Celebrating 80 yearsPosted on: September 9th 2019
Amery Hill School was delighted to welcome former students, staff and members of the local community to its 80th anniversary celebration, along with current students and staff. A thanksgiving service at The Church of St Lawrence and reception at the school provided a fantastic opportunity for everyone to reflect on the past eight decades. Talking about the event, current Headteacher, Mr Stephen Mann, commented “It is often said that our school days are our happiest and it has been a pleasure to welcome so many people back to Amery Hill School, including some of the school’s very first students who have relished the chance to reconnect with friends and share fond memories. We have seen generations of families pass through the doors of Amery Hill and it is with great pride that we continue to serve the families of Alton and the surrounding villages by providing a truly inspiring learning community.”
The Hampshire Herald reported the first day of operation on 17th April 1939 as: “Alton’s new senior mixed council school opened its door to 400 boys and girls of the town and district on Monday. It is an outstanding addition to local education facilities and in future all children will go there instead of staying at the local school all their lives. The new building is of red brick and impressive dimensions. The design, however, merges pleasantly into the landscape. In the middle there is a quadrangle and ranged around the four sides are seven classrooms, science, domestic science, art and woodwork rooms.”
During the church service, Mr Alun Parry-Jones, fomer Headteacher from 1979 - 1999, spoke of his immense pride in having led the school. He added “The evening was a very nostalgic one for me, transporting me back, as it did, to the last nineteen years of the last century, when I was proud to be associated with the school. It was a delight to meet up again with so many former colleagues and friends, who had helped to make my time there happy and successful. I was impressed, too, to realise that the school was in such good hands and continuing to go from strength to strength.”
Current Head of Food Technology and longest serving current staff member, Mrs Carolyn Miller, talked about the strong community which exists and the dedication of teachers and support staff to ensure the best possible outcomes for all students. Sentiments echoed by Mr Ray Ayres, a former teacher, who spoke with warmth and humour about his time at Amery Hill.
During the reception, visitors were entertained with music through the decades performed by current students and were able to view the historic documents from the school’s archives, including the very first registers. Mr Parry-Jones and Mrs Pamela Bradford, former School Bursar, unveiled a restored stained glass window in the school’s reception to celebrate the 80th anniversary and commemorate its Golden Jubilee. Our thanks to Jan Simpson of Koru Arts and Martin Simons for generously helping with the restorations and framing.