When physical education and science teacher Bobbie Taylor walks the halls of Woodlands Secondary School she has no shortage of memories.
It’s a place where she has spent a lot of time, not just as a teacher but as a student.
Taylor first attended Woodlands as a student in the 1980s, but graduated from Nanaimo District Secondary School. As a student, she was heavily involved in sports, having ran on the cross country team and played soccer, basketball and volleyball.
In 1994, Taylor found herself walking the halls of Woodlands, not as a student, but as a teacher.
“It definitely felt weird,” Taylor said. “I was often mistaken as a student, only being six years out of high school.”
While it may have felt weird at first, it didn’t take long for Taylor to become a part of the Woodlands community.
“When I first came here there were a lot of teachers that were my teachers and they made me feel super welcome,” she said. “It is like a family here.”
Woodlands Secondary School first opens its doors in 1955. Among the school’s notable alumni are jazz singer Diana Krall and city councillor Jerry Hong.
In early February the school will be holding an open house to celebrate their 60th anniversary. The open house will feature a number of rooms dedicated to each decade of Woodlands history. Students and staff will also participate in a series of sports and activities.
“I am really thankful that … some key stakeholders have put in an immense amount of time to create an opportunity to celebrate and we look forward to the celebration,” Taylor said.
For longtime Woodlands teacher Gunnar Myhrer it’s the school’s community feel and atmosphere that has kept him coming back year after year.
“There are a number of us who have taught in the 20-year range together and it is all about relationships,” he said.
Woodlands was the first school to host an academy of any kind in Nanaimo when it became a soccer academy.
There are no shortage of stand out memories for Myhrer. However, he said he is proud of a tradition that Woodlands has during graduation ceremonies.
“When the kids walk across the stage we read a little blurb about what they have done and what they hope to do and their some of their goals,” he said. “That is a real personal thing.”