Saturday, May 22, 2010

Celebrating 50 years of Rideau District High School

Last night Anne and I returned to the first high school at which I taught, Rideau District High School in the rural village of Elgin, Ontario. I taught Geography there from September 1968 to June 1972.

Elgin is just an hour and a quarter south of Ottawa, so it was an easy journey. The roads are very familiar with the last section on Highway 15. There has been little change to the roads. They are still meandering two-lane highways cutting through the bush and skirting lakes.

Anne and I moved to Elgin for my first teaching position two years after we emigrated from England to Canada. We bought with us one son, Julian, born in Montreal. In Elgin we brought two more sons in the world to complete our family.

Rideau DHS was a school that had been built just eight years earlier in 1960. The staff were fun to work with and the students were hard-working rural children, mostly from the farms in the surrounding area.

Last night's reunion centered around displays of memorabilia by the decade including Yearbooks, phys. ed uniforms, old photos etc. It also featured a wine and cheese reception in the old cafeteria that overflowed into the assembly hall next door.

It was a noisy and joyous occasion. We met at least one dozen of the teachers I taught with as well as many of my "old" students. Its amazing how these teenagers have aged!

One student recalled a story of how I was dealt with by one of my students. (I do not remember this story!) Apparently, I was insisting that a particular large student, Don Sherwood (?), leave my class so I could talk to him privately in the corridor outside. Don did not think this was right, so he left his desk, picked me up, put me over his shoulder and deposited me outside. He then returned to the class, shut the door and returned to his desk. The story says I returned to the front of the class and continued on as if nothing had happened. (The student story-teller did add that I was one of his favourite teachers and that both he and Don played on the rugby team I coached.)

Anne and I enjoyed our years in Elgin so long ago. The one enduring memory staff and students have of us is that we were the family that moved on from there to Red Lake.

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