Category Archives: GDHS History

Commencement 2013

by Marie Williams-Gagnon, Transcript & Free Press
For decades, Glencoe District High School’s graduates have travelled home early for Thanksgiving celebrations in order to attend commencement exercises. This year, however, due to a PA Day scheduled for October 11, the date of commencement was moved forward to September 19. Despite the change, the gymnasium was full of guests for the ceremony.
Following a processional and the playing of the  national anthem by the school band, opening remarks were offered by new principal Melanie Stanley who said she looks forward to working in a community “which honours academics and achievement.” Students’ council president Jacob Weber and vice-president Jordan Goddyn offered congratulations and best wishes. Thames Valley District School Board trustee Rob Campbell brought greetings on behalf of trustees.

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New Book about Schools in the district

The first edition of “Schools of our Heritage: A History of Schools of Southwest Middlesex Ontario” was launched at the GDHS 60th Anniversary weekend

This book was written and compiled by Gregory Bartlett, GDHS alumnus.
The material was sourced by Harold Carruthers and Lorne Munro.

To purchase a copy contact:  Glencoe and District Historical Society.  $20 per copy.

Congratulations for a great project capturing the history of our local elementary and secondary schools.

Glencoe & District Historical Society
P.O. Box 313, 247 Main Street,
Glencoe Ontario, Canada N0L 1M0
Tel: (519) 287-3897

Resource Room Hours:
Wed: 2:00-4:00pm, 7:00-9:00pm
Sat: 10:00-2:00pm
Or by Appointment

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“She’s No Angel” by alumnus, Edward John Izrael.

I really enjoyed the reunion.  I did very well selling my brother Ed’s novel.  Thank you for the opportunity to share his book with the community. It was fun for me.  I got to see a lot of folks that I didn’t know until they introduced themselves.  Many signed a book for me for the memory.

The entertainment was beautiful, lots of fun. Meal was marvelous. I just loved the music. We stayed to the end of the dance and I sold more novels there.  Was that a party or was that a party?!

If any one wants Ed’s novel and pen just ask them to comment here and send me their name. I’d be more than glad to send it out. They are sellng for $10.00 now.   Yours truly,  HELEN ROSE EVANS

She’s No Angel” by GDHS alumnus, Edward John Izrael. Continue reading


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Amalgamation of local school districts in 1946

In 1946, the first year after War II stopped, local school trustees were prescient of the oncoming wave of post-war babies: 10 million baby boomers were born between 1947 and 1966.  In March of 1946, a motion by M.M. McAlpine and seconded by C.C. Davidson asked “county council to dissolve the High School District of the Municipality of Glencoe in order to make way for the formation of a larger High School District to include all or parts of Metcale, Ekfrid, Mosa, Wardsville, Newbury, Caradoc”. Continue reading

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GDHS commencement reunites friends and family

by Marie Williams-Gagnon
Friends and family who traditionally gather for Thanksgiving dinner joined together a little early for the Glencoe District High School annual commencement and awards ceremony on Friday evening, October 7 in the school’s gymnasium.
Following music by the GDHS band and a processional led by piper Bonnie Rowe, the national anthem was played by the band. Opening remarks were offered by principal Michael Moore and students’ council co-president Taylor McLean.
Marion Moynihan, superintendent of education for the Thames Valley District School Board, brought greetings on behalf of the Board, Rob Campbell spoke on behalf of the  trustees and Bonnie McArthur brought a message from the Alumni Association.
Individual proficiency certificates and honour awards were presented to the junior students at the onset of the program, prior to intermission.
Grade nine awards: Emma Holder – general proficiency, visual arts, exploring technologies, academic mathematics and academic geography; Blake Beam – academic mathematics; Catherine Lemkay – applied mathematics; Ashley Metcalf – locally developed mathematics; Shanelle Wilson – applied geography, dramatic arts and healthy active living (girls); Jacob Weber – healthy active living (boys), music instrumental, academic French, academic English and academic science; Hilary Hager – applied French; Carlie Hawco – applied English and applied science; Jonathon Lavoie – locally developed English; Taylor Clift – locally developed science; Michael Johnston – GLS learning strategies; and Kevin Ryan-Knight – GLE learning strategies.
Grade nine honour roll certificates, for those who had achieved an average of 80 per cent or higher in eight credits taken that school year, were presented to Matt Alexander, Marissa Ardiel, Shekina Cartlidge, Amanda Enwright, Carlie Hawco, Emma Holder, Emily May, Jacob Weber and Shanelle Wilson.
Grade 10 awards: Eliza McColl – general proficiency, French, healthy active living (girls), academic Canadian history, academic English and academic science; Amanda Sparry – applied Canadian history; Amanda Futcher – applied English; Megan McDougall – applied English; Shawn Rankin – locally developed English; Graham Deller – academic science; Kyle Teather – academic science and manufacturing technology; Laura Bowman – applied science; Chantel Poisson – locally developed science; Josh Rabideau – locally developed science and locally developed mathematics; Jacob Weber – academic mathematics; Amanda Futcher – applied mathematics; Jacob Moore – manufacturing technology and healthy active living (boy); Greg Kendall – healthy active living (boys); Patrick Wood – healthy active living (boys); Ashley Metcalf – learning strategies (open); Laura Waters – learning strategies (open); Hilary Hager – career studies, music instrumental and civics; Keegan Knight – large group activities (hockey); Jake Frampton – introduction to computer studies; Natalie Catlos – construction technology; Lauryn Wolfe – construction technology and dramatic arts; Megan Patterson – visual arts; Justine Albrechtas – food and nutrition; and Spencer Rabideau – transportation technology.
 Grade 10 honour roll certificates were presented to Justine Albrechtas, Laura Bowman, Natalie Catlos, Graham Deller, Amanda Futcher, Ashley Gillett, Hilary Hager, Angela Hong, Sarah Lilley, Eliza McColl, Jacob Moore, Megan Patterson, Kyle Teather, Natasha Thomson, Lauryn Wolfe and Patrick Wood.
Grade 11 awards: Meagan McGill – general proficiency, university physics, university/college financial accounting fundamentals, university French, university English and university mathematics functions; Sarah Deller – university French and university/college dramatic arts; Eliza McColl – university/college dramatic arts; Amanda Sparry – open dramatic arts and college English; Christiaan Williams – workplace English and open learning strategies; Steven Lyons – university/college functions and applications; Crystal Elliott – foundation for college mathematics, parenting (open), college introduction to computer programming and college biology; Dylan Pattison – workplace mathematics; Chris Levett – college introduction to computer programming; Cassidy Gagnon – university biology and university chemistry; Zach Shimla – university/college music instrumental and university/college understanding Canadian law; Lloyd Smith – workplace custom woodworking; Lauren Enwright – university/college visual arts proficiency; Amanda Futcher – university/college communications technology; Kyle Chalcraft – open designing your own future; Alex Ritchie – open healthy active living (coed); Dylan Melo – open media studies; Tyler Thomson – open information and communications technology; Jacob Silva – university/college world history; Jameson Wolfe – university/college world history and grade 11 citizenship; Glen Slaughter – college transportation technology; Taylor Degraw – large group activities (hockey); Shannon Enwright – university/college technological design; Shawna Stevenson – open fashion and creative expression; Courtney Blair-Lumley – Merle Blair Memorial Award; Kyle Cutler – Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gibb Award; and Christopher Longboat-Marsh – Margaret Dann Memorial Award.
Grade 11 honour roll recipients were Nathan Aranha, Brett Blackett, Crystal Elliott, Shannon Enwright, Cassidy Gagnon, Brooke Goodchild, Chris Levett, Meagan McGill, Dylan Melo, Nigel Mitton, Amanda Sparry, Justin Staels, Tyler Thomson and Jennifer Walker.
Following an intermission, graduates and special award winners were honoured. (The individual and honours awards for those who received their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas are listed in brackets with each student’s name. The list of other award winners follows the list of graduates.)
OSSD recipients were:
Logan Arnold (university/college communications technology, technical studies, OPC principal’s award), Peter Belrose, Ryan Betts, Hilary Boekhoven (Town and Country Mutual Insurance Company Award, health sciences award), Shawn Bruggeman, Robert Buko, Brent Carruthers, Erika Catlos (Harold Marcus student award, Thames Valley Education Foundation award), Cyrus Chapman, Kasi-Lynn Clinton, Taylor Degraw (general proficiency, cooperative education, university mathematics of data management, Mita Gupta award, Governor General’s academic medal), Sarah Deller (university English, May family writing award, Leda Durrell Memorial award, Glencoe Lions Terry Fox memorial award, Peggy Kading memorial award, MacKellar memorial scholarship), Kelly Elliott (college chemistry, Gale Force award, Bruce B. Foster memorial bursary), Erica Findlay, Tanner Findlay, Gregory Gosnell (attitude, attendance and achievement award),
Evan Guille, Justine Hansmann, Kelsey Haskell, Wesley Hathaway (college mathematics award), Raymond Hearn, Robert Hesketh, Heather Holman (Royal Canadian Legion (Bothwell) Award Br. 252), Stephen Jefferson, Michael Johnston (workplace mathematics for work and everyday life), Nicholas Johnston, Jason Jones, Alexander Lalama, Quinn Little (mathematics of data management),
Eliott Martin, A.J. McCallum, Carleigh McInnes (Freda and Graham MacDonald Memorial award, GDHS Alumni and Friends scholarship, Lioness community service award), Taylor McLean (university advanced functions, university chemistry, Marion Dobie math/science award, GDHS services award, Eva Youlton memorial award, Melbourne Masonic Lodge award), Adam Mitchell, Nicholas Moxam, Niklas Mueller (college information technology in business), Samantha Northrup, Dylan Pattison,
Spencer Rabideau (Wolfe Equipment award), Cody Reese (mathematics of data management, Tony Degraw memorial award, Marion Wilson award), Hayden Rock, Emily Schepers (mathematics of data management, university Canadian and international law, Government of Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s community award, MacEachran memorial scholarship), Shawna Stevenson (Isabel Brown award), Meriah Swanson (environmental science/geography award, G. Stewart Allen Bursary), Sarah Thirlwall (college English), Kyle Tofflemire, Bailey Tuffin, Kevin Welsh, Douglas White, Kelsey Winegarden (college and apprenticeship mathematics), Carly Wolfe, Jordan Wolfe and Kerri Wood.
Other grade 12 award winners were: Nathan Aranha (male technical studies), Theresa Baillie (university/college dramatic arts, Bruce B. Foster memorial bursary, Rotary senior girls citizenship award, Queen Elizabeth II aiming for the top scholarship), Jaimie Brown (workplace English), Tabitha Carter (Queen Elizabeth II aiming for the top scholarship, grade 12 student award, OCEA certificate of achievement), Kyle Cutler (open Ontario literacy course), Lauren Enwright (university world history: the west and world, university/college visual arts, Compass Group Canada),  Amanda Futcher (female technical studies), Andrew Futcher (college computer programming, Rotary senior boys’ citizenship), Lanita Harris (open learning strategies), Keegan Knight (college and apprenticeship mathematics, Glencoe Minor Hockey scholarship), Robert May (workplace construction technology, Kerrigan family award), Meagan McGill (university/college music instrumental),
Michael McGill (university/college challenge and change in society, university biology and calculus and vectors, Queen Elizabeth II aiming for the top scholarship, McNaughton Family Shopping Centre award, Frank Sabovitch memorial award, students’ council scholarship, GDHS 50th anniversary reunion award, mathematics calculus award), Matthew Miller (principals of financial accounting, college physics, John Jobson memorial award), Nigel Mitton (open communications technology: digital imagery and web design),  Charlie Noe (university physics, university French), Kristy Peroff (open advanced learning strategies), Cameron Scott (college recreation and fitness leadership) and Emma Smith (cooperative education, Queen Elizabeth II aiming for the top scholarship, SheBella entrepreneurial spirit award, Kemp Family Wealth Management bursary, Libro Financial Group award).
Those presented with grade 12 honour roll awards were Logan Arnold, Taylor Degraw, Sarah Deller, Tanner Findlay, Amanda Graff, Wes Hathaway, Heather Holman, Quinn Little, Robert May, Carleigh McInnes, Taylor McLean, Matthew Miller, Nicklas Mueller, Charlie Noe, Spencer Rabideau, Emily Schepers, Emma Smith, Shawna Stevenson, Meriah Swanson, Sarah Thirlwall and Jordan Wolfe.
Certificates of accomplishment were presented to Brandon McFadden, Tyler McGahan and Jeannie McNaughton.
Ontario Scholars, who must achieve at least 480 marks based on their six best grade 12 level credits, were named as Logan Arnold, Theresa Bailie, Tabitha Carter, Sarah Deller, Andrew Futcher, Paul (Denny) Giles, Amanda Graff, Quinn Little, Michael McGill, Taylor McLean, Charlie Noe, Emily Schepers, Cameron Scott and Kerri Wood.
Southwest Middlesex awards were presented to Logan Arnold, Taylor Degraw, Sarah Deller, Tanner Findlay, Wes Hathaway, Heather Holman, Carleigh McInnes, Taylor McLean, Niklas Mueller, Spencer Rabideau, Emily Schepers, Shawna Stevenson, Meriah Swanson and Sarah Thirlwall. The Village of Newbury award was presented to Cody Ritchie.
At the conclusion of the awards presentations, teacher Jane Bowley read the words of Scott MacGregor introducing valedictorian Logan Arnold who then presented his address, thanked by students’ council co-president Emily Lilley. Principal Michael Moore made closing remarks before guests, graduates and award winners gathered in the cafeteria for a reception following the ceremony.

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Editorial about GDHS by Marie Williams-Gagnon

“Great things happen in small places.” – Jesse Jackson

Last week’s opening day assembly at Glencoe District High School was inspirational in many ways. It’s only a shame that more weren’t in attendance to hear the testaments to the greatness of GDHS.

Hopefully the students, donned in their new designer shirts, jeans and whiter-than-white sneakers, enveloped the messages shared by the guest speakers who both referred to themselves still as members of the Gael population.

Both addresses by Nicole MacKellar and Neil Johnson challenged students to get involved, to encompass the great things about attending a small school and to appreciate the position they are in.

They corroborated that the pro’s about the level of education that they received and how it helped them not only in their post-secodary education but also in their careers.

Ironically, they felt that coming from a small school gave them a better perspective, something many other graduates will easily agree with. Students at small schools appreciate any additional opportunities and don’t just take them for granted.

In the case of both of the speakers, GDHS gave them the opportunity to get involved in countless teams and clubs, something that may not have been available elsewhere.

The sentiments were cherished by staff who go above and beyond to coach numerous teams, lead clubs and monitor extra activities.

Regardless of the flattery it’s always a challenge for small schools, whether elementary or secondary, and the battle to keep the doors of any local school open could re-ignite at some point in time.

But, no different than the wind towers that are spreading like leaves, there needs to be study and consultation on the effects of each. Whether the wind towers will truly present problems with stray voltage or shadow flicker can only be seen over time and with careful consultation. In the case of a school, however, the effects of a closure on a community and on students need to be taken in to account.

The challenges schools like GDHS face multiply once there is any concern about closure, with some prospective students opting to attend other schools to avoid a shutdown. Supporting local schools through attendance is imperative. No different than not supporting a local business and then reminiscing about missing the convenience, the loss of a school has a more far-reaching impact.

Unfortunately, as the Caradoc South and Metcalfe communities found, ebbing the tide of small school closures can only happen with the assistance of the province in the form of a moratorium. School boards facing financial woes will make whatever cuts they see as being easiest. Quite frankly, closing schools gets much more press than trimming back administrative salaries and gives the illusion of a board working to stay within its means despite the displeasure of the communities it serves.

On Tuesday, a historic letter of agreement was signed at the County of Middlesex buildings, establishing a precedent setting communication protocol between the municipalities and the School Board.

Hopefully, it will prompt banter between officials, illuminate the challenges both face and open minds to alternatives.

South of the border, for instance, school reform advocates are excited about a new study showing that New York City’s small high schools are outperforming larger schools significantly, narrowing the graduation-rate gap that exists between the white and minority students across the city.

The study supports the small school policies of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration which has shut down 20 large, failing high schools and replaced them with 200 small schools, about half of which were the focus of this study.

Some of the larger, factory-style schools, each with enrollments of 3,000 or more, had graduation rates under 40 per cent. Having had the opportunity to poke around one of the largest secondary schools in the City of London this past week left little doubt that students there could easily fall between the cracks.

Much like GDHS, the new smaller schools in New York City offer a personalized approach to education with teachers responsible for keeping close tabs on the performance of their students.

It was found that the graduation rates for students in small schools was already nearly 69 per cent, erasing about a third of the 20-point graduation-rate gap that currently exists between white students and “students of colour” in New York City.

They found this particulary encouraging, given that the majority of students entered the small high schools reading below grade level.

No different than the supersized French fries that can ultimately lead to health problems, the supersized educational facilities can lead to the death of a small community without the support of its schools.


Marie Williams-Gagnon


Transcript & Free Press

Glencoe, Ontario


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Donald Johnson, English Teacher, GDHS

JOHNSON, Donald C – Donald Campbell Johnson passed away quietly at University Hospital, London ON on Friday, September 24, 2010. Born January 15, 1918 on the farm in Ekfrid Township near Appin, where he lived 88 years. Moved to Beattie Haven Retirement Community, Wardsville ON. A farmer, a scouter, a ball player, a bird- watcher, a high school teacher, a golfer, a curler, a servant of the church at Appin Presbyterian.


Keeping things lively at Beattie Haven

Loved by four daughters and their families. Susan (Jack) McKellar, Ann (Ian) McCallum, Mirah (Rob) Simpson, and Jane (Kelly Burke) Johnson. Grandchildren Robert and Margaret McKellar, Greer McCallum, Heather Jakobi, Greg Simpson, Ben, Chelsea and Lauren King. Adored by eight great-grandchildren. Predeceased in 1998 by beloved wife Jean (Waghorne). Visit with the family at VAN HECK FUNERAL HOME, 172 Symes St. Glencoe, on Tuesday, September 28 at 2:00 – 4:00 and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.


A celebration of Don’s life will take place at Appin Presbyterian Church at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 with Rev. Amanda MacMillan officiating. Interment at Appin Cemetery following. Memorial donations may be made to Appin Presbyterian Church or Beattie Haven Retirement Community or a charity of your choice.

Published: Sep 28, 2010

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Supporting our students with 50:50 tickets

On October 25th, 2008,, we’ll draw the fourth winning ticket. The proceeds of the annual 50:50 draw sustain our two student scholarships.

Our winners so far:

2005 Jane Berdan won $1597
2006 Patricia Rastin, Manager of Sydenham Community Credit Union, Mt. Brydges Branch won $1528
2007 Aaron Cadogan won $1440.

Buy a book of ten tickets for $17 and support our G.D.H.S. students when they leave high school to further their education and training.

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July 12, 1888. Community Meeting

There was a very large and influential gathering of the ratepayers of the village at the meeting on Thursday evening last called by the Reeve and the Chairman of the High School board to consider the question of the proposed expenditure on the High School buildings. The Reeve Mr. Rathburn… explained the object of the meeting. He said that the High School board have found that the cost would be more than at first expected.

Other speakers were: Mr. Stuart, Chairman of the board (subject: policy of the board); Dr. Lumley, member of the board (subject: heating and ventilating); Mr. Harrison, village clerk (subject: finances); and Rev. D Currie and John A. Leitch – the last two gentlemen spoke in favour of the new school. One gentleman was noted as being entirely in opposition of the new school, stating that “Those in power are determined to go on and only called his meeting to be whitewashed beforehand” and that he “would not be a party of the whitewashing!”

After S.J. Waler and Elish Adams, other members of the board, had spoken a few words, and several questions were asked of the board and answered by them, it was moved by Mr. Angus McKenzie and seconded by J.M. Corneil, that the meeting having heard the statements made by the High School board, entirely approves of the steps taken by them for the erection and equipment of a first class High School in the Village of Glencoe.

The meeting unanimously resolved that application be made to the municipal council for the sum of $9000 for the purpose of purchasing a High School site, erecting and completing a High School building, and putting the grounds in proper order.

Source: typed copy of article from Transcript and Free Press Files. Original dated July 12, 1888.

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June 7, 1888. Glencoe Transcript

The high school board has purchased 2 acres of ground in the south part of the town from Mr. Thomas Simpson for a building site, the consideration being $620, payable in December next. The site is a most excellent one in every respect, and so far as can be learned, is generally approved of.

Plans of the building are now being prepared, and commenced without delay. The structure will cost in the neighbourhood of $4000, without fittings, and will be supplied with all the latest approved appliances for heating and ventilating. It is hoped to have it ready for occupancy next fall.

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