By Dave Allston –
2017 has been the year of the anniversary, as various celebrations have marked 1867, 1917 and 1967, all significant years in Canadian history. Author and historian, Pierre Berton, called 1967 “the Last Good Year.” It is a year that is considered a turning point in the story of Canada. Expo 67 put Canada on the world stage and Canada’s Centennial celebrations promoted our achievements, heritage and future. It was also a time of significant social change.
Fifty years later, the students who experienced this era first-hand and graduated as part of Nepean High School’s Class of ‘67 are getting back together to share memories and renew friendships.
On Saturday October 21, the hallowed halls of Nepean High School will see 60 (and counting) of its Centennial grads return, and impressively, at least eight teachers from Nepean’s 1967 staff as well.
Organizing a class reunion is not easy. Margie Haines, chair of the committee, who already had a lot on her plate (notably also helping organize Carleton University’s 75th anniversary this year) told KT that the idea for the reunion came over lunch with a small group of former classmates, all of whom felt a Nepean reunion was imperative. The committee formed quickly, and began meeting at Nepean last winter. The event began to take root, and a list of the 220-some students was assembled.
Locating the class of ‘67 was the next challenge. Many had moved away, some had passed away, while others simply could not be found. Also, many of the women had married and changed their last name. White pages, Google and Facebook were of some help, but as the committee discovered, some classmates do not even use the internet, let alone email or social media.
Reactions to a telephone call out of the blue about a high school reunion were wide-ranging. As Margie explains, “many were thrilled just to be asked, to be remembered. It made everyone feel good… the invitees and the committee as well.”
Already, the reconnecting and rekindling of old friendships has begun amongst the classmates and will only grow as the October reunion approaches.
When asked about 1967 being a turning point in Canadian history, Margie noted that although it was the Centennial year it wasn’t, at least in her recollection, a very significant event for teenagers at the time.
“It was the 60s overall where there were fundamental changes in society,” she says. “Drugs, hair styles, individuality, rebellion. It was a decade of change.”
She recalls the dress code being a big deal for Nepean students. Once, she had the distance between her eyebrows and bangs measured. Even teachers were not immune. One shared a story of being sent home for daring to wear a turtleneck under a jacket rather than a shirt and tie.
Margie also recalls being shocked at the adjustment when she went to university. “Nepean was quite regimented, everything was done for you, there was a feeling of safety,” she recalls. “It was quite the transition, to the independence you had at university.”
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The reunion weekend events will include a get together on Saturday afternoon at NHS, followed by an evening reception at Trattoria Caffe Italia. There’ll be a group activity on Sunday and a brunch at the school. Expenses are covered by $50 ticket sales and individual contributions.
Margie notes that the class of ‘67 hopes to also contribute a legacy gift to Nepean, just as they did back in 1967 when the same gang fundraised to buy two fir trees, which were planted by the main doors and remain there today.
More information about the event can be found at the committee’s detailed website at http://bit.ly/2vWhOEZ. The committee can be contacted by email at NepeanHSOttawaClass67Reunion@gmail.com. They are hopeful word will spread to the remaining half of the class who they have been unable to reach.
With Nepean’s 100th Anniversary itself only a few years away, the Class of ‘67 reunion is a perfect kickoff to a coming wave of purple pride.