The St Augustine’s College class of ’89 gathered on the weekend for an emotional, all-boys school reunion. Despite the 30 years that have passed since graduation, it was the first reunion for the cohort and one of the biggest 30th school reunions ever held at St Augustine’s College, Cairns.
“The class of ’89 were a very close bunch so it was a very special and emotional day,” tells former student Brett Goodman-Jones, who helped to organise the reunion with four of his former school mates. “We had 77 fellas come, many of whom haven’t seen each other since 1989.”
Of these 77 former students, 30 flew in from around the country and even overseas to attend the special event, which also attracted nine of the students’ former teachers and the Year Master for Year 11 and 12, Mr Czek Kersevani.
“Many of us had tears in our eyes as our old teachers were brought out one-by-one in a game of ‘guess the voice’,” tells Brett. “There were many hugs and smiles as old friendships reignited, and everyone was careful to include the guys who were quiet at school or may have felt like they didn’t belong. One guy wasn’t going to come because he didn’t think many would remember him, but later said he felt so welcome and would remember the night forever.”
Two of the attendees on the day came out of hospital for the event, including one former student who is currently being treated for throat cancer. “The day was very uplifting for both of these men, as it was for us all,” Brett added.
The ’89 cohort was the first to study film and TV in Year 11 and 12 and Brett, who is now a video editor, used old photos and video footage to produce a video that was screened on the night.
“The final four minutes of the video was a montage of photos that were handed to us by the school to include in the video. Throughout that sequence, everyone was very quiet in the room. Everyone was speechless, looking back on never-before-seen photos,” tells Brett. “Robbie O’Kane said two days after the event, his head was still spinning from seeing photos of himself from 30 years ago that were new to him.”
Adding to the emotion on the day, the class of ’89 also acknowledged those who were no longer with them, including former student Clayton Adam, whose death last year from cancer inspired the boys to organise the reunion.
“The class of ’89 will continue to work with St Augustine’s College to honour Clayton, who dedicated his life to helping children with spinal deformity and disorders. The school specially created a plaque to present to us as an example of what they may be able to do for Clayton once their new science block has been built,” tells Brett, who said the boys have made a vow to be there for one another after the reunion.
“We all embraced as one that day. No groups, no clicks, no colour, no judgment, just a heap of different men with one thing we share in common: we are the class of ’89. Cool guys were hugging the quiet blokes, the toughies were softies, the quiet ones came out of their shells, we sang our old war cries, and the laughter was like fireworks all night long.”
Find out more about St Augustine’s College, Cairns.