Members of Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary’s graduating class of 1960 gathered for their 55-year high school reunion last month at Newlands Golf Course.

School ties endure as Lord Tweedsmuir High’s class of 1960 reunites

Was the first class to graduate from the 'new' Cloverdale school (Surrey's original high school) a bit of a handful?

Has it been 55 years already?

Members of Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary’s class of 1960 – and three of their teachers – got together for lunch last month for a 55-year reunion.

The class was the first to graduate as students in the “new” school building, which opened in 1957, according to long-time Cloverdale resident and alumnus Alan Clegg.

There were 51 students in the graduating class, and 15 were able to make it to this year’s gathering, a buffet luncheon held last month at Newlands Golf Course in Langely. They last got together five years ago, in 2010, for their 50th reunion.

Clegg said John Parolin, who taught English, Bill Derpak who taught Grade 12 math and was the school’s vice principal, and Phys Ed teacher Neil Inglis were all able to join their former students at the event.

From the sounds of it, the class of 1960 was a bit of a handful, judging by a tale Clegg relates involving a Grade 12 experiment gone awry.

The assignment was to make chlorine gas – slowly, by carefully adding volatile elements together. But some students poured in the ingredients too quickly (“Some of the lads leaned to mischief,” Clegg winks), resulting in an excessive amount of poison gas that rapidly accumulated into a thick, roiling layer that poured into the classroom and into the hallways.

The entire school had to be evacuated. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

“We stood on 180 Street and watched the gas roll out of the windows,” he says.

Their high school graduation dance was held in the school gym. Elvis Presley was popular, he says.

Students were joined by their parents at the event, along with school board dignitary, the Superintendent of Schools.

“I proposed the toast to the parents,” recalls Clegg. “I was frozen in fear. I never enjoyed my dinner.”

Clegg’s wife Lorna didn’t attend Lord Tweedsmuir.

Today, the Cleggs are proud parents of three children who attended the school.

Cloverdale Public School, a five-room schoolhouse, opened in 1912. One room contained a class for first-year high school. The first student graduated in 1917, the year the school was renamed Cloverdale Superior School.

The new Surrey High School opened east of the elementary school in 1922 – located in what is currently known as Cloverdale Traditional School.

For years, it was Surrey’s only high school.

But in 1940, Semiahmoo and Queen Elizabeth high schools opened, ushering in a name change. Surrey High was renamed in honour of the late John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, the popular Governor General of Canada.

Lord Tweedsmuir High School moved to a new school building on 180 Street that opened in 1957, serving grades 9 and up.

In September 1993, Cloverdale Junior Secondary and Lord Tweedsmuir Senior Secondary joined together to form Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, and moved into the new building constructed on the 180 Street site.

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