School’s history, but good friendships remain
WHEN Terry Vercoe first started out at South Grafton High School, the 1964 intake were the big, scary kids.
The first group to go through, they had an automatic ruling over the schoolyard, but Mr Vercoe said things had changed and they weren't so intimidating 50 years on.
"They were all the big kids back then, but they all seem to have shrunk now," he said.
Mr Vercoe was among the many who attended the South Grafton High School 50th celebrations at the weekend and it's safe to say he knows his way around the grounds fairly well.
"I was a student there from '68-73 and started teaching there in '93, then was deputy principal in 2010, '11 and '12," he said.
Like a trip down memory lane, Mr Vercoe ran into people he hadn't seen since he was a student.
"As a teacher, I was used to seeing the old class photos and memorabilia, but some people I hadn't seen since our HSC," he said.
"There is something so special about those sorts of things; there were one or two people I hadn't seen in 36 years."
But someone who he had stayed in touch with over the years was his former maths teacher, John Macpherson.
"I taught him at school, then we worked together at the school," former Head of Maths Mr Macpherson said.
"As a student he had a lot to say - so that hasn't changed much." And while Mr Macpherson regularly visits the school, living just a few streets away, he said much had changed physically about the school since he last taught there from 1966-2001.
"It's gone from a school housing 500-600 students, to being able to cope with 1100," he said.
Mr Vercoe is now relieving principal at Junee High School where little pieces of South Grafton keep popping up in the community.
He said the current mayor of Junee, Lola Cummins was in fact part of the '64 intake at South Grafton High and is the longest serving mayor of Junee.
And in town, one of the biggest tourist attractions, the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory, is owned by former South High student Coral Druce, formerly Worthing. "We often run into each other in the street, which is strange, seeing as we all came from South Grafton High School," Mr Vercoe said.