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25th Anniversary

St. Peter's Academy - 25th anniversary - Western Star Article

Last updated at 8:39 AM on 18/05/07  

Members of the St. Peter’s Academy 25th anniversary committee look over some old year books as they make plans for events to celebrate the milestone. From left, Glenda Wayson, Gordon Casey principal David Bruce and Melanie Small. Missing from photo is Nancy O’Quinn.  — Submitted Photo
Members of the St. Peter’s Academy 25th anniversary committee look over some old year books as they make plans for events to celebrate the milestone. From left, Glenda Wayson, Gordon Casey principal David Bruce and Melanie Small. Missing from photo is Nancy O’Quinn. — Submitted Photo
After 25 years, St. Peter’s Academy has a lot to celebrate print this article
Events planned to celebrate milestone

DIANE CROCKER 
The Western Star

BENOIT’S COVE There’s going to be a celebration at St. Peter’s Academy. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the now Kindergarten to Grade 9 school and the anniversary organizing committee has put together of a three-day celebration. 

Members of the organizing committee, which includes principal Dave Bruce, physical education teacher Gord Casey and classroom teachers Nancy O’Quinn, Melanie Small and Glenda Wayson, all have a history with the school. 

Bruce has spent more than 20 years of his teaching career at St. Peter’s, serving as a classroom teacher, vice-principal and now principal. Casey has been a member of the St. Peter’s staff for 18 years and O’Quinn and Small are both former students. Besides being a teacher at the school, Wayson’s two children attended St. Peter’s. 

Each one of them has many stories to tell about their time at St. Peter’s. 

One event that stands out in Bruce’s mind is the annual Christmas dinner that has been held since 1994. 

The thought of feeding over 300 students, staff and guests a hot turkey dinner was seen as somewhat preposterous by some, says Bruce of that first dinner. He noted it was the first of its kind for any local school and over the years the dinner has become an important part of life at the school. 

“They are a great celebration of community. The spirit is magic.” 

But that’s not all that creates school spirit. 

During St. Peter’s years as a high school, Bruce says the school was well known for volleyball. 

“We produced top-notch teams and had fantastic support from the community.” 

He even recalls the rivalry with a school from out on the Cape (St. George). 

“When we played them the games were fantastic and the competition intense.” 

Casey is known for taking his students on outdoor adventures and recalls one trip that really turned into an adventure for him. 

In April 1992 he took a class of physical education 3100 students on an overnight winter camping and wilderness survival trip in the area of Eastern Lakes. At the time, his wife Marion was pregnant with their third child and the baby’s due date was the exact date of the trip. 

“Obviously my stress level was a little out of whack leading up to and during that outing,” says Casey. 

He had arranged for radio communication between the group and his home so that he could keep in contact with his wife, but after numerous unsuccessful attempts, Casey and his group were convinced that Marion had gone into labour. 

“So in a panic, myself and then music teacher Kevin Hennessy decided at 9 p.m. to snowshoe back to the TCH and drive to Western Memorial Regional Hospital.” 

But Casey started to have second thoughts and instead went to his mother-in-law’s home where he found his wife, her mom and sister, along with two or three of their friends sitting around enjoying a night without the boys. 

“Many of the students who attended that winter camping trip, often remind me now when I meet them of the many fond memories which they hold from that particular school outing.” 

Small is a St. Peter’s graduate who has been teaching Grade 2 at the school for the last four years. 

“I have to say that it is amazing to teach at the same school that I attended as a student.” 

She admits that it was a “little strange” when she started teaching at St. Peter’s to have some of her former teachers become her colleagues but within a week it felt natural. 

“I feel such a connection with the history, the building, the community and, of course, the students. I didn’t have to develop pride for the school, I already had it to begin with.” 

That’s why Small was so eager to serve on the anniversary committee. 

“The school really is the centre of the surrounding communities.” 

To celebrate the school’s anniversary a special church service will be held on May 31 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea church in Benoit’s Cove. The service will emphasize the connection between school and community. The choir and a former student will sing the St. Peter’s Academy song which was written for the event by music teacher Dave Tucker. 

On June 1, the school will be open to the public for an all-day open house. Former students will be able to walk through the hallways and recall old memories. There will be displays in the hallways showcasing each class that has passed through the doors of St. Peter’s Academy. 

A morning assembly will be held and a fun volleyball game at the end of the day between current Grade 9 students and an alumni team comprised of former students. 

On June 2, a dinner and dance will be held at the Shoreline Club in Halfway Point. 

For more information on the anniversary celebration, or to order tickets for the dinner, contact the school at 789-2761. 

The school’s website — http://www.stpetersacademy.k12.nf.ca — also has more 25th anniversary details
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