50th Anniversary Celebrations for Hillpark Secondary School

50th Anniversary Celebrations for Hillpark Secondary School

A SOUTH side secondary school is taking a trip back in time to celebrate its iconic 50th anniversary.

Hillpark Secondary School has invited former staff and pupils alike back to the Cairngorm Drive premises to reminisce about the past five decades.

Head teacher Geri Collins, who joined the school almost two years ago, will lead the celebrations with a presentation looking back at the “one of a kind” school.

She told the Evening Times: “I love the international feel to the school now. It’s such a culturally diverse school and the young people embrace it and I just felt that right away.

“It’s a real challenge. It’s been a great challenge. I have really loved every minute of it.

“The staff are incredible, the amount of work they do over and above their day job is unreal.”

And they’re already making plans to make the next 50 years the best yet, with a new 4G pitch and preparations underway for the inevitable increase in its roll, which the school are anticipating due to the new homes being built nearby.

The group of third year pupils in charge with conducting the tour for former Hillpark students at the June 2 event.

The youngsters will be guiding former pupils around the school and selling memorabilia, in the form of keyrings and mugs, in order to raise an additional £800 required to make their £15,000 fundraising milestone for Mary’s Meals, just one of the charity initiatives the school is involved in.

“There are so many good things about the school,” one guide told the Evening Times

“When I leave I’ll miss being able to just go to pastoral care, they’re always there to hear about our problems. I’ll miss the support.”

The school opened its doors in December 1967 and a black-and-white photo of the day hanging in Geri’s office, left behind by the head teacher before her and possibly the head teacher before her, inspired her to commemorate the special birthday.

An in-school celebration was held in December, where staff and pupils dressed as each of the five decades the school has now lives through – 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s – and celebrated the multicultural place of acceptance it’s become.

Pupils took it in turns to read out famous quotes by activist Malala Youzafzai in 32 languages, each of which is spoken by a pupil at the school.

It is this multiculturalism, coupled with the unique challenge of pupils belonging to both sides of the deprivation divide which drew Geri to the school and it’s what has made sure she’ll stick around – perhaps, she jokes, until the school’s next milestone, it’s 75th anniversary.

Geri added: “At Hillpark, you’ve got the vulnerable people and you’ve got the high flyers, such as the two pupils who went to Oxford last year, so you’re constantly adapting your approach. That’s what makes it so interesting.

“It’s a cracking school, an absolutely brilliant school. There’s no reason why we can’t continue for the next 50 years.

“I plan to be here for the long haul. I have years before I can retire and I have no plans to go anywhere.

“I think we’ll go from strength to strength. It’s a fantastic school.”

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Source: The Evening Times

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