Historic reunion in works for first Paul Kane grads
Organizers looking for high schoolers from the '60s
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
A local woman is hoping to bring back some golden memories of high school.
Donna Carter, née Burton, was one of the graduates from Paul Kane High School’s first graduating classes. She, along with fellow grads, is hosting a special reunion in May.
If the early response to the event is any indication, it could be a well-attended gathering.
“We sent out 90 invitations and we probably got a hold of 90 or 100 people,” she said.
Word of mouth is important in spreading news of the reunion. Over time, people have moved away and she has lost track of so many high school chums. Carol Pederson Drayton, one of her co-organizers, is looking forward to the event, despite now living in Oklahoma.
Carter said the idea came about when the two realized that they would both turn 65 this year, which also happens to be the school’s 50th anniversary. The timing couldn’t have been better.
In October they started their search through the Internet and through old contacts. The results were promising.
“We were absolutely surprised when we were able to contact a number of people. As we contacted classmates, we were able to find out of more by association. It has been quite an experience. I have caught up with classmates I had not heard of since 1966.”
She added that she now has gotten back in touch with some people from as far away as Southampton, England and across Canada and the United States.
“Most of the people I spoke to are really enthusiastic about seeing everyone again.”
She added that the focus is on the graduating classes from the first few graduating years but anyone who graduated in the ’60s is welcome to attend.
Carter left Paul Kane with some fond memories.
“In 1963 the school opened and we all moved over there. We were the first students in the school. It was revolutionary! It was called a ‘windowless school.’ Each classroom only had one window. It was a really big experiment they were doing. It was quite exciting being a student in that school.”
In Dave Geddes’ book, Building the Lighthouse, he notes that many students perceived it as a prison-like setting. He remarked that some classrooms also had partition walls that could be rolled back to join classes.
“This was to allow teachers to practise ‘team teaching,’ another latest! In practice it meant that the noise in any classroom was shared equally with the class next door.”
The reunion will be held on May 18 and 19 with a formal dinner on Saturday and an informal picnic lunch in Lions Park the next day.
Tickets are $55 and the registration deadline is April 15 to give the organizers a good sense of how many old friends to expect. Late registrants would likely still be accepted.
More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page (Paul Kane Reunion: 1964 – 1966) or on its formal website at www.paulkane-reunion.ca.