Unity College's class of 2001 reunites for the first time in 20 years
The first year 12 graduates of the Murray Bridge Lutheran school have come back together.
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Twenty years ago, the twin towers had just fallen, Queens of the Stone Age were about to win Triple J’s Hottest 100, and a little Lutheran school on the outskirts of Murray Bridge produced its first graduating class.
Memories of that time flew thick and fast on Saturday night when Unity College’s class of 2001 was reunited.
Gone were the teenagers who lined up in blazers for their school photos, outgrown by the mums and dads, professionals and ex-pats who came back home for the occasion.
Former student leader Larissa McInerney, nee Nutt, crossed the border from Western Australia to come back and catch up with her friends.
The pandemic had kept her from visiting any of them for the past couple of years, but some she hadn’t seen in two decades.
Looking back now, with a mother’s eyes, she marvelled at the trust her parents had placed in the staff at the new college, and how much her life had been shaped by her years there.
“It’s funny, coming back tonight, how much you realise,” she said.
“I know ... how much certain aspects of (my life) have come from my friendship groups or my teachers.
“It stays with you.”
She remembered it as a welcoming place, if sun-baked and windswept while it was still being built.
“Things have changed, but ... I don’t feel like I missed out on anything,” she said.
“We still had a basketball court.
“That’s where I think our resilience comes from.
“It’s amazing what it’s grown up to be.”
Rob Rohde was the head of the senior school in 2001.
He remembered a strong community of parents and an unapolagetically Christian environment.
Former middle school head Briony Carman described the college’s expansion as hard work but an amazing experience.
“(You had) that feeling that you’re all in it together,” she said.
“You knew that you were forging something pretty special.”
A few members of the class of 2001 had caught up for the 10th anniversary a decade ago, but Saturday’s event at the Bridgeport Hotel was the first organised by the Unity College Old Scholars.