Dorothy's keeping up with the 'kids'

19:07, Nov 13 2012

Former Fitzroy School teacher Dorothy Foster still won't let her pupils get one up on her, even though she's now 96.

Ex-pupil Anne Hamblyn organised a reunion of Mrs Foster's past students from the 1950s at Sporty's Cafe Bar yesterday.

"One of the boys said, 'Gosh I thought you'd be dead years ago'," Mrs Foster said.

"I said, 'No, I'm living to an old age so I can keep an eye on you boys'."

This year is the school's 130th birthday.

"At the 125 years I said we'll try and get as many people together in five years because we don't know who will still be around," Mrs Hamblyn said.


There were 30 ex-pupils in attendance, with another reunion taking place at Fitzroy School today for the other 30 who couldn't make it, she said.

Mrs Hamblyn was delighted with the turn out - particularly the high male quota.

"I'm pleased to see so many of the boys. We had up to 50 children in a class back then, so it's good to see."

Mrs Foster remembered "Friendly Fitzroy", where everybody knew everybody else.

"The main thing I remember is that everybody was really happy."

Mrs Hamblyn said Mrs Foster did not appear to be slowing down with age, even managing to outlive some of her pupils.

"I have a list of 18 pupils that have since passed away - she's outlived us.

"I thought she was old back then, but she's still going."

Past pupils shared memories of a caring teacher who was a great role model. "She had a lot of understanding of our home lives. She was one of the best ones," Ray Lyes said.

Mrs Hamblyn said Mrs Foster had her own means of keeping the kids in line.

"We were all scared of her."

However, Mr Lyes said it didn't take much to crack Mrs Foster's strict demeanour.

"She tried to be [strict] but we made her laugh too much."

Mrs Foster started teaching at Fitzroy School in 1950 after returning from a teaching exchange in England.

She still lives in New Plymouth.

Taranaki Daily News