Alumni Joan Celebrates Her 108th Year And Returns To School!

Former pupil Joan will be turning 108 on Tuesday, 28 March, she returned to school for lunch and was interviewed by the current pupils from History Society.

As a young girl, Joan Kersey, attended Ipswich High School. To celebrate her momentous birthday Joan was invited for lunch at Ipswich High and was interviewed by the current pupils from the History Society. Joan Kersey was born in 1915 and has lived through two world wars, and two global pandemics. Joan attended Ipswich High from 1920 to 1933 when the school was an all-girls school based at Westerfield Road in Ipswich. After leaving Ipswich High School Joan attended a secretarial college in London and returned to Suffolk and worked at her fathers’ opticians before working as a secretary on a local farm estate until she retired at 70. Joan joked “I kept trying to retire but people kept finding me for work”.

To celebrate Joan’s momentous 108th birthday, she was personally invited to revisit her old school community and reminisce about her experience at the school. Joan arrived for a special luncheon of her favourite meal Fish and Chips, with members of Senior Leadership Team, Head Students from both Prep and Senior school in attendance. After the lunch, Joan was interviewed by students from the History Society. The students asked numerous questions of Joan about her experiences as a child and of attending Ipswich High School. Joan told the pupils “I enjoyed my time at the school and I still remember Miss Harebell my teacher from Upper Sixth. She was a good teacher and I believe she taught for a very long time”. As the celebrations were concluded Joan was presented with a cake with the old school emblem.

Mr Dan Browning, Head of Ipswich High commented: “Ipswich High School is a very special community, an extended family. It was wonderful today to welcome back Joan Kersey, one of our ‘Old Girls,’ to celebrate her 108th birthday. Joan was delighted with the cake that we had specially made for her and it was a joy to look through old photographs and documents from her time at the school and to hear her memories of school life in the 1920s. From all of us, we wish her a very happy birthday!” Charlie, Year 9 who interviewed Joan commented “Joan was really inspirational and nice. It is very interesting how things have changed.” Emme, Year 8 added, “Joan has lived through so much, it is incredible.”

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