Why it hurts when your school is demolished

I am talking of the scenario when a school is demolished when empty and you have long since left. It would obviously literally hurt if you were still in the vicinity. So, to explain….

On my drive to work I have to pass my old secondary school. It has been closed for several years and the for the past 3 years it has been standing empty. Every time I pass I sneak a peek at the school grounds and recall memories of gathering in groups on the lawns, crossing the road to the science block and dropping my pencil case in front of waiting traffic and waiting outside my classroom block door and being told off by my PE teacher and made to run round the sports grounds. I can still visualise our eccentric RE teacher wandering around the school at break-time with his nose buried in a book and the queues of girls (it was a single sex school)  waiting outside classroom doors for their lessons to start. The flip-top desks; the way girls used to collect lip balms and store them in the old ink wells; the hospital blue walls; the crucifixes above the black-boards; the musty old library; the five minute walk up a residential road to the playing fields; the religious ceremonies; the hymns; the baptism of the new school hall. Five years of my life was spent learning, growing, socialising and rebelling within those school grounds.

Now the whole lot is going to be flattened to the ground to make way for new houses. Even the junior school is going to be torn down, as that was the last to close. It was a devout catholic school, so not everyone’s cup of tea and it only catered for 50% of the population, so that may have contributed to its downfall. If someone had told me during my time there that it was going to close down and be demolished I would have clapped and cheered with glee. But now, almost 20 years later, I feel sad about its demise and don’t enjoy observing its daily deterioration as I commute to work. I quite like its existence as a dormant shrine to my childhood and school life. In a few months time, nothing will be there at all. A few months after that brand new houses will appear in place of the old school building. They are even tearing down the school hall that was built and opened with pride when I was 14. I remember the special opening ceremony and how the whole school were excited as we filed in for the first ever assembly.

But time and life moves on – often not in the way you had wished. 

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. If you want to read more about my campaign, please visit my page on Unicef’s site.

Thanks for reading.


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