This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the town’s longest-standing post-primary school, and the college would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank-you to all the current and former pupils and staff who have played a role in that journey.
Over the next few months, the school would like to mark this occasion by running a number of celebratory events, the first of which is this trip down memory lane courtesy of the Antrim Guardian and the school’s website parkhallintegratedcollege.org.
In this edition, we celebrate the achievements of the 1970s and thought the reader would like to see some nostalgic photos from that era.
We remember the school opening in September 1971 with an initial enrolment of 320 pupils in first, second and third year only, growing year on year after that. Some may remember the first-ever principal, Mr John Graham, assisted by vice-principal Mr Morris Jackson and ‘Senior Mistress’ Mrs Roberta Hughes.
When Parkhall opened, there was only one other post-primary school: Antrim Secondary. By the end of the decade this had risen to five with the addition of Antrim Grammar, St. Malachy's, and Ardnaveigh.
The inaugural head boy and head girl, first appointed in 1973, were Barry Paine and Shirley Forsythe. How many of us could remember the names of the staff captured in the adjoining photograph? Would this list of characters ring any bells with the readers? They include names such as Mr Headley (English), Mr Black (Maths), Mr Davis (Science, later to become the school’s famous youth tutor), Mr McQuillan (PE), Mrs Arrell (Social Studies) and Miss Lennox (Modern Languages) to name but a few.
In the first year, the school operated in the teaching block and the ‘D’ block. The offices, staffroom, assembly hall, gym, and music rooms were still under construction and not fully operational until September 1972.
We hope you will enjoy this moment reminiscing about times gone by.