Be­yond a cen­tury for Lich­field School

South Waikato News - - Out And About - LUKE KIRKEBY

There are mile­stones and then there are 132 year mile­stones which is ex­actly what Lich­field School in the South Waikato has just cel­e­brated.

Stu­dents and school staff gath­ered re­cently at the small coun­try school which opened in 1884 15km north of Toko­roa in Lich­field Rd to mark the school’s sig­nif­i­cant birth­day.

A spe­cial cake was made and shared with ev­ery­one and care­taker and elder states­man Arie Ples­sius had the hon­our of cut­ting it.

Prin­ci­pal Tony Bid­dick said the day meant a lot to the school which is the old­est in the district.

‘‘It is re­ally im­por­tant to cel­e­brate the history of the school and to trea­sure that history be­cause some­times we do lose some of those im­por­tant things,’’ he said.

He said the school had set up a spe­cial gar­den to hon­our its past which they planned to con­tinue con­tribut­ing to­wards.

‘‘We have a me­mo­rial wall at the en­trance which we put in place in 2014. The school’s orig­i­nal plaque sits there, the cen­te­nary stone sits there and the names of any­one that dies also go on there be­cause it is im­por­tant to value our history,’’ he said.

Bid­dick put the school’s longevity down to the sup­port­ive com­mu­nity.

‘‘We go to year six and have 80 stu­dents and four classes. Most of our stu­dents come from the Lich­field area but we do have some that come from Pu­taruru as well,’’ he said.

‘‘The big­gest thing has been the sup­port­ive com­mu­nity. We are a well re­sourced and sup­ported school and it will con­tinue in the fu­ture.’’

He said it was en­cour­ag­ing to see dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies com­ing through.

‘‘We have lots of gen­er­a­tions com­ing through and there are even third and fourth gen­er­a­tion chil­dren. It is quite amaz­ing when you find out these sorts of things,’’ he said.

‘‘I was speak­ing to one mum this morn­ing who was tak­ing her child some­where so I said I would save them a piece of the cake and she said ‘‘me too’’ be­cause she had come here as well. I said all right, not a prob­lem, ‘‘ he laughed.

Bid­dick said the school de­cided to kept things sim­ple for the 132 year birth­day.

‘‘Hav­ing the cake is mostly it but when we have a re­ally big birth­day we will make a huge fuss,’’ he said.

PHOTO: LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Lich­field School care­taker and elder states­man Arie Ples­sius cuts the birth­day cake mark­ing the school’s 132 years.

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