Last week we had the pleasure of meeting six former students, alumni if you wish. Whilst this may sound like something quite ordinary these were certainly the oldest alumni we have shown around the College; this group of adults left the school in 1979.
They were in town to celebrate the year they all turned 55; they came from across the expanse of the UK and even further afield (one had flown in from Australia), and after all this time they still maintain a tight bond and friendship that was forged within the very fabric of our school buildings.
As they were guided round the campus by Mr Collins and a small group of year 11 students we were struck by the discussions that were taking place. Our students did an excellent job; they were constantly professional as they chatted and listened to stories of past students dangling out of windows, blowing things up, teachers giving lifts to students, and a whole host of other health and safety, and safeguarding no-no’s. The visitors were however quick to point out that as memories fade it is only the little snippets you remember and that they did work hard and the events they were describing were certainly not the everyday norm – we still found them quite entertaining.
As we showed them round they produced a host of old photos from their time at school. Some of the buildings were still recognisable – even after a make over. We found a location behind the Sixth Form common room and they recreated one of their old photos; not the most flattering of locations but one steeped in memories. Tendring Technology College (Tendring High School) had served these people well.
Each one of them has led an interesting and fulfilling life. Careers included running a dive school and a theatre director. But by far the most striking thing about them all was their joy at being back at school after all these years to reminisce about the carefree days and the impact that the school had on them – although they did not perhaps fully appreciate it at the time.
It is at this time of year that we start to say goodbye to some of our students. It is important to remember that they too have had an impact on us as teachers. As time passes, our memories will not be about the homework we set; or the academic knowledge we imparted; not even the grades achieved or coursework completed, but we will recall with fondness the positive relationships we forged with our students, the good humour, the personalities, the cheeky comments, and even the times they tested us to our very limits. It is an honour to work in a College that produced such wonderful alumni who, after all this time, still appreciated their school years. It is often said that these are the best years of our lives; they certainly are for us at TTC - there is nothing greater than hearing about the success of someone that was once one of our students. Impact goes both ways; teachers and students should never underestimate the impact they have on each other. A fond farewell to our Year 11’s; we hope that you take with you some great memories of your days at TTC and that we have prepared you well for whatever the future holds.