Cloverdale Traditional School students Ella (front) and Maddi Huxtable try out some vintage desks as they join vice-principal Sandra Jost in preparing for the May 26 event to celebrate the school’s centennial. Dan Ebenal/News Staff

Cloverdale School celebrates history in the making

Celebration marking the Saanich school’s 100th anniversary set for May 26

Cloverdale Traditional School will become the subject of its own history lesson this week.

Cloverdale is marking its 100th year of educating children and will swing open its doors on Friday to welcome back some of the thousands of students who have wandered its hallways over the years.

“We would love to see all former students, staff, parents to come and celebrate with us and share their stories,” said Cloverdale vice-principal Sandra Jost.

The celebration begins with a 9 a.m. assembly in the gym, where staff and students will be joined by dignitaries along with members of the public.

An orchestra made up of 50 Grade 5 students from the school’s strings program will perform for the guests, and students will sing a special birthday song written just for the occasion.

Following the hour-long assembly, students will return to class while the public is welcome to view the displays in the school gym from 10 to 11 a.m.

“We will have displays for each of the decades, with each one looking at things like food, transportation, fashion, music and toys of the time,” said Jost.

Preparing the displays for the centennial celebration has given students a front-row seat to a history lesson in the making.

“The idea of looking back and finding out what life was like 10, 20, 50 years ago – it’s kind of exciting to see the kids get interested in that personal history,” said Jost, who brought a strap into her class to let students see a more painful part of the school’s history.

“We talked about what the strap was and why it was received. Some of them even tried it on themselves and realized, even though they didn’t do it very hard, that it was painful.”

The students and their families will enjoy a family picnic at noon, while the school will be closed to the public from 1-3 p.m. as students view the displays.

The Quadra Street school will reopen to the public at 3 p.m., with an opportunity to visit the various classrooms. Last year’s Grade 5s will be returning to Cloverdale to officially unveil the buddy bench they raised funds for last year.

“It’s a place for children who are lonely to go and sit on the bench. That would be an identifier that somebody could come and join them and be a buddy,” said Jost.

From 6 to 8 p.m. the school will be open to adults only for a wine and cheese reception. There is a charge of $10, which includes a glass of wine and selection of cheese.

“It’s a chance for people to reconnect, reminisce and socialize,” said Jost, who has been in contact with former students going as far back as the 1940s.

“I had one gentleman phone who said his mother or grandmother was a student back in the ‘20s and asked if we would like her class photos and report cards.”

Those wishing to attend the reception are asked to RSVP at https://goo.gl/forms/S8shWxyOeHDTPULP2.

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