MEMORIES: Organisers of the reunion of the Gympie High cohort of 1974-78 (from left) Margaret Burkhardt, Kim Kennedy and Joanne Hartland.
MEMORIES: Organisers of the reunion of the Gympie High cohort of 1974-78 (from left) Margaret Burkhardt, Kim Kennedy and Joanne Hartland.

GALLERY: Gympie students go back to school after 40 years

THE Gympie State High School cohort of students from 1974-1978 has gathered for its 40-year reunion.

Over the past two years, the organising committee of Margaret Burkhardt, Kim Kennedy (nee Dean) and Joanne Hartland - dubbed the Three Amigos - located more than 300 classmates and teachers from across Australia and internationally.

"I was predominantly the 'hunter', Margaret the 'technology recorder and collator' and Joanne was the 'financier and sounding board',” Ms Kennedy said.

"We managed to locate over 300 past students who began high school together in 1974 and left between 1976-1978, and 29 past teachers.

"It has certainly been worth the many months of work.”

Ms Burkhardt said Dr Shauna Petersen (Shepherd) helped with communications, edited newspaper releases, sourced memorabilia, and helped set up on the day, along with Neta Thouard (Catling).

The weekend of celebrations began on the Friday night with 65 early-bird arrivals gathering at the Phoenix Hotel.

Ms Hartland said: "That's when the smiles and laughter commenced.

"With a relaxed get-together, the conversations about experiences flowed noisily. The tone was set for the weekend.”

Saturday evening at Gunabul Homestead was the main event with about 200 past students and some teachers attending from both locally and further afield, including China, the US, Perth, Adelaide and the Blue Mountains.

Past student Phil Hyam was MC for the evening and speakers included former deputy principal John Rees, former teacher Gary Butner and 1978 school captains Robyn Morrison and Malcolm Swann.

Past student Sheryl Anderson collated a rolling PowerPoint presentation of photographs from past students.

"It also featured cultural relics that had people reminiscing throughout the night,” Ms Anderson said.

As well as a DJ, a highlight of the night was the jam session with The Gymps, a group formed on the night comprising past teacher Rita O'Neil and past students Joe Joyce, Garry Green, Michael Smith, Phil Hyam and Chris Youngs.

Sunday's walk around Gympie State High School grounds was enjoyed by 60 past students with current principal Anthony Lanskey and recently retired assistant librarian Robyn Cook leading the tour.

Ms Burkhardt said: "It was quite a trip down memory lane as we relived classes, school plays, student radio stations, sports victories and losses, dances and a few naughty misdemeanours.

"Everyone revelled in the changes and the places where time had stood still.”

Ms Kennedy said feedback since the event had been extremely gratifying.

"Demand was high to ensure that the connections stay strong by continuing this inaugural event at Gunabul,” she said.

"Next year's event will be Saturday, August 3. Information will become available closer to the event.”

- CONTRIBUTED

Gympie Times


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