Sunderland school flying high as it celebrates 50 years
A Wearside school was on a high as it celebrated 50 years in the city.
Staff and students at Thornhill School Business and Enterprise College held a balloon release as part of their celebrations of its golden anniversary.
John Hallworth, executive headteacher at the Thornholme Road school said the whole event had been a huge success.
As well as the balloon release, which featured blue, red, yellow and green balloons to represent the school’s four original houses, Thornhill opened its doors to all previous staff and pupils.
Mr Hallworth said during the afternoon and evening there were thousands of people through the doors of the school, interested in seeing what it looks like today.
He said: “We decided to do something special to mark the milestone. When it was first suggested we had a huge response.
“In fact, through social media more than 55,000 people were invited along.”
Mr Hallworth said they staged a big exhibition of photographs from all five of the decades and there were competitions for visitors to spot themselves on them.
Groups of children also hosted tours of the schools throughout the event and people were shocked by the changes.
The headteacher said they invited two women, who were among the first class when the school opened, Olwyn Forster and Carol Hailes, to take part in the balloon release and Carol had never set foot in the school since the day she left, so was delighted to see the changes.
He said: “The biggest changes people commented on were the new part of the school. They were also amazed at the technology, because for many each classroom had a blackboard when they were here.”
In the run-up to the anniversary the current pupils have been learning about life in the school in previous decades.
Mr Hallworth said: “They were amazed by some of the events we used to have, for example there used to be a knitting club.”
To mark the anniversary, all the staff and students tucked into celebration cupcakes and each pupils was given a commemorative water bottle.