Former graduates from Alberni District Secondary School look through a class photo from 1955 in ‘eyeball alley’ in the old high school on Burde Street during an open house in April.

Alberni high school grad pics going digital

More than 50 years of high school grad pics thought destined for the storage room will instead be digitized by the Alberni Valley Museum

More than 50 years of high school graduation of pictures thought destined for the storage room are actually headed to the digitizing room at the Alberni Valley Museum.

Further discussions have to be had with the museum about the logistics of the project but that’s the plan, said Alberni District Secondary School Principal Mike Ruttan.

The pictures are from “eyeball alley” and other points in the old high school on Burde Street and represent each of the graduating classes since 1952.

At present, 10 years of class grad pictures are set to adorn the wall near the office of the new high school. The layout of the new high school on Roger Street wasn’t conducive to displaying them as they had been previously, Ruttan said.

Each subsequent year, the bottom class will be bumped from the display in favour of the most recent class. The rest of the pictures will be digitized and available for viewing on a dedicated computer to be located in the library, Ruttan said.

School officials first approached the museum in May 2011 about the prospect of digitizing the pics. The museum was already in the process of digitizing other pictures when the conversation started.

There are logistical issues to work out with the digitizing. “Most of the pictures are too large for a conventional scanner so we have to figure out a way around that,” Ruttan said.

Once the wrinkles have been smoothed out the digitizing process is estimated to take months. “It’s recording the school’s history and is a community service,” Ruttan said.

There is another benefit to saving the pictures electronically. Some of the old pictures have gone missing and others are in bad shape, Ruttan said. “We don’t want to lose those things. We want to keep them in perpetuity.”

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