A spur of the moment decision to drive to Esperance sparked a principal's love for the town that has lasted for decades and impacted the education of thousands of students at Esperance Senior High School.

After more than two decades as principal of the school and a total of 47 years in education, Cathy Bamblett has revealed she will retire at the the end of this school term.

Mrs Bamblett said she knew, from as young as 10-years-old, she wanted to be a teacher.

"I was going to be a teacher and I was going to travel. They were the only two things in the world that I wanted to do," she said.

"In those days, the career choices for females were mostly either nursing or teaching. I hated blood and loved kids, so it was a pretty easy choice for me to make."

Mrs Bamblett's first teaching job was in 1973 at Tom Price High School. Her career would take all over the state before she moved to Esperance in 1998.

"I had driven to the eastern states in the 1990s with my parents," she said.

"Driving back, we got to Norseman and instead of going straight back to Perth, we decided to go and see Esperance.

"It just blew me away. I didn't realise there was this magic place right down in the corner of South East WA.

"I remember saying to my parents 'I need to come back here and really get to know the town'.

"From that moment on, it was always in my sights."

Mrs Bamblett said she had stayed in Esperance because it was a beautiful place to live and work and because she loved country kids.

"I think I'm a country kid at heart. They are just fabulous," she said.

"The town and local businesses support the school really well. We have over 150 businesses in town that take our kids for work experience and there are a whole lot of other programs that the community support.

"That gives us the ability to open up new opportunities for the kids, so that they're not disadvantaged by the tyranny of distance from Perth."

Mrs Bamblett said the construction and redevelopment of new school facilities, seeing students succeed and working with staff and teachers were highlights of her time at the school.

"Our kids match results from the metropolitan area," she said.

"A big reason for that is the dedication of the staff.

"I'm just so proud of the school. It's going to be really hard for me to step away from it after all these years.

"I'm just really grateful to everyone who has had a part in making this the great school it is."

Mrs Bamblett said she just knew it "was time" to retire and was looking forward to spending more time travelling.

"You don't want to wait till your 85 to start travelling," she said.

"It's a huge step. I'm very grateful to have this as my last school in my career and for having the amazing staff with me and the community help make the school be the best it can be.

"It doesn't make it any easier to walk out. But I know there are good things waiting for me."