The James Nash footy team back in the day.
The James Nash footy team back in the day.

James Nash State High School Reunion

WE ALL have memories of our school days.
The social hierarchy, the teachers we love (or not), the extra curricula sport and every so often we reflect on our early teenage years.
For the foundation students at James Nash our school experience was a little different.
 With around 100 classmates we started school with just three permanent classrooms built in the late 70's open barn style.
 This included a science lab /art room along with two demountables for home economics and manual arts.
No tuckshop, no school uniforms, no sporting fields; just a large expanse of dirt shaded with a few gums.
 For sport most of us walked to Gympie West, some to the squash courts on Pine Street and for some, our mums took us across to the basketball courts near One Mile.
I guess it's not unexpected that sometimes the messages got mixed and a few of us once sat waiting at the courts for the teacher to show, who never did, not sure why.
This provided the opportunity for smoking the cigarettes someone carefully hid in their pocket.
Smoking was perhaps a common activity on sport day, how else did the paddock behind the school get burnt at the same time the Nash students were walking to sport?
This flush of memories is of course not designed to discredit our teachers who were also a very small cohort and did a fantastic job covering off on the sporting requirement.
 I think Mr Bland was away the day they delegated sporting jobs in second term as he had landed netball, having never played it and, I suspect, never seen a game.
To his credit Mr Bland gave it his all, as he always did, got the rules, gave us the drills, took us to the nearby courts, which were basketball courts, so he drew on the netball goal circle and marked the court with chalk all the while agreeing it wasn't ideal but let's make do.
However, it's not his netball skills that I remember and admire Mr Bland for - it was his passion for teaching and his genuine concern and interest in our learning and ambitions.
 I'm not sure I recognised this at the age of 12 but in retrospect the teachers at Nash were truly a great bunch.
Miss Furlong made us all artists, Mr Jewell the ever patient maths teacher and I am sure some loved French with Mrs Brown.
Certainly her enthusiasm for French onion soup on Bastille day somehow has stayed with us - perhaps it was the clogged sinks.
Some thought we had escaped Mr Kernick once we left Gympie Central; although, many of us were very happy to see him in the English classroom in high school.
 We lived in the day when the cane was used, sparingly I'm sure but it did instill some sort of fear.
Yet our feelings of shying from the sternness Mrs Thew soon turned to appreciating her compassion and warmth.
Mrs McKenna did a great job with science and Mrs Webster with Home Ec.
 It was a new era in 1977 when girls and boys did both Home Ec and Manual Arts.
 I'm sure Mr Cook saw a lot of cake tins that year where the edges didn't meet and some burnt hair from the solder iron oven - there is only so much a teacher can do.
 Of course we must mention Mr Reid, the outdoor parades, his willingness to step in and be an art teacher and mostly we appreciated that he found us a new art teacher.
So now fellow students, its many years on and I will cease my verbal diarrhoea.
 Those students who started in 1977 are all 50 and the others closely behind.
Let's get together and share some memories and catch up on what we have all been doing for the last 30 + years.
The reunion date is: Saturday, October 24, 2015.
School tour at 4pm and then cocktail function at a local hotel.
The cost is $35 per head, partners welcome, payment required beforehand.
We will provide all details on request at: jamesnashthefirstfiveyears@gmail.com or find us on Facebook: James Nash Reunion. Organising committee: Paul Brown, Debbie Green, Vicki Paradine and Karen Vieritz, foundation students, 1977 (all non-smokers).