June 8th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 23
Looking Back - John Kinnear
Looking Back at High School Graduation Memories
Looking Back
John Kinnear photos
1967 Graduating Class - Horace Allen High School
Always remember that a principle is not a rule. The rule asks nothing more of you than you obey; a principle requires you to do your own thinking. A rule gives you credit only for being a creature; a principle gives you stature as a man.
Principal Horace Allen’s message
to the 1967 graduating class.

So this coming July long weekend former graduates from the years 1960 to 1975 in Crowsnest Pass high schools will gather together to reminisce and bring each other up to date on what has happened since they went their separate ways. Fifteen years of grads is pretty unprecedented as far as reunions go and the logistics of tracking down classmates has been mind boggling.

After setting aside their caps and gowns most grads headed for post secondary institutions across Canada and began the long process of molding their careers. These grads have been out there now for between 40 to 55 years and for the most part many have finished their working lives, raised families, welcomed grandchildren and even great grandchildren and settled into retirement. I always find it interesting that some choose to come back here in the end, to complete the circle. “You can take the boy out of the Pass but you can’t take the Pass out of the boy.”

So for me, 1967- the year of our confederation centennial- was my final launch from school into the terrifying but fascinating world of college. I followed my father’s footsteps to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) which in his day was called the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA). And like him I studied architectural drafting and design. In 1934 when he graduated, during the depression, he wound up stooking wheat at his uncle’s farm outside of Calgary. He eventually became a mine surveyor and engineer. I soon found the 1970 world of architecture to be not to my liking. “They were all made out of ticky-tacky and they all looked just the same”. So I, like my father, wound up in the mining industry as a draftsman, surveyor and geological technician.

My graduating class was probably one of the smallest on record for those 15 years. There were only 17 of us, which resulted in our grand march coach Mrs. Wright having to use grade nine’s to flesh out the routine. And believe me it was a serious routine! Weeks and weeks of rehearsal went into that geometric moving maze that she designed for us. All to the patriotic fervor of a John Phillip Sousa military march. Needless to say our parents were impressed. The idea was to show them we had discipline, coordination and could work together to a common end. These days the grand march is a rock parade designed to show off dresses and let off some steam.
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Somehow I wound up editor of the 1967 yearbook entitled “Reflections” and with my committee and the help of a yearbook “kit” put together a snapshot in time of teachers, classes and activities at the Horace Allen High School. Its namesake, Principal Horace Allen, was a stern but professional man who was renowned for his ability to turn bright red in stressful situations. And with nine classes of disruptive and unpredictable teenagers we got to see him light up many times.

I lit him up a few times myself but one the funniest involved now retired nurse Celeste (Korner) Paskiuski and myself. I challenged her to a shooting hoops contest, best out of ten, after class on a bet for a dollar. I lost (she was really good) and so I made a running break for the door on the other side of the gym. Celeste fired that basketball across the gym and hit me square in the back of the head which sent me sprawling through the foyer and landing face down at the entrance to Horace’s office. Needless to say I saw red as I looked up.

As the memories of that year come back to me I find myself laughing at the shenanigans that went on and recall a couple of other stories that I thought I would share. I remember decorating the gym’s south wall with silhouettes of the grads, some of which were set in the eleven triangles of the iconic confederation symbol. It took a really long ladder to get them up there and it was my high school best friend Eddy Cornett that chose to scramble up that 25 foot ladder. Of course, given that Eddy was prone to accidents; you have to know that that ladder, left unguarded, slid straight down the wall with him at the top hanging on for dear life. It crushed Eddy’s fingers on the hardwood floor, this only days before he had tripped going up the school stairs with his hands in his pockets. Didn’t get his hands out in time that time also, so you can imagine how that went. The nose is the first thing that makes contact by the way.
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Eddy was one of those guys who didn’t study but could pass any exam, which drove those of us who spent countless hours studying at home nuts. His locker looked like something a hoarder would be proud of but Eddy went on to the University of Calgary to become a physical education teacher. The day of the prom he and I were tooling around downtown Coleman in his dad’s 1960 Ford Fairlane when a hilarious thing happened. As we rounded the corner by the Senior’s Center heading towards the museum he spotted a box sitting in the middle of the road. Boxes are fair game but this one, unbeknownst to us, had been left there by a shopper who had just finished up buying goodies at a Rexall one-cent sale on main street. Not sure why she had set it down in the middle of the road, perhaps she forgot her keys or something, but Eddy took aim as we sped towards the stop sign nearby. All I saw when I looked back over my shoulder was bottles and cans, tooth paste etc. flying through the air. Needless to say the woman came out of her house fists waving and we tore out of there pell mell. I’m told in the old days it was fun sport to plant a big boulder in a box in the middle of the road and watch that old Model T bounce straight up in the air.

One of the yearbook pictures show the boys volleyball team with Bill Roughead and Jim Ash holding a pennant that says: “Pincher Creek Winners 1966 Volleyball Tournament.” I remember that tournament well as Richard Dreja and I (the two tallest and best jumpers) had decided that we would leap up on the serve and drive it down on the Matthew Halton players. After a few of these combined leap smashes we looked over at coach Mr. Capron expecting praise but instead noticed he had his head in his hands. He called us over to inform us goofballs that spiking the serve was “verboten” and that we were breaking the rules.

Each and every one of those 15 years of classes has wonderful memories and hilarious and sometimes hair-raising stories connected to them. This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for Horace Allen, Isabelle Selon and Crowsnest Consolidated grads to reunite with your schoolmates and rebuild friendships. Ron Hungar has done an amazing job crafting and coordinating this complicated gathering. It will be a blast and if you haven’t joined in it is not too late. Deadline is June 23rd for sign-up. Details are available on the Facebook site: “Crowsnest Pass, Alberta 2016 Schools Reunion 1960 to 1975” or contact Ron at ronhungar@hotmail.com or phone him at 403-475-4443.
June 8th ~ Vol. 85 No. 23
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