Joann Clar and Wendy Gedney look over a set of Mount Douglas secondary school class photos from the 1930s.

Mount Douglas alumni seek grads, artefacts for school’s 85th

Mount Douglas secondary school has a long history in Saanich, celebrating 85th anniversary in the fall ion 2016

From the very early 1930s to 1958, students who attended Mount Douglas secondary were written into a register that included their age, address, their fathers’ names and occupations as well as their nationality.

For instance, back in 1938, Geoff Vantreight’s father was listed as an Irish farmer and Norman Lambrick’s father was an English dairy farmer. Then there was Gerald Irvine whose father was an electrician and Bruce McMorran whose father had a summer resort. Many of those families are still in the vicinity.

Mount Douglas secondary school has a long history in Saanich – 85 years in fact. The school was originally where Cedar Hill middle school is now and its current location since 1970. Name changes and campus moves were necessary as the school filled and more space was required.

The Mount Douglas Alumni Association wants to preserve as much history as it can and with that in mind they are holding an 85th anniversary celebration in November and are seeking memorabilia. Many of the original alumni have passed on while many others moved out of the old neighbourhood.

“We want to preserve the history of the school,” said Wendy Gedney, president of the Mount Douglas Alumni Association. “No one has done the history of Mount Douglas.”

One of the items they are seeking is school annuals for the years 1966 and 1979. They have all of the others except these two. It wasn’t until 20 years after the school started that they even printed annuals, and association would love to have a complete set.

Gedney said many people are downsizing and perhaps don’t know what to do with those old high school memories. The alumni association would love to have whatever memorabilia people may want to donate.

Memorabilia could include old newspaper articles, newsletters, photos, trophies, jerseys or  jackets.

“If you are downsizing, don’t chuck it, we would be glad to have it,” said Gedney, whose father was a Vantreight.

The 85th anniversary celebration plans are underway and the association would love to have everyone who went to, sent their kids to, was connected to, or taught at Mount Douglas to attend the November 4-5 event.

One of the interesting aspects is the list of former alumni, which includes people such as David Foster, Nelly Furtado, Steve Nash and other assorted film directors and millionaires. While all may not have graduated from Mount Douglas, they did attend. Folks who attended any of the feeder school like Cedar Hill, Arbutus. Gordon Head are all welcome.

It’s a generous definition, said Gedney. “The whole community is invited.”

Gedney’s passions evident when she shows off the archives and for her it is reconnecting to a earlier time that is important to her.

“I had a lot of fun, I enjoyed school, even though I wasn’t an academic star. I feel we need to carry on and continue to celebrate with these people,” said Gedney.

Joann Clar, director of the association and co-chair of the 85th Anniversary Committee said, “I like the history of the school and the area. We want to tie in the then and the now. It’s a lot about giving back. It is so interesting to have people back and to reconnect.”

Gedney said this weekend celebration will be mainly a “friend-raiser”.

“We are a non-profit and raise money for the student bursaries, these events will have either a nominal charge or by donation for entrance.”

Other committee members include: Doug and Sandi Bertram, co-chair Kirsten Mawle, Ross Morgan, Christine Thate, Diane Frampton and Kathy Thomson.

There is a Facebook page set up: Mount Doug 85th Anniversary. Interested folks can sign up for the newsletter on the Facebook page.

If anyone wants to donate memorabilia they can call Wendy Gedney at 250-477-1213 or email: wgedney@telus.net.

“Things are shaping up – it’s exciting,” said Gedney.

 

news@saanichnews.com

 

 

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