Reunited to celebrate century
When Margaret TredinnickStewart was a boarder at Monte Cecilia School in the early 1950s it was her job to polish the paving stones at the front of the house every Saturday morning.
Siblings Joy Lawrence and Pam Weir remember there was to be no talking at all after bed time.
‘‘The nuns would hold their rosary beads still while they walked up stairs so you couldn’t hear them coming. Once they were at the top they’d drop them and you’d jump,’’ Mrs Weir says.
The siblings were reunited with their classmate at the school’s 100th jubilee celebrations this week.
Mrs Tredinnick-Stewart didn’t recognise her old friends at first.
‘‘I had to go up and say ‘who are you’? But I wasn’t coming all the way from Tauranga for nothing,’’ she says.
Mrs Lawrence and Mrs Weir were brought up in Huntly, but in 1953 their mother died.
‘‘Dad had no choice but to move us up here and put us in boarding school,’’ Mrs Weir says.
Despite the strict rules all three women have fond memories of their time at the Hillsborough Rd school and living in what is now the Pah Homestead.
The house has been a family home, an orphanage, and a boys boarding school since its beginnings in the 1870s.
The Sisters of Mercy bought it on August 26, 1913 and named it Monte Cecilia after Mother Cecilia Maher who was the original leader of the sisters in New Zealand.
It became a co-educational primary school in 1952.
In 2016 the school will re- open on a St John Vianney Church property further along Hillsborough Rd.
In 2010 the Auckland City Council purchased the school land from the Catholic Dio- cese of Auckland so it could expand the park space around the Pah Homestead.
The sale and the resulting need to relocate the school was the subject of a years long battle between the school community and the council.
Earthworks have started at the new site and principal Michelle Mill says the school has accepted the move.
‘‘It’s a state of the school,’’ she says.
‘‘We’ll be sad
say goodbye to the current site, but actually we’re really excited now. Our mercy will carry on in the new school.’’
Fears that the move would affect the roll haven’t been as bad as some had expected, Mrs Mill says.
‘‘The roll has been lower than it should have been, but it is growing.’’
The school celebrated its centenary by inviting old students and staff back on Monday for mass and a lunch on the deck of the homestead.
Reunited: From left: Siblings Pam Weir and Joy Lawrence meet their classmate Margaret Tredinnick-Stewart again for the first time in almost 50 years at the Monte Cecilia School’s centenary celebrations.
Old faces: Girls boarding at Monte Cecilia School in 1954.