One of the naughty ones heads back to Hervey Bay High

Former teacher June Nugent nee Horsburgh with one of her difficult students Robyne Cuerel nee Melksham and student Roger Eason at the Hervey Bay High School Golden Jubilee.
Former teacher June Nugent nee Horsburgh with one of her difficult students Robyne Cuerel nee Melksham and student Roger Eason at the Hervey Bay High School Golden Jubilee. Contributed

OLD friends and teachers reminisced as Hervey Bay State High School's Golden Jubilee celebrations doubled as a reunion at the weekend.

For many, the event was bittersweet as the Chronicle's Robyn Cuerel (high school wild child turned award-winning photo-journalist), reports.

FORTY years may have passed but when the mirror was held up to the skinny school girl I was back in the early 70s, the shadow of shame returned.

Yep, I was one of the naughty ones and on this day, over 40 years later, more than one person reminded me, even a teacher.


"But-but... I'm a good girl now..." (40 years later, I would want to be.)

It was surreal seeing old school friends and teachers after a lifetime had passed.

I attended the high school for most of Year 8 and half of Year 9.

At the time, the girls wore teal blue uniforms hitched up at the waist, bubble socks.

I remember a beautiful girl, Kim, dyeing her hair purple, an accidental overuse of Magic Silver White.

At lunchtime, some of us would line up for our five minutes on the trampoline and show off skills of promising Olympians.

The tuckshop supplied the most delicious custard tarts, coconut-ice blocks, caramel ice-blocks, redskins and cobbers.

I'm pretty sure they may have sold something more.

Teacher June Horsburgh (now Nugent) reminded me that I was a handful and I felt like apologising... and I did.

I still remember most of what I learnt in French: "Le professeur et du mauvaise humeur" - "The teacher is in a bad mood."

That was going to do a fat lot of good should I ever visit France.

However, we also learnt Baa Baa Black Sheep in French.

And then there were the spunky guys like Roger Eason, John Douse and beautiful girls Lesley Dahl, Robin Bird, Lisa many... beautiful in their youth.

To catch up with some of them after having gone through the wringers of the journey of life is an honour.

Roger Eason is still beautiful, as are his wife and daughter.

Then feeling depressed thinking of some of those who hadn't made it this far, Cat (John) Tanner, Michelle Bird, Noelene Thomson, Jenny McFie, John Lucas and others.

As I have mentioned, my high school years only stretched one-and-a-half years but old timer's disease is starting to erode the memory.

I have pretty much filled up the past four decades with marriage, family - add to that unfriendly menopause and full-time work - but I want the whole world to know I'm a good girl now.

I want my teacher to be proud. And she said she is.

Oh, how I feel the need to justify myself.

There was a group of naughty girls and I thought I was the worst.

We'd do practically anything for a laugh.

We even invented our own secret language that I'm still fluent in today. But, that was last century.

These days, someone would probably have medicated me and I might have fulfilled my high school years, but I slipped through that net.

Yet no one knew what were the goings on in the background that turned a reasonably normal girl into a rebel. But that was then.

Fancy Mark Jamieson becoming Mayor of the Sunshine Coast and Ted Sorensen in Parliament - and Robyn Melksham, aka Robyne Cuerel, a multi-award winning photojournalist.

Schoolfriend, sweet Shirley Pidgeon never thought I'd make it past 20.

Surprise... and I thank God.

Miracles really do occur, I'm still here.

Topics:  celebrations hervey bay hervey bay state high school pialba

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