Otepopo school 150th despite closure

Otepopo School in Herbert might have closed four years shy of its 150th birthday, but that will not stop past pupils celebrating that milestone in style.

Although the school closed in 2010 with just four enrolled pupils, a group organising the 150th anniversary said a celebration would still take place on March 15.

Guest speaker and past pupil Chris Trotter, now a political columnist in Auckland, said even though the school was closed, Herbert residents were like hobbits in their ''stalwart'' guardianship of their village's history and traditions.

''With its wonderful church, school, coach-inn and general store, Herbert was one of the most picturesque of the many little settlements scattered across the North Otago countryside.

''Years later, when I discovered J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, the mental image I formed of Hobbiton bore a striking resemblance to the village I was schooled in.

''Like Hobbiton, Herbert possessed a formidable collection of long-established families. It may not have been able to boast Bagginses, Brandybucks or Tooks, but its McMillans, McKenzies, Beckingsales and Wilkies were no less stalwart guardians of their village's history and traditions.''

Otepopo 150 celebrations organising group member Jan Kennedy said they would take place on March 15, at Camp Iona, and registration forms could be collected from the Herbert Garage, the Oamaru iSITE or uploaded from Otepopo School Founders Day 150 Facebook page.

''As the school closed a few years ago, we are treating this day as a fun, social occasion for the wider community.

''In the absence of rolls and due to the school closing several years ago, an invitation is being extended far and wide for expressions of interest to attend these celebrations.''

Mrs Kennedy said the event would include a daytime mix and mingle, along with a ceremonial cake-cutting, but said evening function places would be limited.

Registrations close on February 15. About 70 registrations had already been received.

Further information could be obtained by emailing to: otepopo150@gmail.com or calling Jan on 027 267-2450 or Winsome on (03) 439-5662.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment