Blue Mountains, NSW: Springwood High School 50th anniversary reunion
The first intake of Springwood High School students in 1967
By Ellen Hill for Springwood High School P&C
Reminisce over the detention books, catch up on who married whom, what happened to such-and-such and where the maths whiz ended up when Springwood High School celebrates its 50th anniversary on December 8-9.
Students past and present have been invited to a function in the school hall on the evening of Friday, December 8, where childhood friends and schoolyard foes can cram into the souvenir photo booth, pore over the commemorative booklet, pick out faces from the photo montage and memorabilia displayed while the school’s current hospitality students serve light refreshments.
Then, on Saturday, December 9, the school will hold an open day from 10am to 2pm, during which visitors can explore classrooms and sit in on modern lessons to experience how school and teaching has changed during the past 50 years.
There will be cooking displays, the archives will be open and the canteen will sell refreshments, while a jumping castle and slushy machines will operate for children.
Built in 1967 to relieve overcrowding at Katoomba and Nepean High schools, Springwood High School’s original six building plan was constructed in three stages at a cost of $1.2 million.
The first classes for the 124 students and nine teachers under principal Mr H. Watkin-Smith were held at Penrith on February 1, 1967. Lessons continued there until the new Springwood High School was ready for occupation that September.
The school’s population swelled to more than 1600 students before Blaxland High School opened in 1977.
Springwood High School alumni includes actress and singer Amie McKenna, former Australian cricket fast bowler Nathan Bracken who opened the new cricket nets in 2009, Pacific Magazines home and food magazines general manager and former House Rules judge Wendy Moore, award-winning photographer David Darcy and ABC Open North Coast producer Catherine Marciniak (new Ragen).
A Springwood High School student from 1978 to 1981, Edward Versteeg was one of the first students with a physical disability (congenital spina bifida) in Australia to be integrated into mainstream schooling.
Reunion organizer Belinda Collings said: “The weekend will be a wonderful opportunity for ex-students to `walk down memory lane’ and for current students to be inspired by those who have gone before them. Who knows who you’ll bump into.
“With so many new residents moving into the area, the open day will also be a good chance to visit the school, see what facilities it offers, chat with some teachers and see how the school is part of our community.’’
School principal Dr Mark Howie said: “Springwood High School has yielded a professional Australian cricketer, a Disney cartoonist, a singer, an army major, a magazine editor and an award-winning photographer, to name just a few high profile professions.
“Our classrooms have also nurtured numerous plumbers, academics, teachers, nurses, barristers, policemen, retailers, chefs and everything in between.
“Many of our current crop of students are children of former students and several of our teachers were inspired to teach from these classrooms.’’
SHS had a proud history of academic excellence along with creative and performing arts success, and its combined senior curriculum with concentrated studies was a noteworthy feature of the school, Dr Howie said.
Ms Collings encouraged visitors to stay in the Blue Mountains for at least one night to fully immerse themselves in the event and give themselves time to reconnect with old friends. Go to bluemountainscitytourism.com.au for accommodation and dining options in the area.
The Springwood High School 50th anniversary function will be held at the school, Grose Rd, Faulconbridge, from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Friday, December 8. Tickets: $20 adults over 16 years, $15 pensioners include souvenir photo, commemorative booklet, light refreshments and entertainment. Bookings: click HERE or phone Springwood High School office on (02) 4751 2111.
Celebrations will continue at the school throughout Saturday, December 9. Cost: free. Details: Facebook.
Springwood High School staff in 1970