Staff and students stepped back in time during emotional celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy site.
About 150 former pupils and ex-staff members met and shared their memories of the
academy, which was formerly Ilkeston County Secondary School, Ilkeston Grammar School and Ilkeston School.
The celebrations were being held to mark the 100th birthday of the King George Avenue building at the site and were the culmination of months of planning and preparation.
Mr Mitchell, 66, was a former student at Ilkeston, attending between 1958 and 1965. He returned as a teacher in 1969 before retiring in 2007.
He said: “It has been an emotional event and it’s been wonderful to meet many old students and staff.
“Everybody has got a new memory to share and something interesting to say. I met the brother of someone who went to school here in 1914 so there was a link from 1914 right to the present day.
“I have spent over 50 years of my life here so it is a very special place for me. It’s been a wonderful celebration.”
A limited edition book which will include memories of former staff and students is also being written for the 100th anniversary and is set to be available from September.
One hundred copies will be given to people who have contributed to the book and then it will be on general sale.
Teacher Kate Le Prevost organised the centenary celebrations with current students.
She said: “I am really pleased with how this event has gone. It seems like an age ago now that we were putting into place the plans to collect all of the information to start to have a full digital archive but putting the plans to reality has been a great job.
“The centenary day itself really went with a swing and the positive feedback I have had from staff and students has been overwhelming.
“It was amazing to put people in touch with one another again on the night. Some people had not had any contact for over 40 years and to
then meet here again where their friendship bloomed was beautiful.”
Principal Dave Smith added: “Sharing the 100th anniversary with students and staff from the past and present has been a fabulous experience. As ever, understanding our history allows us to shape our future and as we move into our second century we will use the stories of previous success to inspire and challenge our dreams for the future.
“We will use these memories as a foundation for the next stage of our improvement along with our new building.”