June 2008 Newsletter - Steve Gray YHS 1971

Steve Gray YHS 1971:
High School the early bits…
For me, secondary school was a mixed bag of emotions, some of the guys from primary went to the Tech School, while the rest went to the High School. I guess this happens everywhere, but in filling out the paper work at primary school some were still undecided and many parents made the decision anyway.
Day one saw me introduced to a bunch of students from Yallourn North and new-comers from wherever, for a shy kid like me it was strange to have so much to remember, and then to have new names thrown in on top was hard.
Our ‘first form’ group had about 70 students crammed into a double room with big dividing walls in the older building of the high school, they fitted big gold blackout curtains so we could watch “educational films” and slides (audio visual was considered so cool but in reality, it was so passé…)
We generally had three teachers in the room team teaching the new “general studies” subject. It was a mix of subjects and the teachers were so proud to be offering a NEW initiative, they bubbled with enthusiasm but much of that was lost on those that could not handle the noise created by 70 students jabbering on about things. So most of the time I sat back and watched (I have always loved day dreaming).
We had Mr Gubbins, Mrs McMicken, Mrs Anderson (or was that in form 2?) Mr Symons (guest appearances for the history of the Gippsland lakes)…see I do remember some of it.
There were other teachers for the single subjects, Mr Benson for Maths, Mr Dimsey for Woodwork and Tech Drawing, Mrs Evans for Music, the rest are a blur (more day dreaming.)
I recall the school Social for our year the form 5-6 students helped in organising the room and thought we were so cute. I tried to dodge the event by not telling mum about it but somehow my sister got wind of it and I was there. The teachers had taught us the barn dance and some other formal dances (I still remember the basics of the barn dance so that’s another thing that has ‘stuck’). I remember we had half time in the ‘home economics’ room and in the rush, one girl got bowled over… (Heck it was just cordial and scones…)
The school camp was to Raymond Island. Features included a morning Jog with Mr Gubbins, a social dance the night before we left, some science on the beach, and very competitive fishing on the water front. Some of the other bits? dunno… The coach drive home was the last of my memories. Oh and the obligatory “write a letter home to your family” I think we got home before the letter did.
School sport seemed to include trampolining, athletics carnival and I am vague about the rest, I was given exemption from most vigorous sports due to a minor heart condition so I remember a lot of Carpet Bowls with Mr Dimsey. He often forgot that I was one of the few regulars as carpet bowls was considered the cop out for those that had forgotten their school sports uniform.
One afternoon after school assembly at Kernot Hall, it was noted that a number of Form 6 boys were not at the assembly. They took the opportunity to lift Mr Dimsey’s Mini station wagon into the corridor near the science rooms. That was funny, the look on his face was priceless when the office lady (Mrs Butcher?) called for Mr Dimsey on the school PA “to move his car from the science wing…!”
I rode my bike to school most days. It took 5 mins and I mostly left my run to the last minute. Tim Harvey lived up the street and usually came barreling by at a fast rate of knots, his flying start annoyed me and he often got there well before I did.
I would race in the yard, throw the bike in the bike rack, grab a squirt of water from the water fountain, run to the locker, then run to class to join the end of the line as the bell went. Well mostly that’s how it went - one frosty morning I got a face full of ice out of the fountain that caught me off guard.
Lunch for me was often a race home on the bike, throw down some sandwiches and then scarper back to school for the last 20 mins of lunch to hang out with the guys. The oval would have a hive of activity, from “stacks on the mill” to kick-to-kick, cricket, and girls walking about in groups jabbering on about who knows what.
The speech night provided an opportunity to take part by doing short skits on stage and playing
apart in the chorus of a Gilbert and Sullivan medley Mr Gubbins forgot a few lines and was prompted by Graham Rooney who was charged with the task, just in case… He got the job because he was the closet to him on stage.
About here some of the teachers from Canada and the USA were being bought in to fill the teacher shortage, but we didn’t get them until form 2-3… more about them next time, maybe…