WHEN five-year-old Curtis Wilkinson starts Kindergarten on Monday, he’ll become the ninth link in the family’s connection to Blackalls Park Public School, spanning three generations.
Curtis’s mother, Elizabeth Wilkinson, said the family’s roots ran deep at the school, and were tracking to run even deeper.
“It’s a fantastic school, with a great reputation, and considering how family oriented we are, it’s great that we’ve been able to continue the connection,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
It all started with the late Janice and Kenneth Wilkinson – Curtis’s great-grandparents – more than 50 years ago.
The couple had three sons - Steve, Murray and Andrew, and a daughter, Lee – who were the first Wilkinsons to attend school at Blackalls Park.
Murray grew up to have three sons – Ayden, Cameron and Jarrad – and they, too, went to Blackalls Park.
Now Ayden and wife Elizabeth have two sons – Curtis, 5, and Cohen, 3 – and they are set to continue the tradition.
But the ties don’t end there.
Mrs Wilkinson’s mother, Leanda Guy (Curtis’s grandmother), was assistant principal at the school for seven years from 2005.
Mrs Wilkinson said the family’s links to the school had helped Curtis prepare for the big day.
“A month ago, Curtis was getting a bit nervous about starting big school, but Ayden sat him down and explained that he had been through the same school, and that it would be fun, and he’d be able to play with all of his friends,” she said.
“It comforted Curtis to learn that Daddy had been through that school, too.”
Mrs Wilkinson said sending Curtis to Blackalls Park was an easy decision.
“Even if we had lived a little bit outside of the area, we’d have still sent him,” she said.
“And not just because it has become a family tradition, but because of the quality of the school.”
Mrs Wilkinson said she wished Curtis’s great grandmother, Janice, were alive to see him start school.
“Janice would have absolutely loved to have seen this. Family and tradition were very important to her.”
And that tradition looks likely to extend even further.
Mrs Wilkinson said she was pregnant with the couple’s third son, Khy.
Her hope was that Curtis, Cohen and Khy would attend the school at the same time.
She said the family hadn’t ruled out the possibility of a fourth generation of the Wilkinson clan attending Blackalls Park Public School.
“If Curtis grows up and lives in this area, I can’t see why he wouldn’t send his future children to Blackalls Park,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
Curtis, meanwhile, said he was especially looking forward to playing sports at school.
“Sport has always been such a big thing for our whole family,” Mrs Wilkinson said.