Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sepia Saturday..the Big School

Last week on Sepia Saturday I told you about the little school,
Matakawau first school for six months.

Today I want to show you
"The Big School"
the six little schools around the peninsula closed down
and the brand new district school opened.

This is where the rest of my schooling took place.
Click on the photo to see more detail.
This is in the village of Matakawau, Awhitu Peninsula, NZ.

(Note on the right, the tiny prefabricated building that was our high school,
opened the year my class and I were old enough to go to high school, aged thirteen.
We had one teacher, Mr Aspinall,and his wife who endeavoured without much success,
to teach me math.
Big brother Richie did his secondary schooling by correspondence, because our parents could not afford to send him to boarding school and there was no high school for him to attend.)

This is a photo of all the pupils
the day  the school opened.
I was in the junior class,aged five
and brother Richie aged 12 was in the senior class.

After the little school, this school seemed so modern and spacious and airy.
Look at the wide open windows compared to the inaccessible high windows of the little school.

The three teachers are standing in the middle row.
Miss Elizabeth Johnson, is on the left. She taught us primers.
How wonderful to have our own lovely teacher, young and full of enthusiasm.

Mr Galbraith, The Headmaster, standing in the centre,
taught my brother and the other seniors.
Miss Cooper, on the right, taught the middle school.

Notice too how many children have bare feet. I think that is a real kiwi thing.
It had nothing to do with wealth or poverty.
Probably more to do with a mild climate and free spirit.
My family was not wealthy  and I am impressed
how our mother always managed to have us dressed nicely.

Awhitu was a happy school and a good place to be, as I remember it.

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  1. I had a Miss Cooper teacher, too. She taught us English in Junior High (a separate school for grades 6, 7, and 8). She was such a lovely lady.

    I loved the glimpse into your school days, Joan. Your brother looks so serious in that photo! And you've got the sweetest expression! I'm surprised that in a large group shot like that there wasn't anyone doing anything silly!

  2. What a great post, Joan. Kids going barefoot, just as it should be. And the headmaster's house looks larger than the high school. Fascinating to see how and where you and others were going through the education process.

  3. How wonderful to be able to go barefoot to school. I always went barefoot most of the summer in Florida.

  4. I like the idea of going barefoot too. It sounds like such a warm and friendly schooling experience. The smaller school was perhaps more charming, but the larger one does seem brighter an airier.

  5. I used to go barefoot every summer, but never during the school year. There were days in the fall and spring that were warm enough, but bare feet in school just weren't allowed. I can imagine how wonderful the big new school seemed to a very young girl (or boy).

  6. What an experience. I notice your photo there are swimming baths. Did you school have pool or were you close to the ocean?

  7. That must have been so exciting to have that big new school and a bunch of new friends. But did you ever miss your "little" school?

  8. I loved your post last week about your little school (and the previous one with photos of the cherry trees) but I can see that this school, with it's huge windows and light-filled rooms, would be so much better. But was it hard not to want to look out the windows all the time? (I would have trouble staying focused, I think.) I enjoy learning about your life in NZ. It makes me want to travel there and see it for myself.

  9. Thank everyone for calling and for great responses.
    Kristy.. we had a swimming pool there (swimming baths) and that is where i learnt to swim. The school was only a couple of miles from the harbour beaches.

  10. Yes! You All Look A Happy & Healthy Crew.

  11. What a fantastic school campus for all ages. It seems to me that it was a wonderful place to go to learn and grow in. I have enjoyed seeing your schools, Joan. Thank you.

  12. oh!! to go barefoot!! that would be heaven for me!! funny how time lends a romantic quality to days passed. those who went barefoot back then probably grumbled against it...

  13. What a lovely post. I know it is the kind of phrase we often over use, but (and I mean it) I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

  14. I went barefoot most of my summers on the farm and I think that winter stopped that or I would have been glad to go to school without any shoes. Great blog from NZ.