Six decades of history will be celebrated at the 60th anniversary open house of Aldergrove Community Secondary School.
A great deal of planning and preparation has gone into hosting the event which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the school on 29th Avenue.
“We’ve been putting the word out any and every way we can, to invite past and present students, retired administrators and staff to come and share the day with us,” said ACSS principal Jeremy Lyndon.
The official ceremonies will be held in the main gymnasium, where a new mural will be unveiled on an existing wall. The mural will be of a Totem Pole, which has been the school’s symbol since it was dedicated by the student council of the day.
The mural is being created by local artist Dean Lauze, who also created the outstanding mural on the Aldergrove Legion several years ago. The school district has prepared the wall for the permanent mural.
Inside the school there will be six “Decade Rooms” in which displays will recreate the spirit of the ‘50s, ‘60s and son to up until the 2010s.
“Some displays will be generic, representing popular culture, with artifacts people have loaned. They will all look very different,” said Lyndon.
“There will be lots of photos from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and so on. It will be interesting to see how the high school experience as changed over the decades.”
The school’s drama department will present a variety of short skits in the Dramnasium, and the high school band will also be performing.
“The event will actually go on till about 6 p.m. as there will be two end of the day alumni basketball games in the gym,” said Lyndon.
The school will also hold a student pep rally the day before the event to rally the student body for this historic event.
VOTERS FINALLY APPROVED SCHOOL
Aldergrove Community Secondary School was officially opened with great fanfare in May of 1958 by representatives of government and the community.
Harold D. Stafford, Langley District Superintendent of Schools, noted that: “This public school is another expression of the will of the people in their determined struggle against the evils of intolerance, superstition, prejudice and ignorance. The first day the pupils enter the building they will be taught and will study facts unknown to their parents as students.”
School Board Chairman Trevor Beggs, of Aldergrove, said, “The effort to go forward in establishing a good school system has not been easy. It is unfortunate that the Board has had to overcome so many obstacles.”
The school was first proposed in 1947, and in 1953 a tentative building plan was submitted by the School Board. At that time the school population was 3,000 and temporary classrooms were in use at Langley Prairie School, Glenwood School an the School Board Office. A new school site on what is now known as 29th Ave. was selected, plans were formed and two referenda were held in ay and December of 1954 — both of which were turned down by Langley voters.
A third referendum for $475,000 was turned down in December of 1955, however, the fourth referendum in October of 1956 for $1,115,500 was finally approved. The construction contract was let in June of 1957 and work began on the site almost immediately.
During the long wait for the green light from voters a shift system was put into place at Langley Junior-Senior High School, with students from both Aldergrove and Langley putting in double shifts, with the juniors in the morning classes and the seniors in the afternoon classes.
In May of 1958, the entire school body of Aldergrove Junior-Senior High School moved into their new home on 29 Ave., warmly greeted by principal Don M. Hanson, vice-principal Roger Winter and the 25 teachers of the school.
The school has expanded and grown in many other ways since that time but the principles and spirit of 60 years ago live on today too.
HISTORY OF THE TOTEMS
For 60 years Aldergrove Community Secondary School has been represented by a Totem Pole and the motto “Hi-all yu-wen” — translated to English it means “Second to none.”
To this day the Totems represent the school at events and functions.
When the school was dedicated in May of 1958 — the province’s centennial year — the student council of the day selected a Totem Pole to pay homage to the First Nations of this area and to set standards for the school body to aspire to.
This small Totem Pole was unveiled at the official opening of the school, then known as the Aldergrove Junior-Senior High School by the student council. It consists of a Thunderbird at the top to sybolize spirit; a Black Bear to symbolize friendliness and helpfulness; the Salmon signifying the richness of the contributions to be made by the graduates; the Owl which signifies higher learning; the Beaver signifying industriousness and skills.
In the dedication statement of the student council they said, “The Indians say that the first house in the world was built by the Father of all the Beaver. The Beaver is therefore a most suitable figure to have chosen for the foot of our Totem Pole on the occasion of our moving into the building that will house our new high school… it’s also fitting that the figure of the little Frog at the bottom of the Totem should be held in the paws of the Beaver; the Indians characterized the Frog as the Watchman and Custodian, as shall each student and graduate, to see that great honours will come to our school.”
The student council’s statement concluded: “And so, may we the students of Aldergrove Junior-Senior High School, under the watchful eyes of the nimble Frog, the industrious Beaver, the kindly and thoughtful Owl, and the mighty Thunderbird, bring great honour to our school in order that our motto may truly be ‘Second to None.’”