Back Together: Former Maclean High School students from 1972-77 relax for a group photo at their high school reunion at the Maclean Services Club on Saturday night. Image: Contributed.
Schoolies hit Maclean and Yamba last week, but for this group the drug of choice was for the treatment of joint and back pain and hip-hop was seen more as a medical condition than a musical genre.
These schoolies graduated a minimum of 40 years ago – a group of students who left Maclean High School in 1975 as Year 10 students, 1977 as Year 12 students or who had been at the school as part of that cohort.
The hair, particularly for the men, was much greyer and thinner and the gait much slower, but save for a few who developed some self-assurance they didn’t have at school or, at the other end of the scale, mellowed from once rebellious teenagers, very few had changed.
Organising the reunion was a joint effort, with many contributing the names and contact details of people they had stayed in contact with over the years, but most of the organisation was done by the two most likely in 1977 to be trusted to organise anything ¬- Julie Astalosh (Shannon) and Rosemary Oldfield (Kempnich).
Together these two put in countless hours tracking down former classmates, making phone calls to sometimes bemused people who happened to share the names of those being tracked, building websites, giving everyone with internet access their own email address, organising and setting up venues and gently nudging people to submit their bios and memorabilia.
Their efforts did not go unrewarded.
About 70 former students, including partners, turned out on Friday night at the Maclean Ex Services Club for the main event – a reunion dinner. Perhaps with mixed feelings, many also participated in a tour of the school the following morning.
Then there was a river cruise from Yamba to Harwood and return on Sunday afternoon and a final get together on Monday morning.
The consensus was that 40 years was too long to wait to get together. With social media and their own website, they now have a way of keeping in touch. They will.
For now, Maclean and Yamba can rest easy. It’s not likely there will be another reunion of this group for another five years and by that stage they won’t be much danger to anyone.