Every day has been a highlight for teacher Janet Cunningham during her 39 years teaching at Wollongong High School.
During her time at the school, it has transformed from a selective high school to a comprehensive high school during the late 1970s, 80s and early 1990s, before evolving into a specialist performing arts school in 1993.
After starting out as an English/History teacher, Mrs Cunningham went on to become Wollongong Performing Arts High School’s drama teacher where she has been front and centre in the production of the school’s many memorable musicals and theatrical productions.
“It’s been a fabulous school to teach at. I have been truly blessed,” she said.
“I have loved all the productions that we’ve done. Every year is a favourite. I have loved working with all the teachers who have given up so much time and with students who love what they are doing.
“Every day is a highlight.”
With plans for retirement now on the horizon, Mrs Cunningham is looking forward to being part of another significant milestone in the school’s history, its 100 year anniversary. Centenary Committee member and former principal Kevin Riolo said Mrs Cunningham had played a key role in the history of Wollongong’s oldest high school, supporting him to develop the school into a performing arts school. Wollongong High produced countless distinguished alumni with many of the Illawarra’s doctors, lawyers, prominent sports people and more recently musicians and performers direct products of the school.
The school will celebrate its 100th anniversary on December 10 with a range of activities. In the week leading up to the centenary tours, including a historic display in the school hall will be held from December 5 to 9.
Two centenary showcase nights will be held on December 5 and 6 at the school’s performance space WHSPAC with tickets available from the school after November 1. On Wednesday December 7 students will explore the school’s development over 100 years in an activity day.
A centenary book by Barry Ross which details the school’s move from the original site at Smith’s Hill to its current Lysaght Street location, stories about former principals, long-serving staff membersand students who became outstanding contributors to society is now available for $50 from the school office. Celebrations will culminate in a centenary dinner at the WEC on December 10. Tickets are selling fast for the event which will feature entertainment by former students. Tickets are $85 per person and available through Ticketmaster.