After two years of intense planning, the Hillcrest High School 50th Reunion Weekend is now behind us. And what a successful weekend it was. Bringing together Alumni and ex Staff some of whom hadn’t seen each other since they left school. In particular the representation from Foundation pupils was very strong and it was interesting to see how much the school had changed over the years through their eyes. They were particularly impressed by the Senior Student Leaders and the volunteers team in their smart uniforms, quite unlike the various hideous brown iterations of uniform from their time. We were also reminded of guest speaker Joanna Paul at the dinner of the brown “bloomers” that had to be worn for PE. A more unflattering garment one could not imagine.
The events covered everything from sports games (no injuries we hope), tours of the school, to the luncheon, to the cocktail flashback and memorial dedication to Glenn Buckland, an ILC Barbeque and finally culminated in the Gala Dinner at Claudelands. Pre performances from the Pasifika Group and Scat Choir in the foyer were very well received.
At the dinner, hosted by Alumni Jesse Mulligan, we had the opportunity to hear from some of our successful students from various decades. They talked about the school as it was then and what had made a real difference for them as they started their journey out into the wide world. Often it was wise words, sometimes a teacher they could really connect with who inspired them. The diversity that they represented and the range of careers or professions that they have contributed to was extraordinary.
Special thanks to Andrew Smith, Paula Penfold, Joanna Paul, Anjum Rahman, Vea Mafileo, Adam Whauwhau, Richard Hart, Jessie Smith Aand Wesley and Freddy Wu who shared with us.
After dinner the house rocked to the 7 piece Halo Band at least half of whom were Hillcrest Alumni (Kristin and Campbell Hapi and Seb Lloyd). It was hard to keep sitting down and not dance, they finished what was a very joyous occasions.
Thanks to the Reunion Committee who organised the event and in particular Brian Winter who wrote “Over the Hill” the History of the School and Patricia Bowell a professional events organiser now living in Christchurch, who gave us the detail and expertise that we needed in managing the events.
Our photographic team of students have recorded the vent for us and we will be posting these photos as they come through.
We now have time to think about the future of the Alumni Association. We have had the opportunity to see how important it is in the fabric of the school to keep students connected to and be proud of where they spent their formative teenage years.
As teachers we spend a great of our time focusing on the future out of necessity, however it is also important to ensure that the past is equally relevant and valid as well in the community that is Hillcrest High School.
- Susan Radford