Gathering a last hurrah at current school
When past Oak Bay High students and teachers reunite next month, they’ll be saying hello to one another and goodbye to the building that once served as their second home.
“It’s celebrating a milestone,” said Oak Bay vice-principal Garrett Brisdon. “It’s celebrating a tradition of excellence for decades and saying goodbye to the old facility and home and recognizing alumni.”
The school opened in 1929 and was upgraded in 1978. Work on the new Oak Bay High is expected to get underway in the next school year.
Principal Dave Thomson said the hope is for the Ministry of Education to approve the project within the next couple of weeks so crucial construction funding will flow.
Noted Brisdon: “This time next year we’ll be digging a big hole in the rugby field.”
The current school will remain at the site for a few years to come, but it will eventually be demolished to make way for new sports fields.
One aim of the all-years reunion, set for May 14 and 15, is to ensure alumni feel they are a part of the new school. Their feedback on such things as building design will also be sought.
“We’re changing the face of an institution in our community,” said Thomson. “We want to make sure our alumni are as attached to the new structure and are attached and connected to the new place as we are.
“The people who came before us need to be recognized.”
All that’s left is getting people to come.
“It’s trying to open the alumni association and trying to get people who really have a passion – because it was their school – to be involved,” said Susan McKelvie, alumni association president. The last time an all-years reunion was held was five years ago.
“We’re reaching out to our alumnus faculty also.”
The event will be an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by past students, including such notables as TV host Vicki Gabereau, artist Roy Henry Vickers and Nobel laureate, UVic professor and climate change expert, Andrew Weaver.
“I think (the event) will show the community what a strong facility it has been in developing … citizens in the local and larger community,” Brisdon said.
The reunion schedule features a wine and cheese at the University of Victoria from 7 p.m. to midnight on the Saturday. Tickets are $20. An open house at Oak Bay High the next day will see current students give school tours, and an artist’s rendering of the new school will be available for perusal.
The registration deadline is April 20 and forms are available oakbay.sd61.bc.ca.