Whitehill Junior School celebrates 50 years with time capsule featuring ex-pupil Jack Wilshere

PUBLISHED: 15:43 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:48 31 October 2019

Whitehill Junior School celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Picture: Whitehill Junior School

Whitehill Junior School celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Picture: Whitehill Junior School

Archant

A Hitchin school that once taught professional footballer Jack Wilshere - now a midfielder for West Ham United, previously Arsenal - celebrates 50 years since its opening.

Whitehill pupils joined forces with Hitchin Priory Rotary Club planting 3000 crocus bulbs for this year's Purple4Polio campaign. Picture: Whitehill Junior SchoolWhitehill pupils joined forces with Hitchin Priory Rotary Club planting 3000 crocus bulbs for this year's Purple4Polio campaign. Picture: Whitehill Junior School

To mark the anniversary, Whitehill Junior School opened a time capsule which was buried in 2000 - featuring a young Jack Wilshere, who wrote about his aspiration to be a footballer.

The capsule included photographs, newsletters and information from pupils at the turn of the century.

The school plans to bury another capsule later this year with a view to it being dug up in 25 years' time.

To mark the anniversary, Whitehill also held a summer ball for staff and parents, and hosted special celebration lunch.

All pupils and staff were presented with a celebratory writing journal and cake to commemorate the anniversary.

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Located on the site of an old chalk pit - adjacent to what was originally White Hill and now known as Whitehill Road - the school was initially built to replace what is now the British Schools Museum in Queen Street.

Over 50 years, Whitehill Junior School has continued to expand and is now a two-form entry school with most of its pupils coming through the closely linked Highbury Infants School.

So far there have been four headteachers, with Steve Mills taking over from Fran Bradshaw in 2013.

The school encourages collaboration and pupils have participated in a number of community projects over the years.

Last week, 60 Year 3 pupils teamed up with members of Hitchin Priory Rotary Club for the annual Purple4Polio campaign. The project - which sees Rotary Clubs planting 3000 crocus bulbs - seeks to raise awareness of the efforts to eradicate Polio from the world.

The purple flowers will bloom next spring to form a prominent display at the front of the school.

Headteacher Steve Mills said: "It has been wonderful to be part of the school whilst it celebrates its 50th anniversary. It seems quite strange to think there have only ever been four headteachers and therefore I consider it to be a real honour. The pupils' faces when they opened the time capsule were wonderful, particularly when we looked at the 'crazes' of the time which included Pokémon Cards! Some things never change!"

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