One more year of abject failure still had to be endured before school life would start to improve.
|Look for the smallest guy in row 2 (behind Mr Herbert)|
In retrospect, as there was 'Upper 5', 'Junior 5' and so on, there may well have been other reasons for calling it Senior 5 as it was made up of new fifth formers and some incorrigible repeaters; some real hard nuts, like Brian Wood, who gave the teachers complete crap whenever they could. A renaissance man with a poem published in 1973's The Albertian, Brian was hilarious!
Fifth form meant sitting School Certificate: the first big hurdle that had to be negotiated to get into sixth form. It was replaced by Level 1 NCEA in NZ.
Truly, I spent the year in a daze. I can remember nothing specific about the year - who my teachers were, or what I studied. Nothing. In terms of the classroom, it's like 1973 didn't exist.
Instead, I lived in another world: an alternative universe - writing to my cousin Christine who lived in the far off kingdom of England where my music and football team came from, playing football and listening to music. That's what I remember.
After Deedoo and Grandma came back from their world cruise in 197o/71, they brought me back two wonderful presents: a magazine from the Daily Mirror celebrating Arsenal's double (I instantly fell in love with Charlie George and the team), and an address in Rochdale.
When I started writing to her, Christine Purdy, a few years older than me, became the big sister I never had. Only a few family relationships now survive: little brother Ross and Christine.
When November rolled around and the exams started I was terribly nervous and amazingly immature as a student. As per 1971 and 1972, it's not that I didn't try, it's that I didn't know shit and I was found out big time. We were living at a rental in Asquith Avenue in Mt Albert while Ramelton Road was being built. I remember throwing up at home in the garage before heading off to my maths exam. Clearly, I wasn't in the best shape for three hour exams.
To pass and move to the sixth form I needed to get four subjects over 50%. When the results came out in January, I had failed spectacularly in French, in maths, in chemistry, in geography.
The good news was little consolation: a prize for art and a pass in English, but just barely, with 50%. Subsequently, my 48% for geography went to 50% on a recount.
Two subjects was a long way off the target. Those days, at this school, the next year meant a repeat of fifth form and another attempt at School Certificate.
Crap. My brother was catching up to me. There was no chance the boy genius wouldn't fly through School C. I was worried.
|Under 16A -Look for the smallest guy in the back row - I was really immature! In front of me - Pete Cahill, to his left Steven Sinclair, and to his right goalie extraordinaire: Mike Budd. |
What would 1974 do to us? Would we pass and go to the sixth form? Would we fail? What would that mean?
It was a scary time, but I had no choice in the matter. I was a second year fifth!
Love and peace - Wozza