Allan Martin, principal at George J. Mitchell School in Waterville, sits on his “throne” Wednesday morning during his retirement parade at the school. Haley Hersey/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — After 24 years as principal at George J. Mitchell School in Waterville, Allan Martin assumed his rightful throne Wednesday morning as king.

Martin wore a crown as he sat on a rocking chair in the back of a pickup truck parked in front of the school’s main entrance. A blue sign reading “Thank you Mr. Martin” hung from the truck’s tailgate.

Even as Martin wore a protective mask, a smile was evident on the retiring principal’s face as he soaked in a parade in his honor.

Students marched out of their classrooms and other side doors at the school. Each class lined up with a variety of cards and gifts to present to their principal. There were many smiles accompanied by much applause.

“It’s a little sad, a little bit of closure,” said Kelly White, an education technician at the school at 58 Drummond Ave. “We’re going to miss Mr. Martin. He’s been here as long as I have.”

The parade began with students carrying banners and signs while parade-themed music played from a speaker. Some students and staff members carried maracas or other noisemakers.

One second-grade class wore “Mr. Martin” masks the students had colored. Upon seeing them, Martin laughed and joked, “That guy wants my job!”

Asked whether the event was a surprise before Wednesday morning, a laughing Martin said, “You can’t keep secrets with 6-year-olds.”

Students present Principal Allan Martin with gifts and cards Wednesday morning, including a quilt with notes on it, during his retirement parade at George J. Mitchell School in Waterville. Haley Hersey/Morning Sentinel

The week before the parade, students would approach Martin in the school hallways and say how they will miss him when he retires and how they were going to celebrate. Martin said the students would then shush one another. And when Martin would enter classrooms, students would quickly hide the cards and other presents on which they were working.

Following the parade, Martin summarized his feelings by saying: “Oh my goodness, there are no words to express. Humbling, very humbling.”

Among the gifts the students made for Martin, who this year will conclude his 46th year in education: A quilt with each square decorated, a pillow with handwritten notes, books made by the classes and homemade cards.

Some classes opted to make music with instruments they crafted, while others recited poems or read their predictions for how they thought Martin would spend his retirement years.

Martin said the building will be able to function without him because all at George J. Mitchell School know their roles.

“Waterville Public Schools are very fortunate to have administrators that are so dedicated,” Martin said. “The city is fortunate to have the ability of letting administrators do their jobs. I’ve been blessed to work for a superintendent who lets me do my job with no question. One who takes my opinion into consideration.”

As for his retirement plans, Martin laughed as he said: “My wife has those plans. She wants to travel and we have a camp in Rangeley. We want to spend some time there.”

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