A GROUP of ‘Year 1987 First Years’ from Clounagh Junior High School recently held a reunion at Portadown Rugby Club, with 60 chatting over the old days and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The organising committee was Judith Hall, Heather Mallagh-Cassells, Charmain Jones, Douglas Buckley and Caroline Fletcher.
The headmaster of the time was Gerry Hampton, and staff included Leslie Irwin, Colin Slaine, Heather Malcolmson and Greta Wilson. Mr Hampton was the second ‘Head’ after David Watson, followed by Norman Dickson and the current incumbent Trevor Canning.
They recalled school plays like ‘Annie’ (which is being produced this school year) and ‘Oliver’ and many particularly enjoyed the school choir, under the direction of Mrs Robinson and then Mr Slaine, who plays in the popular musical group ‘Stonewall’.
A feature of the reunion was the fact that so many had moved to various parts of Great Britain since their school days. Douglas Buckley and Darren Malone came across for England to be there, while others came from all parts of Ireland - one or two from Dublin, while others came from all over Northern Ireland - Portrush, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Belfast.
There was an exhibition of memorabilia, including over 100 photographs, toys of the era, annuals, sweets, and old records of the days. And there a bound folder by Caroline Fletcher of all the songs they had sung in the choir - like ‘Under the old Linden Tree’, ‘The Sound of Silence’ and ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’.
The photographs included personal pictures of students of the time, of school trips to Lisdoonvarna in County Clare, Scotland and a ski trip to Austria. There were also pictures of the school play ‘Annie’ with Lisa Cassidy in the title role.
There were newspaper cuttings - from the Portadown Times - of sports days, prize days and the various sports teams. And all the time, there a special DVD - prepared by Caroline - was running on a TV screen. It depicted TV shows of the era, like The A Team, the Ninja Turtles and Wonder Woman, films like Superman, Dirty Dancing and Jaws, pop stars like Michael Jackson and Kylie, plus various fashions and toys like Rubik’s Cube and Cabbage Patch Dolls.
Said Caroline Fletcher, “It was great to rekindle old friendships and exchange telephone numbers. We’ll be keeping in touch. Several people have come onto facebook since the reunion - some who were there and others who couldn’t make it.
“Many have got in touch since then by e-mail. It was a great night and certainly worthwhile. It has sparked off other group planning reunions, and we wish them all the best.”
A collection was taken up for the charity, Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children and £515 was raised. It was presented to Amanda Steele, the charity’s representative for the area.