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A Brief History: by Geoff Jope

Maroochydore State High School started with its first intake of Years 8 and 9 students in January of 1964. This was the first year that Year 8 was not taught in primary school. The first Principal of the school was Mr John Allen. When I arrived in January 1966, there were two buildings – A Block and D Block – as they are now called, and the canteen.

The Principal’s office and the staffroom for a staff of about ten were located between A7 and the stairwell near A2. The Manual Arts teacher, Mr Claude Bell, was in a room of his own where the present manual Arts staffroom now is (it has been extended, of course). The Home Economics teacher, Miss Lorraine Heilscher, had a Home Economics room with her own little staffroom in one corner. This room is now called D7.

A well know Maroochydore identity, Mr Bard Claffey, was one of the original teachers of History in this school. The department lost a fine teacher when he resigned. He was always actively involved in sport, with boxing and the lifesaving movement as his main areas of interest. He has only just recently retired from his position in the SLSC.

Our first Janitor, Mr Les Blee, still resides in Maroochydore, and retired from his position in the school. He actively fills in his time still with lapidary work, roo shooting and brushing scrub on western properties from time to time.

When I was appointed to this school, the student population was only about 200 students. Whether you taught a student or not, you got to know them well as every teacher was involved in a sporting organisation and athletics as well as general school activities. Consequently, when the school had its 20 year reunion of foundation students in 1984, many of the students were known even without their name badges.

Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible for any one teacher of the almost eighty on staff now to know even a small fraction of the approximately 1200 students enrolled and even then, they would not get to know the students well.

My first senior Physics/Maths 11 class had about seven students in it. Among them was Rodney Park (career in pathology at Brisbane General Hospital), Barry Gilbert who achieved a Ph.D. in physics and Ken Guy, who has achieved a name in Real Estate on the Sunshine Coast.

Several of our past students have distinguished themselves on the Australian and world scene - Leanne Evans, very accomplished in running, represented Australia in the Commonwealth Games, and Andrew Bowman, changed his name to Dalton, and is a world class tenor. Andrew and Jillian Sargood wrote our school song.

Several couldn’t keep away from the place and returned here as teachers. These teachers are Mr Weir, Mrs Dawson (ex Josey) , Mr Walker and Mrs Maynard. Other students who have distinguished themselves, mainly in sports, include: Brian Weir (Australian Skin Diving champion), Kim McKenzie (Shark boat netting program, and represented Australia in Surfing), Greg and Kym Rogerson (Australian Junior water ski champions) Greg now lectures in mechanics at Nambour TAFE College. Mal Meninga (Australian Rugby League), Connie Nixon (World Women’s Surfing title), Grant Kenny (Australian Ironman title, Bronze in Olympic Kayaking).

Our school has a relatively short history, but I am sure many others have distinguished themselves in many ways. Last year, the Air Force recruiting officer who came to give a lecture to students was Ray Shatte, another past student resplendent in officer uniform. At the 20 year reunion, one of the foundation students, we learned, had served in the United Nations organisation. Many of our students have done themselves proud and have given you a tradition to live up to.

Our school badge was designed by an artistic student, Rodney Draper (whose physics practical book I still treasure) and Andrew Bowman. I always remember the year of the "big three" academic students. Susan Johnstone, Vicki Pattimore and Kevin Deegan. I could never separate them by more than a mark or two in any paper I set in Physics or Maths II. They loved a problem they couldn’t immediately solve and would keep at it for days until they solved it. Susan was in the top twelve students in the whole state in the external Senior exam that year, as were the other two students. Susan is teaching now. Vicki has her Ph.D. in biology, and I have not heard of Kevin since he left school.

I formed a small photography club in the school with support from Mr Seaborn, the family chemist at Cotton Tree, and for several years, we took the school class photos in black and white and sold postcard size photos for 20c each. Even at this princely sum, we made a small profit for the school. It is always pleasant to remember back over past students and the many nice young people you have met in your teaching career.

Naturally, I cannot begin to mention them all. However, my short history would not be complete without listing the past administrators of this school. These are in approximately chronological order:

PRINCIPALS: Mr J Allen, Mr N Corfield, Mr R Tickle, Mr C Law, Mr C George, Ms Lois Anderson, Mr Geoff McLay, Ms Suzanne Innes

DEPUTY PRINCIPALS: Mr B Kuskopf, Mr M Bolland, Mr G. Hirst, Mr G. McLay Mr R Rowan, Mr S.Cochrane, Mr K Ernst, Ms Jenny Large, Ms M. Walsh, Mr John Lockhart, Mr Peter Jones, Mr David Ferguson

SENIOR MISTRESSES: Mrs V Johnstone, Mrs P Feeney, Miss H Edwards, Miss J Ryan