SNOWTOWN Area School (SAS) celebrated the rich history of its senior schooling and marked the start of a new chapter at its End of an Era function, held in conjunction with the school’s annual presentation event on Thursday.
SAS will lose its infamous “A” next year, when it becomes a primary school on the back of funding struggles from its steadily dropping numbers.
It first became an area school in 1961, with this set to end on December 14 this year.
Past students, teachers and principals joined the current school community to mark the occasion.
SAS governing council chairman, John Cummins, said most of the students in secondary school grades next year would be attending Clare High School. Snowtown Primary School would be serviced by one bus, on a modified route.
Mr Cummins said recent upgrades to the school, including a boost in IT equipment, will ensure remaining students will receive an outstanding primary education.
“Just because of the primary school changes, does not mean our new school will not be a good one,” he said.
“All these things will hold our school in good stead.
“2013 marks the new and exciting beginning of our primary school.”
SAS has a long and rich educational history, no student underlining that more than Neralie Wearn (nee Rowan).
It had been 16 years since Neralie graduated from SAS, achieving a statewide high perfect 20s in all six of her chosen subjects.
It was a feat virtually unheard of, a regional student outshining the rest of South Australia’s students.
Staying at the school as opposed to pursuing a school of higher prowess was a tough call to make.
“I decided to follow in the footsteps of my sister and her friends and tackle year 11 and 12 right here,” Neralie said.
She touched on all her fond memories in her time at Snowtown, including school camps, sporting competitions, school formals, primary socials and many other fond moments.
Her achievements speak for themselves though, working as a MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval nurse.
“You don’t need to go to an expensive private school to achieve success,” Neralie said. “I am very proud of where I grew up and went to school, and I’m so grateful I still have many good friends from this wonderful time in my life.”
Barunga Gap farmer, Paul McCormack, touched on his time at SAS.
“Sports days were fantastic because I could run back then, a little,” he said.
“It was a good school, we knew everybody in the town, we had four buses servicing the school, north, south, east and west.
“I came in on the west bus, little Volkswagen buses chockablock full. There were 25 kids in one of those little ‘Volksies’. Some were sitting on the floor, I kid you not.
“There was a number of students who travelled in to Snowtown to do the ag course at its peak.”
He was saddened to see the end of the secondary schooling but was also understanding.
“It’s a numbers game and unfortunately dwindling numbers in the country communities does impact on the viability of some things,” Mr McCormack said.
“REJOICE IN WHAT WE HAVE HAD AND WHAT WE ACHIEVED”
FORMER principal, David Craddock, gave a rousing speech at the Snowtown Area School End of an Era celebrations.
Mr Craddock was principal for six years, from 1978 to 1983, arriving after a stint working at Nauru.
He reflected on some of the landmark achievements of the school in his time at Snowtown.
The school purchased its first electronic typewriter, its first photocopier and its first computer during Mr Craddock’s tenure.
“It was about the size of a truck and it was an Apple, but it was closer to a lemon from what I can remember,” he said.
The agriculture course was a major drawcard for students, leading to many entries at the Adelaide Show’s livestock competitions.
“Our ag teachers really got to expanding our courses,” Mr Craddock recalled.
At one stage, the school became its own poll dorset stud, operating under the name SASdor.
Mr Craddock said the school also had excellent outdoor education and career education programs.
“It was during my time here, when we first got a back-hoe and it dug the hole for the swimming pool, that was a very important development,” he said.
The school’s logo was also redesigned under his watch. “I’m very pleased to see the students all wearing the T-shirts with that emblem,” Mr Craddock said.
He paid tribute to the strong backing the school received from the community.
“Underpinning all the advances at the school during those six years was a magnificent level of parent support,” Mr Craddock said.
He was philosophical about the closure of the senior school. “We must rejoice in what we’ve had and what we’ve achieved – no one can take that away from us.
“We will continue to provide a quality education for our students and will do so with the wider support of the Snowtown community, that is the Snowtown way.”
WHAT THEY SAID ON FACEBOOK:
Boomalacca, boomalacca bow-wow-wow! Chickalacca, chickalacca, chow chow chow!
We are, we are, can you guess? We are the kids from the SAS! S-N-O-W-T-O-W-N.SNOWTOWN!
Being from the Brinkworth Area School (closed back in 1973, so yes, I’m old) this war cry would echo many times throughout our Triangular Sports Day with Snowtown and Port Broughton Area Schools.
Una Everlin Pike: I remember going to school there in the sixties. It was pretty good then and so were the teachers
Natalie Carslake: I loved my teaching years at Snowtown Area School. Met some great staff and taught some amazing students.
Holly Cowan: Many fond memories of that school: Year 8/9 fashion parade in around 1999 or 2000 with Anne Wills and Peter Goers and front page of the Sat Advertiser, the trip to Sydney to sing in the Olympic stadium with Amanda Wheaton and Sharyn Black
Bonnie Nicholls: Lunch time weddings on the oval with soursob bouquets (Tiffany Higgs and Andrew Beare) and lickastick bribes to object to the marriage; the pit room; the clay hill; SRC discos; the time we overtook a car in the school bus.
Kimberly Higgs: The year SAS hosted the interschool sports day and we WON, Mr Griffen crawled around the school oval, what an effort.