TRIP THROUGH TIME: Top right, children enter school in 1969; clockwise right, an aerial shot of the school in 1988, courtesy of Ed Tonks; note the lack of multi-purpose facility which was opened in 1997 and visible in the aerial photo, left, of the school in 2018.Long-serving Kotara High School staff members Joanne Newton and Sharron Campbell reflect on their time at KHS. POPULAR FIGURES: Office member Sharron Campbell and English teach Joanne Newman.
Joanne Newton has been a classroom teacher at KHS since 1976 teaching English, (at all levels), Ancient History and Modern History, and junior classes in these subjects.
“I have done two stints as a Year Adviser, (12 years),” she said.
“You meet the incoming students when they are in Year 6, introduce them to high school life, watch them grow and then see them leave, usually in Year 12, when they have completed their studies and are ready to move into a new phase of life.
“I have also spent quite a few years as the Girls’ Adviser. These latter roles allow you to see the individuals beyond the class situation.”
Jo’s first impressions of KHS back in 1976 were not misleading at all.
“I walked into a school I had never seen before but was impressed that it was near a large shopping precinct, a fact over which I and my close colleagues continue to be enthusiastic,” she quipped.
“Several students willingly escorted me to the main office. This helpfulness and friendliness has not changed.”
Jo says the school site was as it is now, apart from the construction of the Multi Purpose Centre and the new Administration Block, which borders Lexington Parade.
How long did she expect to stay?
“Well this has become a classic joke,” she said.“Ihoped to win Lotto, still do. Still waiting, therefore still teaching. I think all teachers have such dreams, and we are allowed to have them.”
When asked about major changes she has seen, Jo is quick to identify technology.
“Wi-Fi connectivity has been excellent,” she said.“Students and teachers have at their fingertips a wealth of ideas and information in real time.We can also inter-connect with each other, pose ideas, ask questions and stay in touch beyond school time. The installation of inter active white boards have been great too.
“School uniforms, have become far more comfortable and sensible.”
The building of the Multi-Purpose Centre was a real step forward.
“Try holding school dances and other special events and assemblies in the main quad or school canteen!!!” she declared.
She also mentions the erection of a fence around the school perimeter as marking a point in time when society changes and schools change with it.
Jo is proud of theacademic, creative and sporting successes of KHS students and the way parents and the local communities support the school, its achievements and needs.
“We have had ex students compete in both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, professional sports, they have become musicians and composers in a wide range of genres, actors, artists, and a large number have also gone on to higher university studies: doctorates, honours, PHD’s, lecturing, teaching. she observed.
“All areas of the world have been infiltrated by KHS students.”
Looking back over the journey, Jo has enjoyed the ride and the experiences that have come with it.
“No two days are the same and all classes and the students have something to offer themselves, each other and the teacher,” she said.