Woodlands celebrates 60th anniversary

NANAIMO – Event goes on despite closure of school at the end of the year.

Gunnar Myhrer

Gunnar Myhrer

Despite Woodlands Secondary School’s impending closure at the end of June, organizers are hoping to make the best of a bad situation with the school’s 60th anniversary celebration.

The celebration takes place Feb. 12-13 on the school site, with alumni basketball and volleyball games on the first day and an open house, cake cutting and barbecue the next day.

“During [Feb. 12 day], in front of our whole school, we have the senior boys against an alumni team and then in the evening, between 6-9 p.m., we have men’s and women’s volleyball and … basketball,” said Gunnar Myhrer, long-time Woodlands English and physical education teacher and an organizer.

The school band, which will have a reunion of sorts as well, will play throughout the evening, said Myhrer.

The open house will revisit the past.

“We’ll have some themed rooms going down the main hallway. We’ve done a lot of work. Some people … have researched Nanaimo Museum and archives, other schools. They’ve gotten articles, artifacts together to really build up these classrooms,” said Myhrer.

Mary Vassilopoulos, Woodlands parent advisory council secretary, said there has been much feedback on Facebook with people expressing excitement about walking through the school again and leaving on a positive note.

“It’s 60 years, it’s made a big impact in the community,” said Vassilopoulos. “A lot of people have come through there – Allison Crowe, we’ve had Olympians that have come through, some that have come back as teaching staff.”

School trustee Bill Robinson said the milestone is significant.

“To me, it’s especially important,” said Robinson. “Sixty years is a whole lot of history and it also coincides with being the last year this school will be open. It’s hopefully going to be quite the party.”

Myhrer said he’s been teaching at Woodlands since it became a Grade 8 to 12 school in 1989 and has seen changes.

“Kids are kids, people are people,” said Myhrer. “I think that probably technology has changed a lot of the way we communicate, that’s a huge thing.”