The Alberni District Secondary school staff is reaching out to the community about a high school party—but it’s an invitation, not a warning.
Former students and staff of the 60-year-old high school are invited to help plan how the old school on Burde Street should close after classes finish next June.
“We’re shutting the old flagship down at the end of the year and we want to try and do something special,” ADSS career education coordinator Brian Laviolette said.
“It’s like closing the Boston Garden or the Orpheum Theatre.”
ADSS administration assistant Erica Watson, Shaun Rust and Laviolette are co-chairing a committee that’s coordinating the event.
Laviolette said he hopes people from each of the school’s six decades contact the committee with ideas about how they’d like to see their decade celebrated.
There shouldn’t be any shortage of interest or passion in the project. “More than 50 per cent of the teachers and staff attended ADSS,” Laviolette said. “I think the numbers are even higher for people who live in the Valley.”
Those numbers are indicative of the school’s rich history in academics, theatre, music and sports. “There’s a lot of history that means a lot to a lot of people.”
Officials have gleaned some ideas from the closing of J. L. Crowe Senior Secondary in Trail, B.C.
“They had 3,000 people come from all over Canada to that event,” Laviolette said.
Crowe is staging one large bus tour something that Laviolette said he didn’t think they would emulate. Smaller tours over a longer period of time would be a better fit, he said.
The old gym and auditorium have a mystique too. “I hate to see the gym go but this is life,” he said. “It’s a transition from the old school to the new one.”
Pieces of the school could be saved and given out as mementoes, and the basketball used in the last Totem game in January will be saved and used to tip off the first one at the new ADSS in January 2013, he said.
The committee is launching a Facebook page to engage former students both at home and abroad.
And people can also contact the committee with their ideas by calling Laviolette or Watson at 250-723-1191.
“After it closes that’s it, so we only have one chance to get this right,” Laviolette said.