AFFIE Karalis can relate to the heartache school boarders feel when they are separated from their families.
The 79-year-old, who has worked at Perth College laundry since 1966, remembers when she was sent away from her family home in Greece to live in Romania during the Greek Civil War.
Mrs Karalis said she was 12 years old at the time and was only able to return seven years later, so she understood how it felt to be homesick.
“From a young age I was a victim of war,” she said. “Being away from home is not easy – these girls are so brave.”
Mrs Karalis is retiring in July after 50 years at the college, but will continue to volunteer at the laundry one day a week so she can spend time with the boarders.
“I want to keep in touch with the girls because I love them and I love the Perth College family,” she said. “I walked in knowing no-one and I’m walking out knowing a world of beautiful people.
“If I could go back, I would do it all the same; I wouldn’t change a thing, if I could keep working I would work for another 50 years.”
Her daughter Eva Karalis is a Year 4 teacher at the college and said it was fabulous to work at the school where her mother had worked for so many years.
“I’ve been here for 29 years,” Ms Karalis said. “My mum is a great role model for my sister and me.
“Who goes on to continue working this long?
“I never remember her having a sick day, which I think is a testament to her love of her job.”