Lord Tweedsmuir students celebrate 60th high school reunion

'It doesn't seem like sixty years, not one bit,' says one of the organizers of the reunion for the year 1955.

Sixty years melted away for 21 alumni who gathered in Cloverdale late last month to celebrate their high school reunion.

A few weeks ago, Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary students from the year 1955, met at Elizabeth’s Chalet Restaurant to reminisce and get reacquainted over lunch.

“It just doesn’t seem like 60 years, not one bit,” says Mary (Goudie) Gilholme. “We had a grand time visiting, catching up on some of the past 60 years, and telling each other how good we look for our age.”

Former students came from Montreal, Edmonton, Terrace, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Victoria, Port Alberni, and even as far away as Saratoga, CA, to attend the luncheon, tantalizingly held just west of their old high school. Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary was originally located at 17857 56 Avenue (Highway 10). Today, it’s home to Cloverdale Traditional School, an elementary school.

After lunch, they wandered next door, where the principal invited them inside for a tour. When it was over, the students from 1955 posed for a group photo on the school steps – a Lord Tweedsmuir tradition back in the day.

“We used to line up like that every year in late spring to have class photos taken,” remembers Gilholme, who helped coordinate the 60th reunion along with Gladys (Ziola) Bittner.

It was the same for team, student council, and club pictures, including the Hi-Y club for senior girls.

Gilholme said their class graduation dance was held on June 2, 1955 at the Tara Supper Club, which was located on the northwest corner of King George Highway and Crescent Road in South Surrey.

Since that year, the Lord Tweedsmuir students of 1955 have held reunions every decade, but Gilholme says they’re now considering getting together again in five years – in 2020.

A group of the women have been getting together regularly since 1994, two or four times a year, but in some cases the classmates reuniting in 2015 hadn’t seen each other for much longer than that.

“One fellow from New West – I hadn’t seen him for sixty years. That was really neat,” she said, adding about a dozen or so spouses came along, too. “It was just wonderful.”

Many of the students started school together in Grade 1. Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary was next to an elementary school, and a tiny primary school. “You went from school, to school to school, in the same yard,” she says.

She and her classmates have an equally enduring connection – they went through the Second War years together.

“It’s just that bond,” she said, adding Cloverdale at the time was a tight-knit community as well, meaning you didn’t just know your fellow students, “You knew the family.”

Quite a few Cloverdale residents in those days lived on acreages and had cows. Her dad worked at the Surrey Co-op, which is long gone.

“Cloverdale has changed but the core is still there,” she said.

“I think there’s more tradition here. We knew the history.”

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