A quarter century has come and gone since Walnut Grove Secondary School (WGSS) first opened its doors, and for two friends since childhood, Saturday’s 25th anniversary celebration at the school was a stroll back in time.
Alex (Brush) Spence graduated from WGSS in 2000 while Andrea (Mills) Kettering graduated the following year.
With their families in tow, the two visited the school’s ‘Ultimate Reunion and Open House’ on Sept. 24.
“We were walking through those [front] doors and were like, ‘Oh wow,’” Spence said.
Spence said her time at WGSS was memorable.
“I was involved in some sports, student council in Grade 8 and drama in Grade 8,” she reminisced. “I was involved in the school. I really enjoyed it.”
Spence said she learned important life lessons from her high school days and in her Grade 12 year, had teachers who had a strong influence on her.
“I’m a teacher now,” she said. “I did French Immersion here and now I’m a French Immersion teacher. I definitely look back, and there were lots of lessons and lots of good memories.”
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The educational landscape has seen some definite changes, Kettering said.
“Back in the day, we were doing typing classes,” she laughed. “That’s crazy to think about.”
Kettering said she was in band class taught by Mike Angell, who continues to teach at the school today.
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The school has had some major growth spurts over the years.
Ground was broken in early 1990 and the initial budget for the WGSS project was $15 million. The building of WGSS was very swampy and required large metal piles to be hammered deep into the earth as a foundation.
In 1996-97, a new north wing, northwest science wing, and south gym/shops were added to the school.
Another addition was undertaken in 2000 with a multi-purpose room which closed off the current courtyard and 10 new classrooms, making WGSS the largest school in the Langley district and one of the largest in the province.
Capacity after the 2001 expansion was 1,750 and today, WGSS’s enrolment is 1,920 students.
Saturday’s 25th anniversary included kids activities on the grass athletic field, guided walking tours, cast members performing last year’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, alumni basketball action including male and female grads from years gone by, free hotdogs courtesy of Buy Low Foods, a dance off on the main stage, and the official christening of the new courtyard during the 1 p.m. opening ceremony.