Cleve Area School | A celebration of 70 sensational years

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Cleve Area School marks a magnificent milestone this year, and members of the community are encouraged to join in the fun.

The school's 70th birthday celebrations will take place on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19.

The school decided to buck the trend of a formal dinner, instead hosting a free spring fair to allow students to get involved and to encourage the whole community to attend.

School principal Ray Marino said it was a chance for community members to see what the school has been doing, with visitors able to tour Sims Farm, a commercially-operational farm where the school's agriculture students are involved in running merino sheep and producing a variety of crops. Its scale is one-of-a-kind in SA and the facility was central to Cleve's winning application for the inaugural SA Ag Town of the Year award in 2019.

"It (the celebration) gives us another vehicle to promote the school and what it offers," Mr Marino said, adding the biggest changes former students should expect would be the new building at the school for senior classrooms and a variety of changes at Sims Farm.

Governing council chairperson Deb Taheny said the event would be based on a traditional school fair and take visitors on a trip down memory lane.

"It was a yearly event the school used to have. The vision was to go back in time a bit and recreate the fair," she said, adding some former students would take the opportunity to get together for reunions.

Current students have been involved in preparing the fair. A highlight will be an 'old-school assembly', which has been scripted by former Cleve Area School students from the 50s and 60s - David Reed and Mary Edwards - who both still live in town.

Attendees can expect to be asked to salute the flag and honour the Queen as students would have for much of the 20th century, with the assembly also featuring speeches about the school.

Some school sporting activities are also planned to add to the nostalgia, and current and past students and staff will provide music from 7pm, including former student Gemma Leonard and principal Ray Marino's band featuring Peter DuBois, Geoff Illman, Chris Burton and Jock Duncan.

Local businesses have thrown their support behind the event. Deb Taheny said a celebration of the school not focused specifically on sports or arts is a real opportunity for people to get together and celebrate, and as the district heads into what promises to be a difficult harvest after low rainfall in July, August and September, it is a good time to bring people together.

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Mr Marino said the school was also an integral part of the Cleve community and one of its largest employers that has educated thousands.

He said services such as the pastoral care worker at the school have also been shared with the wider community, supporting many families, and the agricultural programs also provided an economic and social boost to the town with more young people living in the community and playing in local sporting teams.

"Sims Farm has brought in boarders that not only help increase the numbers at the school but also spend more in the community. It's educating grassroots farmers... the food producers of the future," he said.


  • Celebrations commence at 4pm
  • Food, drinks and activities available from 4-6pm
  • Old Style Assembly will commence at 6pm in front of the stage area on the lawn
  • Short break to access food and drinks
  • Concert to start at 7pm
  • Evening to close at 10pm


  • Egg and bacon breakfast at 9am
  • Sims Farm and school tours 10am-1pm