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Festive goodbye . . . Timaru South School Pareora campus pupil Kallim Borlase (13) dressed as Santa for the school's final celebrations event last Friday, for which the other pupils in the background were busy rehearsing. PHOTOS: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

It is the end of an era for Timaru South School’s Pareora campus, as the campus shut its doors yesterday after more than 110 years’ providing education for the rural township.

The board of trustees at Timaru South School announced its decision in May to close the Pareora campus due to low enrolment numbers.

The school – located about 10km south of Timaru – had a roll of about 30 pupils this year, along with two teachers and three staff members.

Associate principal Jo O’Sullivan said the past term had been about transitioning the pupils into their new schools.

End of an era . . . Timaru South School Pareora campus associate principal Jo O’Sullivan (centre) and pupils Ella McMurtrie (left) and Joshua Honeywill (both 5) were decked out in their special commemorative T-shirts for the school’s final celebrations and prizegiving last Friday.

Some pupils were moving on to high school, but those still of primary school age would either go to the main Timaru South School campus or St Andrews School further south.

Mrs O’Sullivan said the pupils had been “doing well” adjusting to the fact their school was to close.

The campus was originally Pareora East School, which started in 1907, but merged with Timaru South School in 2005 after a South Canterbury-wide schools review.

Mrs O’Sullivan, who had also taught the junior pupils, would take up a teaching role at Timaru South School’s junior syndicate next year, while Pareora’s senior syndicate teacher Kaye Johnston-May had decided to leave teaching after more than 25 years.

Pupils, staff and others connected with the school gathered for final celebrations at the campus last Friday.

The 30 pupils performed Christmas carols and other school traditions, including folk dancing and the school song, to the audience, which contained many former pupils and others having a connection to the school.

While the pupils would be going on summer holiday, Mrs O’Sullivan told The Courier last Friday she had a lot of history to gather up.

“I have 31 years of teaching in my classroom.”