16 May, 2023

Lowood High celebrates 40 years in style

More than 100 people flocked to Lowood State High School last Thursday afternoon and early evening for the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Lowood State High School foundation principal Peter Whitelaw, alongside the new mural at the school.
Lowood State High School foundation principal Peter Whitelaw, alongside the new mural at the school.

Many past and present students and staff attended, including founding principal Peter Whitelaw.

Somerset Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann and fellow councillors Jason Wendt and Sean Choat also attended, with Cr Lehmann a former student at the original Lowood school which went from pre-school to year 10.

Last Thursday’s anniversary event comprised multiple stalls, with features including a periodic table of elements, and information about career pathways and support services.

Activities included maths games and making a badge, while the River 94.9 radio crew had a game which involved trying to toss a table tennis ball into a cup.

Numerous school tours were held, and they showcased the school’s dance troupe and vocal ensemble as well as instrumental music, visual arts, hospitality, manual arts, horticulture precinct and Hands on Learning (HOL).

A barbecue and the canteen ensured anyone feeling peckish would be well fed, before speeches took place in the area known as the ‘BOWL’.

The speakers included Cr Lehmann and three principals from the school – Peter Whitelaw (1983-84), Anne McLauchlan (2013-17) and Stacey Beu, who has been at the helm since 2018.

Following the speeches, a group of students unveiled a mural detailing particular happenings each year, such as when a particular block was built, or the amphitheatre being refurbished.

Speaking to the Somerset Sentinel News, the school’s foundation principal said he remembered there were around 250 to 300 students each year he was at the Lowood school.

The school went up to year 11 in 1983, before going up to year 12 in 1984.

Mr Whitelaw said he remembered “what a lovely place Lowood is, with the friendly kids and the parents who were committed to education”.

“We were starting year 11 (in Lowood) for the first time, and we were giving people the opportunity to do all 12 years of their education in the district,” he said.

Mr Whitelaw said there were chalkboards and overhead projectors but no whiteboards, while the introduction of computers and information technology “was just beginning”.

“I didn’t have a computer on my desk,” he recalled.

Mr Whitelaw taught maths and science at secondary level and was a principal of numerous high schools. He was also an inspector, a regional director and a district director in various places across Queensland, and for a time he was the president of the Queensland Institute of senior education officers.

Now happily retired, Mr Whitelaw alternates between Brisbane and Stanthorpe, and he recently had his 50th wedding anniversary.

One of the students at the then new school in 1983 was Peter Regenberg, who arrived in Lowood from the German capital of Berlin in 1982.

At last Thursday’s anniversary, Mr Regenberg said Lowood State High School played a massive role for him before he went on to become a chef, restaurateur and catering manager.

“It just opened up my working career,” he said of his time at the Lowood secondary school.


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