Deryck Cowling

Deryck Cowling

Former Nanaimo high school memorabilia preserved

NANAIMO – Retired Nanaimo teachers evaluate Woodlands Secondary School items for addition to collection.

With Woodlands Secondary School closed, a group of former teachers is preparing to pore over the school’s artifacts in order to preserve them.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Retired Teachers Association is collecting textbooks, maps and artifacts for its collection and will assess them and incorporate them into the Skipsey Educational Heritage Collection, said Carol Baird-Krul, collection coordinator.

The Skipsey Heritage Centre is located at Dover Bay Secondary School and is named after Les Skipsey, a founding member of the association.

Deryck Cowling, association spokesman, said a committee has gone through the memorabilia, selected a number of items and will go through them with “a fine-tooth comb” as the summer progresses to make sure that nothing of historical or heritage value is lost.

“Over the course of the summer, we’ll be meeting and developing a policy about just what parameters we’re going to set for what we have the capacity to keep … It’s a bit of a tricky call on what constitutes heritage and can properly be preserved and shared with the public,” said Cowling.

There is a finite amount of space at the centre and Cowling said the association will have to be selective.

“Large maps and so on, we’ll have to go through them carefully and just get representative ones … so we may have collected 80 maps, but we may end up just keeping 10 or so. Things like old science charts, oceans of the planets, these kinds of things that were in schools for many, many years, but now are obsolete, are of interest,” said Cowling.

There are a number of memorial stone benches near the school’s front entrance and Cowling said he’d hate to lose them. They evoke strong memories of teachers and students who have passed on, he said.

“To me, that’s really important and I think that’s why we keep these artifacts, because they bring back memories of our youth and our time in school and often trigger thoughts about many other things and other people that we associated with,” said Cowling.