Pupils old and new unite for St Gerard's Primary's 90th celebrations

By Michael Upton | 03/12/2018

Pupils old and new unite for St Gerard's Primary's 90th celebrations
Father and daughter John O’Melia and daughter Catherine - both ex-pupils

A SCHOOL turned back the clock to the sepia-tinged 1920s to mark a milestone birthday.

Children from St Gerard’s Primary in Thrybergh dressed up in period clothing and took part in a grand reopening ceremony as the school turned 90.

And there was a welcome return for some former pupils, many of whose descendants followed in their footsteps.

Among them were Joe Gurran and John O’Melia, both pupils in the 1950’s who came face-to-face with chalk graffiti they had written in the school cellars over 60 years ago.

Grandfather Joe was accompanied by his son Cristian, who is himself a school governor at St. Gerard’s, as well as being a 1980s pupil, and his grandson, Liam, who is currently in Year 6.

It didn’t take long before Liam had his hands on the old cane and was dishing out “six of the best” for his grandfather’s cheeky wall scrawl from 1960. 

John O’Melia and daughter Catherine (both ex-pupils) were amazed to discover his own surviving chalk marks from January 1955, and it fell to current teacher John Drury to dish out the overdue punishment on behalf of 1950s head teacher, Mr Conroy, who retired in 1962.

“They’re not the only ones to leave their mark,” said Mr. Drury. “There's a whole list of names from the 1950s and 60s under school as it seems that many pupils found themselves in the cellars over the years.

"That’s the great thing about being in the same building for 90 years is these wonderful historical artefacts keep coming to light.”

The celebrations also included a St Gerard’s mini-museum featuring old photos, school uniform and equipment from over the years.

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