Lex Smith (86),the only first-day past pupil attending the
St Brigid's 75th jubilee at the weekend, talks to principal
Chris Hogue at the school on Saturday. Photo by Linda
Most children find excuses not to go to school, but Lex
Smith begged to go to St Brigid's School.
The 86-year-old was the only person among the 160 people who
celebrated the school's 75th jubilee during the weekend to
have been there on its opening day in 1939.
He started school at Caversham School, but when his family
moved to Tainui, he had to change schools.
''My mother was a Presbyterian and my father was an
agnostic,'' he said.
''The big surprise was my father allowed me to go to this
Catholic school [St Brigid's School].
''As a 9-year-old, I took myself up and somehow [teacher] Sr
Mary Clements took a shine to me and enrolled me.''
He attended the school for two shillings a week.
He was ''absolutely thrilled'' to attend the 75th jubilee, he
''I was at the 50th anniversary and, at that time, it was not
in my wildest dreams that I would go to the 75th,'' he said.
''I knew, to go to the 75th, I would have to live to 86 and
back then, not a lot of people lived until 86, but here I
Principal Chris Hogue also attended the 50th jubilee, after
being appointed to the role ''only a couple of months
before'', he said.
''Little did I know I would be here for the 75th.''
It was the community which had kept him in the role for so
long, he said.
''It's a great community to work and live in,'' he said.
''And this is a community-based school.''
He was pleased with the jubilee's turnout of 160.
''We thought if we cracked 150 that would be our goal,'' he
''So we are more than happy with that.''
The highlight of the weekend was having the opportunity to
put the school's history together and display it, he said.