Speaker for final 2019 Excel Awards: Sandra Entermann

Sandra Entermann is guest speaker at our last Excel Awards tomorrow. She lives in Ipswich and attended BAC's sister school Ipswich Adventist School, then Ipswich State High School and finally Lowood State High School. We asked her a few questions a couple of years ago about her life now and her memories of school life in the 80s and 90s.

Q: What are some of your best memories of school, Sandra?

At Ipswich Adventist school, I remember the school musicals the most! The staff, volunteer parents, and friends poured so many hours into ensuring sets, props, costumes, and lines were all ready to roll. I remember well David & Goliath (1984), Antshillvania (1985), The Runaway (1986), Zack Jr (1987). I can still remember so many of the songs from those humble productions and snippets from the musical Naaman (1983) where Ewan McSherry came up with a dripping wet head after his seventh and final dip in ‘the River Jordan’ (a bucket of water behind a prop). Such an exciting moment for us little ones in the lower grades! ☺

Another highlight was being selected with my cousin Jason to head to TVQ - Channel O Studios - at Mt Coot-tha to give an interview on behalf of the school for the monies we raised for the 1984 Endeavour Foundation Telethon.  It was rather thrilling as a 10-year-old to meet so many television personalities, and be interviewed by “Perfect Match” host, Greg Evans.

Q: What is one thing you would definitely do if you had your time all over again? 

I would stop talking.  Every single report card I got—save for one (so that was thirteen report cards in total)—stated: Sandra talks too much, Sandra’s constant chatter needs to stop, Sandra needs to bridle her tongue, Sandra has a tendency to talk, Sandra needs to curb her chatter etc. Poor Miss Kelly, Miss Fitzclarence, and Mr Sandon. I recall trying to fight back the tears whenever I got caught. Just hated to disappoint my teachers. The very next year I was now at the bottom of the rung again, just a little Year 8 kid in the very big Ipswich State High School, where I determined to zip the lip lest I embarrass myself by tearing up if I got busted. I purposed to sit in the front row from then on and actually try and learn rather than be a distraction. Was asked to write a poem for the ISHS school magazine so I wrote about my primary school dilemma.


I have a little problem
I’m told I have to watch
It keeps me in at lunch times
And it pulls me back a notch

It gets me into trouble
When I’m as best as I know how
I say I’ll eventually stop it
But I’ll never stop it now

My friends just think it’s marvellous
My teachers send me out the door
My parents say it’ll have to stop
But I seem to do it all the more

So by now you must be wondering
Just what my problem could be
It’s only just a little thing
That in others I often see

Actually, it’s not really a problem
It’s a four-letter word that rhymes with ‘walk’
I call it “skill in communication”
It’s my tendency to talk 

Q: If you could spend half an hour letting the memories wash over you, what location at your Primary school IAS would you do that in and what would you be thinking about?     

I’d take a seat in the upstairs front classroom of the second building. This was where I spent Grades 4-7 with Mr Sandon. So many things would flood my mind:

  • Carefully covering all my exercise books with whatever was in vogue, and overlaying them with clear contact
  • Neatly lining the inside of my assigned desk on the first day of each school year with my newly purchased stationery that my mum allowed me to choose at Brodies (and learning to keep my fingers clear of the desk lid)
  • The feeling of importance when asked to run an errand for Mr Sandon
  • The blackboard divided into four sections, where he would lay out and go through each grade’s work for that class
  • Handwriting all my projects on the wonders of the world, Australian history, nature, the abstinence from harmful substances, etc
  • Playing BombJack on the very first Apple Macintosh Computer during morning recess and lunch. And remembering not to touch the centre of the floppy disks
  • Collecting yo-yos sponsored by Sprite, 7-Up, or Coca-Cola (knowing all the while mum would not approve of the latter)
  • Subjecting my poor teeth to one and two cent lollies at the store on the corner of Haig Street before and after school
  • Banking day on Tuesdays. Holding my very first bank account with my very own depositor’s passbook
  • Friday afternoon clean ups, and the race to get the non-broken carpet sweeper
  • Getting to know and love the Avondale prac-teachers whose time with us was always too short
  • Pineapple drives. Taking turns to skip class and go stand down at the road front to sell the pineapples we’d picked at the Sunshine Coast. Cutting them up to use as samples, and deciding all too often, “Hmm, not sweet enough for the public, we’ll just have to eat this one”
  • Hearing Mr Sandon’s famous, “Come in if you’re good looking!” and excitedly waiting for the knocking visitor’s reaction. Would they be brave and come into a class of giggling children with THAT as the prerequisite?
  • The utter joy of arriving at the classroom to find the TV on wheels perched up the front, knowing this was going to be a good class
  • School Camps at Maranatha
  • The discovery of Tipp-ex for all our mistakes
  • Recorder lessons with Mr Sandon, Ella Stark, or Mum (Marjorie Entermann), depending on your level of skill
  • Staining paper and burning the edges for that old look history project
  • The passing of notes when I lacked the courage to get away with talking
  • Clicking my fingers to get Mr Sandon’s attention because the politely raised hand was just not working
  • Using the vintage spirit duplicator ditto machine in the storeroom to make copies of some handout (ah the smell of the purple ink), and later on excitedly learning how to use the new photocopier
  • Switching out my salad sandwiches at lunchtime for my cousin Kym’s egg and lettuce sandwiches—they were the best!
  • Getting amongst all the crazes we went through … Nintendo Game Boys, Smurfs, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pound Puppies, Care Bears, and Barbie dolls. The trading of stickers, and rubbers, and even Danny Moore’s acquired military medals
  • Spins with Mr Sandon around the back oval prior to the majority of the students arriving of a morning. Those of us from Pine Mountain, whom he’d affectionately call the mountain maids and mountain men, were afforded this privilege a little more often than others.
  • Removing our black leather shoes and socks on a hot summer’s day for a run under the hose in an effort to cool down and concentrate better

Okay I need to stop, or we’ll be here ‘til Jesus comes!  I have way too many memories of those years. 

Q: What have you been up to in the intervening years? 

After Year 12, I enrolled at Griffith University to study Education, figuring I’d be a teacher. Lasted all of ten days. Decided to defer for 12 months to take a gap year. My gap year has turned into gap 25 years, and that whole time I’ve enjoyed working for my brother Gary and learning under his amazing tutelage. Always did look up to him and want to be like him. So today whilst I don’t claim to share all his knowledge and expertise, I do share his qualification as a glazier, and have been awarded by the Australian Glass & Glazing Association as the world’s first female Certified Glazier in the Master Glazier Program.

Also managed to acquire a few dust collectors at the Queensland Training Awards, being awarded Metropolitan Apprentice of the Year—an honour I gladly accepted. 

Aside from my full-time work with Gary, some other time-gobbling endeavours have been opening a business importing commercial goods for retail sale, working as a voice-over artist, maintaining a busy music ministry schedule, and some free-lance subcontracting in music and audio production. 

I’ve had the privilege of working on over 20 albums as producer, production assistant, or lead musician or sideman both here and the USA. One interesting development is that Elvis Presley’s pianist, Milton Smith, who played for Elvis in the latter part of his life and for his funeral, humbled himself and played on my latest album—adding the most beautiful orchestration to what we laid down. 

Music ministry is where my heart is! While the majority of my engagements have been at home in Australia, I have thoroughly enjoyed accepting invitations to sing in the Islands of the South Pacific, Asia, North America, the West Indies and Europe. One upcoming invitation I’m keen to accept is to sing in the Holy Lands. I am indebted to Three Angels Broadcasting Network and The Hope Channel for giving me exposure to a global audience. 

This little Ipswich girl has not forgotten her roots. They are still firmly planted here. I love this part of the world, still live here, and enjoy—among other responsibilities—being a youth mentor at Ipswich Church. I even enjoyed directing a choir at IAS in recent years.

I’ve had a few gaps from glazing including a 12 month volunteer stint in Florida, USA, a nine-month music production internship in Maryland USA and a three month study break with ARISE (A Resource Institute for Soul Winning & Evangelism) in Kingscliff NSW. Working for so long in the building and construction industry afforded me paid long-service leave, so I do get a giggle out of telling people the government paid me to go study the Bible!

There is no better thing do be able to do what you love, and at the same time help in sharing Jesus with a broken world. So I suppose I’m in the business of mending broken windows during the week, and broken hearts on the weekends. Wearing steels during the week, and heels on the weekend. What a life!