FORMER students and staff went back to school to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of a Teesside Academy.
Past students and staff of The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, enjoyed an afternoon of reminiscing and rekindling friendships as they reflected upon their old school days.
Welcoming everyone back, Principal Chris Drew said: “I’m really delighted to see so many people here today.
“We are extremely proud of all of our former students, seeing what they have achieved, how they have grown, perhaps they have married and had children, or even started their own businesses.
“It is because of them that The King’s Academy is what it is. Any school is only as good as its students, and this reunion is our way to show appreciation, share memories and catch up with old friends.”
Established as an 11-18 academy in September 2003, The King’s Academy brought together two existing secondary schools, Coulby Newham and Brackenhoe, as well as taking students from the nearby Beverley School for the Deaf.
Ten years later it has seen around 3,000 pupils go through its doors, enjoyed a significant rise in GCSE exam results and received positive reports from Ofsted, with students staying on in the academy’s sixth form or moving into further education or into work.
“A school community is like a tapestry,” said Mr Drew. “It contains many colours, fabrics and threads which all come together with everybody pulling in the same direction.
“We have achieved great things at The King’s and we have a proud reputation all as a result of the hard work of our students and dedication of our staff.”
Picture boards showing highlights from each school year were on display and booklets packed with hundreds of school photographs were given to former staff and students before they were treated to a tour of the academy to revisit former classrooms and see new facilities including the £1m Sixth Form study centre and dedicated performing arts wing.
Former student Lydia Kirby, 19, an apprentice business manager, said: “I really enjoyed my time at King’s and it's lovely to come back and see everybody.
“I have some great memories of being at school and I’d love to come back and do it all again.”
Kirsty McKnight, 22, a retail sales advisor, said: “It's six years since I was last at school and it’s great to come back and catch up with everyone again. Walking back through the doors made me feel just like an 11-year-old again.”
Current teaching staff also joined in the celebrations by reforming old form groups.
Business studies and IT teacher teacher Amanda Elgood persuaded six of her former students from 8B to join her for a group photograph.
“It’s fabulous to see so many of my original form group again,” she said.
“I still have the original framed picture of them from when they first came to The King’s so it’s lovely to be able to get a new one.
“It does make me feel a bit old but it's wonderful finding out that they are all doing so well.”
Graphic designer Jospeh McPhee, 23, added: “This is the first time I’ve come back to school since I left six years ago and it’s brought back a lot of good memories.
“It's been good to see Mrs Elgood again, although she was Miss Boyle when I was in 8B, and catch up with so many old friends and teachers.”