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150 years of school at Upper Plenty Primary School

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

Upper Plenty Primary School, UPPS, last Friday celebrated its 150th anniversary and invited the school’s current and past communities to enjoy the festivities.

The school’s historic buildings, class photos, past students’ work, and old newspaper clippings were among the items and memorabilia on display across the school, allowing visitors to have a look around and appreciate the school or reminisce about their days of education at UPPS.

Principal Sue Egan said it was an ‘incredible privilege and an honour’ to be part of the school’s 150th anniversary.

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“I love our school, we’re a real family, a real community. That’s the strength of our school,” she said.

“It’s such a special milestone, there’s a lot of memorabilia around the school that we’ve found, and I think we’re all feeling really proud.”

CRAFTY: As part of the celebrations, students and visitors created clay models of their own homes to signify the different stories of everyone at the school. Pictured, from left, are Evie, Ruby, Eleanor, Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell, Lucinda, art teacher Andrea Lewis, Trey, and Chase.

UPPS dates back to the 1860s, when the district’s six families came together to push for a place to educate their large numbers of children.

A small rudimentary building was provided by the residents as the then-School Inspector denied the request for a dedicated facility.

In the late 1860s, however, the sum of 20 pounds was allocated to build a school on its present five-acre site.

Then, in 1873, the Board of Education granted 155 pounds to build a new weatherboard schoolroom that was established as State School No. 1244, and with a trained teacher was gazetted in 1875.

ON DISPLAY: Upper Plenty Primary School’s 1921 school building is still in great shape and was on full display for visitors to tour.

In 1874 the school had an average attendance of 28 pupils, however Ms Egan said now, in 2024, UPPS had its highest-ever student enrolment at 209.

“We’ve grown and we’re a really good size. We’ve got great sporting facilities and lots of play spaces for our kids,” she said.

“The other thing I’m proud of is that we’ve got such an amazing team of staff, they’re so dedicated and committed to doing the best for our kids, so we’re pretty lucky.”

Ms Egan said the school was now focusing on developing its use of technology to match other schools in Victoria, largely through investing various gadgets and software to support students’ learning.

MEMORABILIA: Items from across the school’s history were featured at the anniversary.

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