By Casey Neill
Silverton Primary School is more than a school to those who’ve attended and taught there.
The Noble Park North school is a family and the ‘family’ staged a huge reunion to celebrate its 40th birthday on Wednesday 15 March.
Current students organised activities such as lucky dips, hair colouring and mini games.
There were rides, photo displays, video presentations and plenty of balloons and cake.
Denae Vines attended the school, did work experience and her teaching rounds there, and now teaches there full time.
Her daughter Tahlia, 6, is a Silverton student.
“My mum being a teacher led me to that career,” she said.
But Denae’s Grade Prep and Grade 5 teacher Shirley Allison “inspired me to enter teaching”.
She was partnered with Shirley during her teaching rounds.
“When it came time to apply for jobs when I finished uni, this was the first job that I applied for,” she said.
“It’s just meant to be. That was in 2007 that I started here.
“I believe in Silverton and wanted Tahlia to experience what I experienced with other students.”
Diane Rickard did her university teaching rounds at the school and her son Lucas, 5, started Prep this year.
“I liked the philosophy behind everything,” she said.
Lucas cut a Silverton birthday cake with the school’s first Prep, Louise Dalaris.
Teacher Anastasia Kitharidis first taught at Silverton in 1989.
“When I first came here, even though it was open plan, the teachers were putting up barriers,” she said.
“There wasn’t a lot of shared learning between the teachers or team teaching.
“Over the years there have been massive changes.”
She said principals started placing trust in teachers and teachers started working together.
“We were encouraged to research and look at different philosophies,” she said.
Anastasia feels a strong connection to the school and its pupils and teachers, past and present.
“I taught Denae’s sister and Denae came to the hospital when I had my children,” she said.
Denae said: “We always call it our Silverton family.”
Di Phillipson has taught at the school since about 1983 and her two daughters, Tailah and Kasey, attended the school.
She taught a student named Kristy O’Connor when she was in Prep.
“She came back to be a teacher and taught my daughter Kasey in Prep,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have sent them anywhere else.
“I think they got the best education they could possibly have.
“The children have got such a voice.
“When they went on to high school, it was a natural progression for them to continue that. It just became natural for them to take on varied roles.
“I’ve never wanted to move anywhere else.
“Each year is a new year and it’s exciting.”