We have all been there, and as schools around Queensland welcome first day students and first day teachers, some of our favourite Brisbane personalities have school yard nostalgia.


Rebecca Sparrow – author

I have fuzzy memories of that first day … I remember being desperate to start school and to have homework to do like my big brother. (Yeah, that feeling of wanting homework didn’t last long once I was there!)  But mostly I remember meeting my best friend Katie- a kindred spirit who loved Leif Garrett and the TV show H.R. Pufnstuff as much as I did.  Thirty-six years later and Katie and I are still best friends and it all began in Mrs Robinson’s class at Indooroopilly State School!

See image above: Rebecca Sparrow in primary school


Loretta Ryan, 4BC breakfast announcer

I went to St Pius Catholic Primary school at Banyo. I still remember preparing for my very first day, packing my school books in my port and trying on my school uniform. In fact, we had two uniforms – one for summer and one for winter.  It was the same for the nuns who taught us – they changed habits with the weather! But, unfortunately my very first day of school was delayed by a week because I had the mumps and couldn’t go – how disappointing! So I sat home and watched Dina and Percy on the TV. I loved the way she made the Penguin’s wing wave at you. When the mumps went down, I proudly trotted off to school with my toothless grin and my long hair in plaits, lovingly styled each day by Mum.


Tim Corkeron – Principal Timpani, Queensland Symphony Orchestra

My first day of Grade 1 was really daunting at first because I hadn’t attended pre-school or kindergarten, there were all these new kids I didn’t know. The school was Our Lady of the Angels Primary School in Wavell Heights, run by the Catholic Church and overseen by the nuns that lived on the grounds. My Grade 1 teacher was Mrs Betzel, a dear lady who seemed to be ancient in age and had blue hair. She also taught my older siblings, so my surname was known and expectations were high! We were all very well behaved in 1B as Mrs Betzel sometimes showed her prowess with the 50cm ruler!


Jacinta Messer – Queensland Firebirds netball tea

My first day of school was great, although school was a pretty strange place. For example, I had no idea why Mrs Burls, my year one teacher, was so adamant we didn’t run with scissors, or how my brown tuckshop bag magically found its way to my classroom filled with the Breaka and pizza rounder my dad had ordered for me that morning. Or why the girl next kept referring back to her school bag to check how to spell her name. Looking back now I can see Sangonchatti was probably a little difficult to manage for a five-year-old. All-in-all though, my first impressions of school were not too bad.


Emily Jade O’Keeffe, writer and broadcaster

We had recently moved to Bathurst and my uniform was a lovely maroon…I was destined to love the colour even though I was no longer living in QLD. My mum tells me that I was the only child who didn’t cry when I was dropped off, I cried when they came to pick me up because I wanted to stay with my new found friends. My teacher was Mrs Knight and she had long dark hair that she wore in braids and I remember her as being lovely and kind. She wore a lot of dropped waisted dresses which were the height of fashion at the time. My favourite part of school was when Mum did tuckshop, that meant I got a Paddle Pop at lunch time and I could choose one friend to have one with me…the power of the free Paddle Pop meant I was the most popular kid for the day and needless to say, I used and abused my Paddle Pop power.

See image above: Emily Jade in primary school


Ruby Slipperz, 96.5 family radio morning announcer

At the ripe old age of six and having already attended approximately six months of kindy, I could not believe that I was being sent to school from 9am in the morning to 3pm in the afternoon.  I kicked off my education at Harlaxton State School in Toowoomba, the month was January, the year 1972 and I was not happy – in fact I spent the day with my face in the corner of the Grade 1 room crying (it was a little like wanting to be retired at 45 and then realising it was not going to happen).


Margie Cummins, trainer and 2012 winner of The Biggest Loser Australia

I remember my first day of school at St Carthage’s preschool. It was so exciting! As the youngest of eight my siblings are a lot older than me, so I spent a lot of time on my own. Having heaps of kids the same age as me was such a thrill! I never had that separation anxiety many children experience and to be honest, I think my mum was happy to see me go. She was definitely ready for a break!


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