Family ties to primary school

HAPPY FAMILY: Lillymae Crawford, year 3, Syndelle Exon, 18, Sonia Crawford, Rubygrace Crawford, prep, Rhiannon Exon, 23, and Mollyrose Crawford, year 5. Eldest son Nathan Cassidy now lives in Western Australia. Picture: Kate Healy

HAPPY FAMILY: Lillymae Crawford, year 3, Syndelle Exon, 18, Sonia Crawford, Rubygrace Crawford, prep, Rhiannon Exon, 23, and Mollyrose Crawford, year 5. Eldest son Nathan Cassidy now lives in Western Australia. Picture: Kate Healy

Sonia Crawford’s eldest child started prep at Mount Clear Primary School two decades ago.

This year marks the end of an era for the family, with the youngest of six children, Rubygrace, having started her first day at the primary school in February. 

From 1997 to 2017, Ms Crawford has seen uniforms change, buildings change and teachers change. 

She estimates there have been between six and eight principals in that time, and only two teachers who have remained. 

“I look back at Nathan first starting school, we used to travel over this way from Sebastopol,” Ms Crawford said. “I must have just got into a habit and everyone else ended up coming here.”

The year six teacher of her eldest is now considered a close friend of the family.

“She has known all my children since they were babies,” Ms Crawford said. 

“I think that’s why it is much easier for Rubygrace to start (prep) this year because she has already been coming here all her life.

“I suppose all of them have, they get to know people by walking in and saying hello or coming to sports days with me, it makes it comfortable.”

Picture: Kate Healy

Picture: Kate Healy

This stability is something Ms Crawford values, having a vastly different experience growing up. 

“I had too many experiences when I was a kid of changing from school to school so I like staying in one spot,” she said.  

“It has always been a good school. I like the curriculum and the support. If I wasn’t happy I wouldn’t have been here this long.”

Ms Crawford said she would be sad when her youngest graduates from the primary school, with the primary school now a big part of the family’s life. 

“I will be hoping my granbabies come here,” she said.