School mates to catch up after decade

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Ashburton College Year 13 students on their last day of school in 2010.

There will be some great school yarns told at Cleavers Corner on October 17, when Ashburton College mates get together 10 years after their last day at school.

The reunion has been organised by Stacey Smith, Charlotte Sowman, Natalie Ward and Steph Polson, with extra help from Nick Evans, Jessie Cross, Sam Ruck and Nikita Kruger.

Stacey said they all began Ashburton College as Year 9s in 2006 and were prompted to get together because a decade had passed since their final year as Year 13s.

“We saw this as a chance to reconnect with one another and celebrate the last 10 years.”

Stacey and Natalie live in Ashburton, while Charlotte is in Christchurch and Steph lives in New South Wales. Steph is part of the nutrition team at Sanitarium and works on the Weet-Bix brand and will be back in Ashburton for the reunion.

Natalie is an agri-banker for the ANZ and Charlotte is a graphic designer and photographer.

The women have great memories of their school days and Natalie says her favourite teacher was accounting teacher Clair Bedward.

She said the year group was a close-knit group.

Charlotte moved to Christchurch in 2011 to study design and works as a senior designer for a brand agency there. She has a “side hustle” as a wedding photographer.

She said Christmas eves were always a chance to reconnect with old school mates and she had kept in touch with close friends over social media.

“I’ve really enjoyed virtually catching up via Zoom to plan the reunion with people we may not have spoken to in a few years, reminiscing about the fun times and absolutely fretting that it was 10 years ago that we left.”

Stacey, who moved back to Ashburton recently, said she hadn’t kept in touch with many in the year group but had a close group of friends from school.

“One of the highlights of organising this for me has been working with this group and seeing all the unique skills and experiences we have had in our life since leaving college.”

The reunion on October 17 will be at Cleavers Corner, owned by Nikita Kruger. Plans include food, a band and other surprises.

The evening would include video messages from head boy Sam Ruck, who is in the UK, and head girl Jessie Cross (in Nelson).

Stacey said they were keen to hear from anyone who started in Year 9 in 2006 that whey had not been able to reach, either on Facebook or by word of mouth. People wanting to come can find the group on Facebook.

Charlotte said there were plenty of schoolday memories to laugh about, including lip sync nights and house competitions. “I’ll never quite forget the boys dressing up in mini skirts, in full lycra body suits, doing single ladies or doing syncronised dancing to Mary Poppins.”

Winning the house cup for Orange House was a highlight of a special Year13 for her. “It’s been genuinely wonderful being able to see various people’s happiness and successes later in life.”