Lord Tweedsmuir celebrates 100 years of high school spirit
In Cloverdale, it’s hard to find someone without a connection to Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
And whether they’re current students or staff, or among the literally thousands of alumni who’ve walked the halls over the years, they all seem to agree – it’s a special place.
This Saturday, Surrey’s oldest high school hosts its 100 Year Reunion.
All former students, staff, grads and friends of the school have been invited to the celebration, running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school.
Up to 1,500 people are expected to attend, says Alan Clegg, president of the Lord Tweedsmuir Alumni Association and a proud member of the graduating class of 1960.
Former students and staff are coming from as far away as Nova Scotia, California and Hawaii, says Clegg.
He recommends pre-registering online at LordTweedsmuirReunion.ca to avoid waiting in long lineups to get inside the school June 2, when the $12 entry fee will be cash-only.
Originally called Surrey High School, the school was renamed in 1940 to honour Lord Tweedsmuir, the much-loved and admired governor general who passed away that year.
A very special guest has also RSVP’d – Deborah Buchan, Lady Stewartby, the great granddaughter of John Buchan, the first Lord Tweedsmuir, Canada’s 15th Governor General, who will be on hand for the opening ceremonies at 1 p.m.
“I am very much looking forward to being at the Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School for their celebrations, representing my brother, Lord Tweedsmuir and the wider Buchan family,” she said in a statement.
A number of former teachers are attending, including Margaret Spall (Hansen), who taught Grade 7 from 1946 to ‘48 and celebrates a birthday of her own on June 2.
“I feel very honoured that the alumni chose my 91st as the day to celebrate the 100th anniversary,” she said, adding she hopes to catch up with some of the early 1950s graduates.
Retired vice principal Rick Hugh, a Lord Tweedsmuir grad (‘72) is also attending, and so is his wife, Cindy O’Brien Hugh (Class of ‘76), who happens to work in the school’s office. Both of their fathers went to Tweedsmuir, too.
It’s not unusual to find three successive generations of the same family who have gone to the school, says school principal Alan Buggie.
One hundred years after starting off in 1912 as a first year junior high class added to the five room Cloverdale Public School, Surrey’s original high school still seems to operate as a large extended family.
Buggie says that’s because for 85 years, Lord Tweedsmuir was Cloverdale’s only secondary school, unlike Surrey’s other town centres, which have had two or even three secondary schools serving residents.
He says until 1999, when Clayton Heights Secondary was built, Lord Tweedsmuir “was really the focus of the community” in a way that’s truly unique in all of Surrey.
“That’s why Tweedsmuir has retained such a strong community connection.”
One need only look at the way the school community – and Cloverdale – is pulling together to support one of their own to see that this close connection is still intact. (See this week's related story “’Cloverdale family’ rallies for youth.")
Meanwhile, former students and staff have already been catching up online at the reunion website. It makes for interesting browsing for those wanting to reminisce, search for old pals or brush up on school history.
The “Classmates” section where alumni and former staff can post updates and greetings has swollen to 17 pages and counting. (There’s a memorials page, too, fortunately much shorter.)
“Who knew we’d be so excited about going back to school?” writes Lucille Chadderton (Class of ‘53). “Will there be a test?”
Amy Wright (Gagnon) of Cloverdale says she hasn’t moved far away, and now lives closer to her former high school than she did before. “Now having a 13-year-old in Tweedsmuir, I’m feeling older than ever.”
With several informal class reunions planned, too, it’s shaping up to be a genuine homecoming weekend in Cloverdale.
And if you didn’t go to Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, or work there, good luck getting a seat at a local pub Saturday night.
Individual class years and even entire decades are planning to meet up after the day’s formal events come to a close.
Alumni from the 1970s are invited to Bogy’s Pub from 7 p.m. on, while the classes of 1982 to ‘88 are heading to Dublin Crossing. The classes of 1990, ‘91 and ‘95, meanwhile, are going to meet up at Rusty’s Pub. (Get there early if you want a seat.)
The Class of 1961 will be gathering at Boston Pizza, while the Class of 1963 is meeting at a private residence (it’s BYOB). And finally, all classes and staff from the 1960s are invited to drop by Winners lounge at the Newlands Country Club in Langley after 5 p.m.
Lord Tweedsmuir has undergone several name and location changes over the years.
The original school was located just west of today’s Cloverdale Traditional School on 56 Avenue. In 1922, Surrey High School moved to present day Cloverdale Traditional School, where it stayed until 1957. That year it moved to its current location on 180 Street near 60 Avenue. The present high school at 6151 180 Street was built in 1993.
The 100 Year Reunion has been arranged into three core times according to class years: 1912 to 1969 will gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 1970 to 1989 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., and 1990 to present are from 2-4 p.m.
The welcome and introduction is set for 1 p.m.
Food and beverages are being provided by Lord Tweedsmuir Band parents. Proceeds support the school’s music program.
Cloverdale Traditional School, the former Surrey High School, will be open from 10 to 11 a.m. for tours.
– For more information and to pre-register, visit www.lordtweesmuir renunion.ca.
See related: True to their school for 100 years, Old-school reunion planned for Surrey's first high school, Website launched for centennial reunion bash.
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