Inner city school marks 125 years
It's hard to imagine a time when Auckland's inner city streets were filled with little children playing during "rush hour".
But Lucy Foster, nee Pell, remembers it just as vividly as the sting of the smack across the hand for having unclean nails or wearing incorrect uniform as a young girl at Napier St School.
The 70-year-old former pupil will join fellow past students and members of staff at what is now Freemans Bay School for its 125th jubilee today and tomorrow.
The school opened in 1888.
Ms Foster was born and bred in Cook St and attended the school from 1948 to 1954.
"They are the best memories of my life and the best people I ever lived with.
"It is said you can take the girl out of the Bay, but you will never take the Bay out of the girl."
Many of the school's students came from the cheek-by-jowl cottages in the area bounded by Nelson, Wellesley, Union and Wellington streets, densely populated by the city's working class.
Most of the small homes were demolished long ago, making way for the urban reclamation of the city in the 1950s and 60s.
It was a time when neighbours were friends and doors were always open, Ms Foster says.
Playground fun revolved around games of spinning top, knuckle bones and marbles.
In its 125 years the school population has continued to show Auckland's changing demographic, with a roll reflecting the area's cultural diversity.
"All nations got along really well, we were all treated the same," Ms Foster says.
"The teaching was very thorough and all of the children respected their teachers. I feel my time there has shaped who I am today."
Freemans Bay School principal Sandra Jenkins says the celebrations are a time to acknowledge the vision and work of those involved with the school in the past and present.
"We are very fortunate to have a rich history of great leadership and supportive communities.
"It is a privilege for me to play a small part in Freemans Bay School's journey as it continues to forge an exciting future."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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