North Dandalup grandparents go back to school

At North Dandalup Primary School running water is no longer pumped from the river, principals aren’t called headmasters and students aren’t punished with a cane.

However, memories from the school’s early days were brought to life on Friday morning during the visit of a group of very special guests: the students’ grandparents.

Students, former school students, teachers, former teachers and family members came together to talk about the school’s history and to celebrate Grandparents Day.

The school held a special assembly with live music performances from the students before former North Dandalup Primary pupils talked about their experience at the school more than fifty years ago.

The guests spoke about the opening of the school 117 years ago with just eight students, and how it grew to accommodate more than 40 students twelve years later.

They also talked about the opening of another set of buildings closer to town, before the school’s first septic tanks were installed in the 60’s.

“It’s fantastic that the kids get to be with their grandparents and show them around their school and their work, that’s an opportunity that you don’t often get so often,” school principal Marie Auvache said.

Reunion: Former North Dandalup Primary School students Keith Towton, Lyn Oselton and Michael Greenup with former school headmaster Len Paganini. Some of the former students hadn't seen each other for more than 50 years. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

Reunion: Former North Dandalup Primary School students Keith Towton, Lyn Oselton and Michael Greenup with former school headmaster Len Paganini. Some of the former students hadn't seen each other for more than 50 years. Photo: Marta Pascual Juanola.

After the presentations, the students guided grandparents and attendees around the school to show them how much things had changed since they were pupils themselves.

Buildings, playgrounds, a veggie patch, a chook enclosure and garden beds now fill the space where forest and bush used to be.

“I’m going back 60 years ago when Len was the headmaster here, they’re some of the fondest days of my life,” former North Dandalup Primary student Michael Greenup said.

“They are in a pristine location and I’m sure any student would want to spend their primary school days here.”

The students also had the opportunity to meet former school headmaster Len Paganini, who left the school 60 years ago to teach in the Wheatbelt town of Wickepin.

“I came and looked around [before] but to have the kids take me around and show me everything they’re doing it’s magnificent,” Mr Paganini said.

“[The school] is completely different, it’s a paradise now, it’s absolutely marvelous what they are doing here.”

Mr Paganini, who worked in education for forty years in different locations across the state said North Dandalup Primary was a unique school and great start in education for the students.

“I don’t know whether there’s another one like this in the state,” the 90-year-old said.

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