Hundreds of people are taking a trip down memory lane this weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary Ecole secondaire catholique Algonquin.
People have travelled from across North America to reconnect with former classmates and teachers from the North Bay school, which was founded in 1968.
The gymnasium was packed with current and former students who gathered for Friday’s opening ceremonies.
Guest speakers included the school’s first principal Rheal Perron, along with well-known alumni which included Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota and North Bay City Councillor Johanne Brousseau.
Students also got a look at what life was like back in 1993, with the opening of a time capsule.
“The time capsule was organized in 1993, so we asked everybody who was either a student or staff member in 1993, to come up and open the time capsule, so they could get the first look at what they had put into it,” explained Estelle Guillemette a member of the reunion committee as well as a teacher at the school.
Lisa Hotte who was a student at the time, stood beside the time capsule as the lock was broken, anxious to get a look inside.
Her contribution was a mini basketball, signed by the senior girl’s basketball team.
“We won NDA that year. Seeing this and being here is fantastic. It has been a part of my whole life. My mom was one of the first students who actually started at the school,” said Hotte.
“I was a student here and then I actually started teaching here about 15 years ago, and now I coach basketball,” she laughed.
“I’m looking forward to reuniting with some old friends this weekend and playing basketball with some of my old teammates and some of the kids that I’ve coached. So, it is going to be pretty fun.”
Tim Lowe athletic director at the school pulled out basketball mesh cut as a souvenir from a championship game.
“That was my first year teaching, and I remember it vividly because we hadn’t won a basketball championship in a number of years. I’m a hockey guy, and when I was hired the principal at the time was Daniel Duchesne and he said they were going to hire me and asked if I could coach basketball. I said yes, not knowing if I could or not,” laughed Lowe.
“I inherited a pretty good team, and we ended up winning. And it is funny, as I look at the names on the list, Lucien Chaput who is now the grade 9-12 principal, he was one of the captains on the team as a grade 10 student. So, it is kind of neat, going full circle. I knew leadership when I saw it,” he grinned.
Coaching basketball has become a passion for Lowe.
“The memories came flooding back today. It is fun to relive these memories.”
Over the next few weeks, students will have the opportunity to create a time capsule of their own.
“We are going to get our students to make another time capsule to be opened in 25 years,” said Estelle Guillemette.
”It will be sealed sometime in the next few weeks. So, we’re giving our students the challenge to put things in it, that represent their generation, then we’re going to make a new time capsule and seal it and open it in 25 years.”
Saturday is filled with numerous activities including the Café Chantant Alumni Show.
Later that evening, everyone will gather for a dinner and dance.
Sunday morning begins with a community breakfast hosted by the Knights of Columbus. Tickets are available at the door.
The reunion wraps up with a mass at St-Vincent-de-Paul parish at 10 a.m.