SWANSEA High is celebrating its 50th anniversary by inviting former students to record their life stories for a time capsule to be buried at the school.
Principal Robyn Leggatt said the half a century milestone was an opportunity to bring the community together to reflect on traditions, successes and achievements.
‘‘I wanted to celebrate it because there are still lot of ex students who live in the community and I would love to reconnect them to the school in whatever way is positive for them,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re hoping to expand our Friends of Swansea High group with former students whose experiences could support the school through mentoring, work experience opportunities, as guest speakers, learning support, or simply as role models of what could be achieved.’’
The school – located at Caves Beach – has invited former students to a celebration assembly on November 14, to be followed by guided tours.
The guests are invited to visit the Friends of Swansea High cafe and an on-site memory booth to record their stories, which will be transcribed and buried with student work and photographs in a time capsule to be opened at the 75th anniversary.
The school grounds will also be open on November 15 for former students and their families to enjoy a picnic lunch from 11am to 3pm and visit the Swansea Historical Society exhibition in the library.
Ms Leggatt said she hoped returning students would recall what they loved about the school.
‘‘The core values are respect, responsibility and readiness to learn,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s still a very friendly school with strong academic outcomes and a real sense of community, with positive partnerships between students, family, community and school.’’
Swansea High alumni include District Court judge Helen Wilson SC, who was last month appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of NSW, media personality Tony Squires and former Newcastle Knight Josh Perry.
Science teacher Graham Hendry attended between 1969 and 1974, before completing three years of teacher training at Newcastle College of Advanced Education.
He was posted to Quirindi, Toronto, Girraween and Maitland before returning to Swansea in 1989.
‘‘It was brilliant, when I walked in I felt like I had never left the place,’’ he said.
Physical education teacher Lauren Anderson joined Swansea in 2000 and was educated alongside peers bound for the under-construction Lake Munmorah High the following year.
‘‘I had been one of less than 100 students at Blacksmiths Primary, so it was a huge shock when I was one of about 300 students in year 7 at Swansea,’’ she said.
Ms Anderson was so inspired by her year 11 and 12 physical education teacher Kerry Spicer-Worth that she enrolled in a bachelor of teaching/bachelor of health and physical education degree with honours at the University of Newcastle.
She returned to Swansea for her internship and third year practical, and is now permanent.
‘‘The kids here are caring and mindful of helping each other out, which continues to make it a wonderful place to work.’’