Current Allenton principal Bruce Tilby (far left) with students who graduated from the school in 1966, (back row, from second left) John Taylor, Peter Huntley, Robin Marshall, John Maynard, John Paterson, Sue Baker and (front, from left) Jocelyn Petrie (Sarney), Jacky Challis, Denise Bond (Clement), teacher Marjorie Hoar, Joy Marshall (Gliddon), Jan Clucas (Boothroyd), Kris Corbett (Rowell).

There was plenty of reminiscing and at least one confession when former Allenton School students, who left the school in 1966, gathered for a reunion at the weekend.

Peter Huntley, from Hamilton, said it was time for him to reveal that he and a mate had broken a window with a wayward football back in the day.

“We were never sprung. It was after school and we just scarpered.” He was still remorseful.

The deed many years ago was forgiven 50 years on by current Allenton School principal Bruce Tilby, who was impressed that the former students were still interested in their old school.

He gave the 17 who came to the reunion a guided tour of the 2021 school, which is a lot bigger than in 1966. Among the absentees was Belinda Breeze, who helped organise the reunion from Australia but could not attend because of covid.

The school is about to begin a building project which will mean the current staff room will become a teaching space and the library a new entrants’ room. The administration area is also no longer big enough to cater for 48 staff.

“A lot is happening in the next 12 months. There will be a new building.”

As well as students, former teacher Marjorie Hoar attended the reunion.

Peter remembered her taking the senior class on a trip to Wellington, which involved a boat trip from Lyttelton to Wellington aboard the Wahine. It was a rough passage but the students remembered the visit to the capital city.

He said Mrs Hoar, now in her 90s, was an inspirational teacher who encouraged them to grow their general knowledge with homework research.

“She sparked real interest in the world around us and in current events.”

He could remember listening to educational broadcasts via a speaker in the classroom; the same speaker was used by the principal to deliver news.

He went on to become a teacher himself.

The reunion group had several social events over the weekend, including partners, to catch up with their former school-mates.