School dinner served as past and present Fife high school pupils meet for first time

A project launched in lockdown to bring together past and present pupils at a Fife high school has held its first gathering - complete with a traditional school dinner.

Thursday, 14th July 2022, 2:31 pm

The launch lunch at Balwearie High School in Kirkcaldy saw pupils from across several generation come together for the event last month.

They all returned to their alma mater to meet current pupils, and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

The launch lunch for Balwearie:Connect – the school’s network of former pupils - included a tour, and concluded with a presentation by Andrew Booth, S5/6 depute head, who has led the initiative.

He said: “It was powerful having former pupils returning to Balwearie and to see individuals from the school's 58-year history look to support the current generation.

Read More

Read More
Fife Council: SNP claims council shutdown as leader goes on holiday

“The school building, essentially unchanged since its initial construction and extension, brought an emotional response for many of our guests.

“One pupil was there in 1964 when Balwearie opened and was apparently the second person to receive the belt at the school - within days of its opening! It was incredible to have someone who was there from the school’s earliest days rub shoulders with our current teachers and pupils from every decade since.”

Archive images on display at the launch lunch

The event was the culmination of Balwearie:Connect, an initiative conceived during lockdown, by former pupil Alison Callum.

The project aims to connect former pupils with current learners to share life and work experiences, to inspire, and to create new learning opportunities.

It took shape when Alison, a Balwearie pupil from 1980-86, emailed Neil McNeil, headteacher, to enquire about whether a network existed, and, with nothing in place, she set up Balwerie:Connect.

The crest of Balwearie High School

She said: “I was delighted at Neil's positive response and this sense of purpose has prevailed throughout our collaboration.

“The staff and the team of former pupils who have kicked this off have done brilliantly in bringing it to life and in keeping it going so well - especially during the challenging time of Covid”.

“This launch event, based around Mr, McNeil's invitation to enjoy a traditional school dinner, was a great moment for Balwearie Connect.

“We hope this proves to be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship of welcoming back former pupils to share their work and life experiences with the school’s current pupils.”

Since the project’s inception two years ago, Balwearie Connect has continued to grow and build momentum.

A number of videos, developed with support from Gavin Hugh, from local video production business, MidgieBite Media, have been uploaded to its website to give a glimpse into the life and careers of former pupils.

Mr Booth added: “The enthusiasm of this diverse group of former pupils, to provide insight into their careers and life's twists and turns, and to share these with current learners is both moving and inspiring.

“An idea that started in lockdown when a former pupil said they wanted to give something back is now turning into something real, and we couldn't be happier.

Balwearie High School is very keen to develop more relationships with former pupils and welcomes all enquiries.

To get in touch, please contact Alison Callum at: [email protected]