Thirty years of TR Grads

Trent Ernst, Editor


Just as with Tumbler Ridge’s dual birthday celebration, where we turn 30 twice, so too does the high school celebrate two landmark events.

Last year marked thirty years since Tumbler Ridge’s first graduate. Crosbie, now Bordeaux but then Hartford, was the first resident of Tumbler Ridge to graduate, but in order to do so, she had to go to Dawson Creek, as Tumbler Ridge Secondary School had not yet been built.

But two days after the grand opening, June 8, 1984, Tumbler Ridge Secondary School was dedicated, and in 1984, Tumbler Ridge celebrated its first graduation ceremony.

Attending the grand event included Charlie Parslow, then the superintendent of schools, the Chairman of the Board of School Trustees Elizabeth Haddow, Jim Rose from the architectural firm of Killick, Metz, Bowen and Rose, J. Doyle from the Ministry of Education and Mayor Patrick Walsh.

Principal Robert Wilson opened the ceremony and welcomed the guests, parents and everyone from the community.

George Hartford spoke on the school’s history in Tumbler Ridge, telling the crowd of Joyce Anderson, who started schooling in Tumbler Ridge on September 7, 1982, and who was still teaching at Tumbler Ridge Elementary.

The first school, said Hartford, was at the Kilbourne Construction site in a trailer above the thousand man camp and had seven students.

Two weeks after the school was dedicated, Tumbler Ridge’s first grad class walked down the aisle in the new school’s gymnasium.

There were 13 people in that first class: Ms. V Kingston, Mr. B Marche, Mr. C Perkins, Ms. K. Piercy, Ms. Y Scott, Ms. E. Conn, Ms. L Black, Ms Y. Ryan, Mr K. Lekei, Ms. T. Colbourne, Mr. I. Wall, Mr J McCance and Ms. A Hogg.

The Master of Ceremonies for that first graduation was teacher Bryce Billings, who extended a “heart felt welcome” to all the parents, friends and special guests. He said he hoped this special occasion would be a happy and memorable one for everyone.

The ceremony was followed by a hot dinner prepared for by the staff teachers (no doubt in the school’s cooking classroom, one of the only large scale facilities for food production in town at the time.

That was then followed by a dance, “which was thoroughly enjoyed by many.”