Five decades of precious memories at Kirkland

Kirkland High School 50th anniversary. Shona Paterson with Emma McKenzie 17. All pictures by George McLuskie
Kirkland High School 50th anniversary. Shona Paterson with Emma McKenzie 17. All pictures by George McLuskie

Hundreds of ex-pupils and local residents made their way back through the school doors last week for a special exhibition marking 50 years since the opening of Kirkland High School.

Although the official anniversary does not take place until May, the exhibition - which includes old pictures, report cards, newspaper clippings and register lists, as well as tours around the school - was organised by a special Kirkland 50 organising committee in the run up to the event.

Music Teacher Alison Flemming

Music Teacher Alison Flemming

The assembly hall was positvely buzzing with activity on Wednesday evening, with crowds of people gathered in every corner, sifting through old pictures, looking for their own name in the register book, or simply swapping stories and treasured school memories.

Rector Ronnie Ross told the Mail on the night: “It’s brilliant! It’s been very informal but we’ve been amazed by the amount of interest there’s been.”

Mr Ross said pupils within the school had also shown so much interest that each year group would be visiting the exhibition before the school break, and would have the chance to attend a special assembly by former pupil and deputy head John Brown.

Visitors on the night had many chances to get involved with the school again, including one very special annual event.

It’s brilliant! It’s been very informal but we’ve been amazed by the amount of interest there’s been.

HEadteacher Ronnie Ross

Mr Ross explained: “One of the things we have been doing is to try to get former staff and pupils to come back and take part in the Kirkland Show, which is very well renowned.”

Mr Ross added: “It is fantastic to have the support of the community here tonight. We didn’t really know if it would work but it has gone really well.”

Senior school prefects were on hand throughout the evening to provide tours of the school to visitors, and a special ‘diary room’ was set up where people could leave messages and stories of their time at Kirkland.

One former pupil who did was Tracy McKain, who attended the school between 1985-91, and has three girls at the school too.

Ex pupils Sisters Laura Spence and Emma Walker

Ex pupils Sisters Laura Spence and Emma Walker

“I just love it here. It feels like home to me. It’s so nice to see the girls come through school with some of the same teachers I had.”

Another former pupil Morag Mathieson, now a PSA at Buckhaven High School, was delighted just to see her name in the register book.

She said: “It’s brilliant. I’ve found my nephew and my niece, who’ve gone on to do great things. It was a chance to say goodbye to the school too, but it will be different for me as I will be involved with the new school as well.”

Linda Hutton had travelled through from her home in Edinburgh to attend the event.

Head teacher Ronnie Ross with some of his pupils

Head teacher Ronnie Ross with some of his pupils

“It’s quite emotional actually,” she said. “We were talking on the bus about all the people we remember and sadly some of the ones who won’t be here tonight as well. I’ve still got a lot of friends here and I really enjoyed school so it’s nice to come back.”

Jim Lewis was part of the very first intake at Kirkland High School when it opened in 1963 (ahead of the official opening when the campus was complete in 1965).

He said: “It was difficult to start with when they closed Aberhill, Kennoway and Leven, there was lots of friction! But I actually went back to Kirkland to do my teaching practice in 1974, so that was strange becoming colleagues with the people who had been my teachers.”

Ex pupil Fiona with current pupil and daughter Kirsten Stewart.

Ex pupil Fiona with current pupil and daughter Kirsten Stewart.

Ex pupils Norman and Moira Myles.

Ex pupils Norman and Moira Myles.