The Esperance Residential College celebrated 50 years since their official opening on Saturday, September 8.
College manager Peter Jarzabek said over 100 people attended the open day including students, former students, past and current parents and past and current staff.
“A couple of the ex-students could not believe how much the college had reformed itself in terms of facilities,” he said.
“We have 90 single rooms and they said ‘we never had single rooms back in our time’, it was a dormitories with 20 beds.
“They saw air conditioning, new ablutions and a great entrance.”
Mr Jarzabek said the event had a really great atmosphere and lasting friendships were a key takeaway.
“They all talked about lifelong friendships,” he said.
“When I did a talk with Shire president Victoria Brown, that was what we talked about.
“It was great to get everybody back here.”
Mr Jarzabek said people resided at the college from all around WA in order to attend Esperance Senior High School.
The furthest student originates from South Hedland, with many students from the Goldfields-Esperance region and from the Perth metropolitan area.
“What a great thing for Esperance town,” he said.
“All these parents come down here and spend the weekend here and so there is money from outside coming into the local economy.”
Mr Jarzabek said the open day was a good opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the college and what it had brought to the community and to students.
“I wanted to thank the local community for the support they have provided,” he said.
“Going to high school is hard enough, but for a lot of these kids it’s too hard to travel because they don’t have a senior high school in their area.
“This allows students in Norseman, for example, to attend Year 11 and 12 in the region.”
Mr Jarzabek said the college already had ‘state of the art facilities’, but would continue to build relationships in the community.
“I’ve lived here all my life and you smooth a lot of waters with people by having good relationships,” he said.
Esperance Shire president Victoria Brown and college students buried a time capsule with various items.
The capsule will be dug up in 2043 on the 75th year anniversary of the official opening.
The college has around 90 students enrolled and employs 20 staff.
It is the second largest government run residential college in WA.