Town bids farewell to historic school

Staff, students, parents and locals bid farewell to Waid Academy. (Pic: George McLuskie)
Staff, students, parents and locals bid farewell to Waid Academy. (Pic: George McLuskie)

For the last 131 years, Waid Academy has welcomed thousands of East Neuk children through its doors, preparing them for adult life.

But, on Friday, its bell rang and its doors were locked for the final time.

Students, staff, many of whom wore old school blazers that they had worn as students, parents and locals gathered outside the school to say a fond farewell to the academy, ahead of a move to the new Waid Community Campus next week.

Tears were shed, songs were sung, and speeches were shared, as all said goodbye to the school for the final time.

Rector Iain Hughes summed up the emotions in his speech to the crowd, describing the moment as “a sadness at the end of an era and excitement at the beginning of a new one”.

Mr Hughes, joined by former rector Tom Watson, spoke about the history of the school but added that Waid would continue to “be at the heart of the community”.

His speech was followed by a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, with all in attendance singing and the school band providing the music.

The bell then rang for the final time, marking the end of the school day, before Mr Hughes locked the front doors. He then collected the school flag from the school prefects.

After the closing ceremony, Mr Hughes told the Mail that Waid Community Campus offered “so many opportunities”.

“The facilities are set up for the 21st century,” he said.

“There’s much more in terms of technology, open spaces for things like group work, and we’re going to be working with different services as it’s a community building. It’s inspirational – it’s light and bright – and the opportunities for learning and development are incredible.”

Despite his excitement ahead of the move, Mr Hughes admitted he would be sad leaving behind the academy.

He said: “I’ve been here 26 years – I came here as head of history.

“There’s a long history and tradition within the school. The ethos and culture will continue, but it will be quite sad not to see parts of the building that I’ve seen for all these years. It’s meant a lot to us and the community.”

But speaking about the future of the school, Mr Hughes was nothing but positive.

He said: “We will go on to be an incredibly positive, nurturing school in terms of preparing children for the future.”