FIFTEEN years of achievements on-board Stagecoach Swindon were celebrated with a party at St Joseph’s Catholic College.
Students past and present were invited, along with their families, to watch the teachers, including principal Sheryll Fox, put on some entertainment on Saturday, as well as slideshows with messages from those associated with the school over the years.
Sheryll moved herself from Stagecoach’s headquarters in Surrey to Swindon to set up the franchise in 1999. She has continued as principal until the present day and puts the school’s longevity down to its achievements with each student.
“It’s the people that keep it going,” she said. “You get so involved in supporting people in their lives, whether it’s performing arts or just getting their confidence to grow.
“You get to know people’s families.
“You nurture all the students and you watch all the teachers grow and develop too.
“It’s a whole circle, where you are feeding each other, that keeps me fired up – all the things they manage to achieve.”
The school runs classes for aspiring actors, singers and dancers as young as four-years-old.
Those who began as youngsters with the school at its inception are now in their late teens and early 20s.
The work put in by those children at an early age is now beginning to bear fruit, according to the principal, who said a 15th anniversary was a milestone which deserved to be recognised at the weekend.
“It’s always important to mark milestones like this, to look back at all the memories and look at all those things that have been achieved,” said Sheryll.
“We keep contact with all of our older students and this gives us all a really nice chance to celebrate just where we are at, with them.
“We are just getting to the stage now, where those who started with us at four or five-years-old are just making their way into the industry or university.
“We have just had one of our ex-students, Shannon Saunders, sign her first record contract.
“We’ve also got one of our other students in a stage production of Billy Elliot.
“There is another who has been named technical director on the upcoming run of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
However, despite the milestone, things do not slow down for the school from here.
Sheryll revealed plans for a performance at Disney Land Paris in the summer of 2015 for a selection of the 180 pupils currently training at the school.