A kilted piper and tartan-sporting scottie dog ended the week at McKenzie elementary all in the name of the school’s 100th birthday.
Following behind mascot scottie, “Kenzie”, on Friday morning (May 11) students and staff paraded the same grounds on which McKenzie was first built as a one-room school house in 1912.
Principal Tom Thorson, clad in a bowler hat as a shout-out to one of the school’s many eras, spoke to the number of community members who have formed an attachment to McKenzie and those who returned to 4005 Raymond St., near McKenzie Avenue and Carey Road, to celebrate the landmark anniversary.
“Old or young, they were all McKenzie students and this is their school,” Thorson said. “This will always be your school as well.”
Students in kindergarten through Grade 5 students packed a time capsule with self portraits, finger prints and their predictions for their future, before paying homage to their school in song with a singing of Happy Birthday.
Current students Michael and Sebastian Carretaro – two of three fifth-generation McKenzie students in their family, along with their older sister, former student, Gabrielle – were among the young the young voices heard.
The Carreteros’ connection to the school can be traced back to their great-great-grandfather, John Percy Routley, the school’s principal in 1926. Every generation in the family since Routley’s day have attended the school, including the Carreteros’ mother, Alison.
“It’s neat to have seen it change so much,” Alison Carretero said. “It’s always had a real community feeling.”
1912: the one-room wooden school house is built on one acre of ground; total value: $2,500
1913: two rooms added to accommodate increasing enrolment
1918: two more rooms added, bringing the total size to five-rooms
1934: arsonist sets fire to school; all five classrooms (totalling $9,000 in value ) lost; Saanich council posts $500-reward
1954 to 1955: staff room and office added during a time when a three-room annex made of converted army huts is in use to accommodate expanding school population
1959: the areas known now as the old wing and old gym are completed
1963: the north wing added
1972: the library wing and four surrounding classrooms built
1977: the new gym constructed; minor alterations and renovations have followed
2004: the school becomes kindergarten to Grade 5 only