As Tokoroa High School might just hold the record for the most past students now working as staff,
The school is preparing to celebrate its 60th Jubilee and one piece of history really stands out – about 20 of its current staff are past students.
Principal William Ford [the school’s ninth principal] attended the school from 1969 to 1971.
While the Ministry of Education does not keep records to determine if it’s an official New Zealand record Ford, who has been principal since 2010, said it was a special thing having so many past students returning.
“It’s a place where they have enjoyed the experience of being students and now they want to give back,” he said.
“They bring two things. One thing is a greater understanding of the students here as they have been students here themselves and the other is having high expectations of the students as they know what it’s like to overcome barriers if there are any.”
Geography and social studies teacher Dean Tereu, who was also a past student, said often people are surprised by the high number of past students working at the school.
“It’s a unique thing and we have had accolades from the Ministry of Education and the minister,” he said.
“Every year we get a couple more returning, it just keeps growing.”
New Zealand Principals’ Federation president Whetu Cormick was shocked by the high number.
“Wow what an achievement. There is great community spirit in the Tokoroa area and that is reflected in the teachers who went there and have decided to stay within their own community,” he said.
Ford said he was looking forward to welcoming back more past students during the school’s 60th jubilee celebrations which will be held for three days over Labour Weekend.
“I remember in 2007 when we held the 50th all these memories floating back. I remember seeing Tom Ryan who was the principal when I was at school and I thought man it must have been special for him,” he said.
“As a former student, and now principal, of this wonderful school it gives me enormous pride to know that when all these ex Tokoroa High students come back home for our jubilee they will be filled with pride of how the school is performing in 2017.”
Tereu, who has taught at the school for 21 years, said they are expecting over 700.
“It’s going to be a big thing for the community,” he said.
The three-day celebration begins on the Friday evening with a meet and greet evening in the school’s refurbished hall, a full day of sporting events, decade photos, school open day, special assembly, and a formal function at the Tokoroa Club on Saturday, and concludes on Sunday at the school with an inter-denominational church service, morning tea, and farewells.
Roger Sommerville, who was principal from 1994 to 2002, said over 17,000 people have been part of the Tokoroa High School family over the years.
“It is, and always will be, a special place for so many people,” he said.
To register visit the school’s website or phone 07 886 6109.