A Golden Anniversary

My high school, G.L. Roberts C.V.I., celebrated its 50th anniversary this weekend with an open house, a silent auction, alumni basketball, volleyball and golf tournaments, various Lakers (that was our sports team’s name) swag, and a dance.

It had been a long time since I graced those halls and it brought back a lot of memories. Most of them good – it was high school after all. There were some not so great days sprinkled in there too.

A lot has changed but a lot stayed the same. My locker is gone, and the stairwell where we used to do our lacrosse conditioning is now an elevator. (Coulda used that during lacrosse season, though I suppose it would have defeated the purpose! LOL) But there was still the big gym and the little gym, the newly renovated lecture theatre where we had health class with boys on one side and girls on the other separated by a partition and learning vastly different lessons on the importance of safe sex and personal health and grooming, the library and cafetorium – which was our combination cafeteria (with THE BEST french fries and gravy in the world – biased opinion acknowledged) and auditorium where we held convocation ceremonies, student assemblies, and drama class.

I toured the school with my lifelong friend and fellow alumni, Michele, who is now an educator herself. Together we climbed the stairs and peeked into classrooms and humourously could not agree on where the law class was, or the typing room. Nor could we agree on which floor the biology lab was – let alone which end of the building it was on, but what we could agree on was the energy of the day and the nostalgia of the moment.

It was so wonderful to walk those halls with someone who remembered what it was like. The good and the bad. What it looked like, smelled like – what it felt like being a student there all those years ago.

This image, the masking tape, the beige cardstock and red lettering, the way it barely sticks to the wall, so starkly reminded me of the school I felt compelled to take this photograph.

Along for the tour were our husbands and Michele’s younger sister, who each went to different high schools than us and each other, so they got to tag along, watching us wander aimlessly, pointing out what was new and old, and listening to us tell tales of old teachers and lessons learned.

The recessed seating concourse area, lovingly referred to as ‘The Pit’, where we would hold pep rallies, and spirit week celebrations, holding events like auctioning off the chance to throw a pie in the face of one of your teachers was a much-loved tradition, that as one can well imagine, raised a lot of money for whatever charity we were supporting, now boasts a beautiful mural celebrating Black Excellence and it made me proud to see it there, recognizing Black achievement every day, something not so recognized or celebrated when I was in attendance.

Black Excellence is You, Michele!

Admittedly, while I attended there I did not venture much into the vocational side of the Collegiate and Vocational Institute (C.V.I.) – even though that was the side of the school where my locker was located. It smelled of gasoline and oil all day. I was intrigued but I never did venture inside.

Now, 25 years later, I was excited to see the auto shop, the welding shop and the woodworking shop, each their own large classrooms with an extensive array of tools to provide the school’s students with an impressive opportunity to learn a skilled trade. They even have a new hairstyling school, which was big and bright and beautiful. They were offering blowouts in preparation for the evening’s festivities and many people, both staff and alumni, took advantage. I was quite impressed.

G.L. has certainly grown up over the years and I look back at my time there fondly. It played a huge role in helping me become the person I am today and I am grateful to the staff and my fellow classmates for those experiences – yes, even the not so pleasant ones, because, without them, I could not have become this particular version of me. And I kinda like me. ;o)

Thank you to G.L. Roberts C.V.I. staff old and new as well as the numerous volunteers who helped make this 50th anniversary celebration special for so many people.

Here’s to another 50 years!

3 thoughts on “A Golden Anniversary

  1. Wow. You actually went to the reunion. That’s awesome. I’m stuck in the wilderness so I missed my chance. Glad you had fun.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

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