Ian Grundy thought he had hit the jackpot when he entered Southlands High School.
He felt he had the best education in the town – and even rubbed shoulders with an upcoming actress Judith Adrienne Pringle who adapted a stage name Karen Kay and was a famous jazz singer, cabaret singer, comedian and impressionist.
She worked with Des O’Connor and her son is Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay.
Ian, of Wheelton, says: “One memorable factor at school was a production of Wizard of Oz and the lead became an international TV star – Karen Kay.
“The lead male role was Bob Young, who has also gone on to great things.”
The 70-year-old father-of-two recalls his delight at joining Southlands, which had only recently opened.
He says: “I didn’t really enjoy junior school, but secondary school was much better.
“I joined shortly after it opened. I think I came during its third year.
“It was like winning the pools. It was wonderful.
“We were treated like adults and taught interesting things.
“My favourite teacher was Jack Rigby. He taught technical drawing, which became my best subject, along with science. His wife taught maths. I also liked another teacher, Alan Walker.
“I had a lot of friends: Pete Blackledge, Derek Rowlins, Derek France and John Ashcroft. The latter two I ended up working with later in life.
“All of us had very good careers and became professional men. We had a really good education.
“It opened doors for me as I became an engineer and worked for Baxi. I also became a social worker later in life.”
The grandfather-of-five adds he enjoyed trips away with school.
He says: “My highlights were school holidays in Devon to Westward Ho! as part of the Kipling Tours. The area was where Kipling wrote some of his works. It was great fun.”