A Catholic school principal and member of the Immaculate Heart Community, a lay organization, will retire after more than half a century of working to serve young women in education.

Virginia Hurst, the principal at Immaculate Heart High School for the last 19 years, recently announced her decision to retire in June. Her decision was met with an outpouring of well-wishes from the many women whose lives were shaped and supported by her leadership.

“No one can claim a greater commitment to the education of young women at Immaculate Heart High School than Virginia,” said Ruth Anne Murray, school chairperson. “She has been a loving, sensitive, competent teacher and principal, who has been deeply revered by her students, her fellow teachers, administrators and trustees. We will miss her very much.”

Hurst is also an alumnus of Immaculate Heart, where she graduated in 1954. Although she worked as a principal for many years, she says she still misses the classroom. “There’s something so exciting and stimulating about sharing ideas with students,” she says. “It’s so rewarding to see the growth of your students.”

She began as an English teacher, before becoming an assistant principal in 1985. She was named principal in 1996.

Hurst said she leaves the school knowing that the students are in good hands. “There are so many dedicated people here on campus, who will carry on the school’s great traditions and mission, and our board is strongly committed to Immaculate Heart’s identity as a Catholic school.”