High school memories rushing back at reunion

HIGH School reunions can turn adults into giggling teens again as memories of former crushes, cheeky encounters with teachers and old friendship groups come rushing back.

Gladstone High School's 40th reunion celebration on Saturday night at the bowls club was no exception.

The tendency to fall back into old habits was shown by the excessive "shhhs" during public announcements and "teen-like" behaviour as the former students let the past come flooding back.

With hits from the 70s blasting through the speakers, the mood was set before the night had barely kicked off. A few "house keeping" items listed by newly appointed Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor warned the 140 party goers that the bowling green was no place to urinate.

"To those of you who want to rekindle some old romances, the bowling green is strictly off limits," he said while reminding people there were plenty of toilets available - although they too weren't to be used for romantic purposes.

"To those of you who smoke, there are smoking areas outside. Those who are 'non-normal' smokers - that smoking area is 200m east of Eden St," he added, to an uproar of laughter.

After 40 years, it can be hard to even recognise some of the old faces as former students Leanne Bush, neé Holzberger, and Susan Stapleton, neé Newsome, soon found out.

"If it weren't for name badges I could be at any event in the world," Susan said.

"The only reason we recognised each other is because we've seen each other since school working in Emerald."

Susan and Leanne agreed leaving school was not a sad moment in their lives and the main reason they returned for the 40th reunion was because curiosity got the better of them.

The reunion April 30.
The reunion April 30. Paul Braven

"The best memory for us was the final day when we left. We couldn't wait to finish school and go on to bigger and better things," Susan said.

For organiser Christine Heisner, seeing her former classmates as an adult meant some of the barriers of high school melted away with group labels of "popular" and "jock" no longer relevant.

Although, she admitted meeting the wife of her primary school boyfriend was still a mildly awkward encounter.

"What has surprised me is that many of the people still living locally haven't shown up," Christine said.

"Which is interesting considering we've had people travel from places like Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia to be here tonight.

"Listening to the music of the era really does bring back all those memories and feelings you had in high school. It takes you back to 1976 and for a moment you think you're 16 or 17 again."

The Gladstone State High School 40th Reunion, including students from Chanel College, 1976 through to 1978 was held at the Gladstone Bowls Club on Saturday, April 30.

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