Form 6 1954
Back: Rodney Gates, Mary Bratty, Glenda Hardie, Bruce Cann Front: Coralie McLeod, Leonie Cullen, Olga Antunovich
Waipu District High School continued to expand during the 1950s. In 1950, a new primer block was opened. This allowed the secondary department to regain their second classroom, and the corridor where the students had been taught became a library. In 1952 a new woodwork and metalwork room was opened. The former room, known as the ‘dog box’, became a general classroom.
A new swimming pool was opened in 1954 ending the need to use the Waihoihoi River. The newly formed PTA raised funds to supplement the Education Board grant, and provided free labour to assist in the construction. Despite leaking, the pool was used up to 1976 when Waipu Primary School moved across to the Argyle St site.
Growing numbers of secondary students and the classroom shortage resulted in the Education Board purchasing land on Argyle St for the new secondary block which opened in November 1956. Students still crossed St Mary’s Rd to use the pool or to take classes in the manual training and home science rooms. Boys only did woodwork and metalwork, and girls only did cooking and sewing. Form 1 and 2 students from Takahiwai and Ruakaka were transported by bus to Waipu District High School so that they also could do manual training and home science.
To assist in attracting teachers to come to Waipu, a number of school houses were built or purchased, and rented out to teachers at a low rate. A hostel was also provided for the young female teachers and dental nurses.
Waipu District High School Staff 1956
Back: D Everett, D Toye, E Brown, R Brown, W Gordon, A Fenwick, B Calder, S Brake Front: G Maloney, D Whyte, J Davis, Mr A Baildon (Headmaster), Mr R Shaw, P Turner, J Bird
One advantage of growing numbers of secondary students was that the corresponding increase in the numbers of teachers allowed a wider curriculum to be taught, and academic results started to improve. The pass rate for Waipu District High School in School Certificate in the 1950s was consistently between 70-80%, which put the school above the national average.
Cadets were introduced in the mid 1950s. The cadets were led by Ivan Wright, a former member of 75 Squadron in World War 2. He was assisted by regular force NCOs travelling out from Whangarei. Every boy was in the unit which would parade one afternoon each week to train with rifles and bren guns, or practise on the rifle range. Special camps were held during the holidays at Papakura Army Camp. One of the most successful cadets was John Denniston-Woods. He later joined the Army and rose to the rank of Brigadier General.