Central elementary celebrates 85 years in Chilliwack

Chilliwack's oldest school, Central elementary, is turning 85 this year and thousands of alumni are invited to join the festivities.

Picture postcard of Chilliwack Central School in 1930.

Chilliwack’s oldest school is turning 85 this year and thousands of alumni are invited to join the festivities.

Central Elementary Community School will be opening its doors and welcoming past and current students and teachers to walk the halls once again and relive more than eight decades of memories on Nov.22.

Guided tours will be going on throughout the day.

“Past students, like Trevor McDonald, will be leading the tours from different generations,” says organizer Clara Hooper whose two sons and husband (in the 1970s) attended Central.

“And we have permission to view the attic,” she adds. “Kids from years ago never got to go in the attic.”

Tours of the school, including a visit to the attic, will leave every 15 minutes and each one will be different. Most classrooms will be locked due to personal belongings inside, but the tour guides will have special access to get into the rooms that the visitors want to see.

“There will be history all around the school,” says Hooper.

The walls will be filled with photo collages depicting generations of students and staff. Trophies will line the shelves, and various school T-shirts and mascots will also be on display.

A hotdog barbecue, put on by the school’s PAC, will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise funds for a new primary playground.

And what’s a birthday party without cake?

Mayor Sharon Gaetz, an alumnus herself, will be cutting the cake at noon.

Other special guests include dignitaries like school board members and city councillors.

“We have been in contact with students in the 1930s to come out as well,” says Hooper.

Students from the ’30s would have been some of the first students to attend the school. Central elementary opened on Oct. 21, 1929 on Young Road.

The Central Elementary 85th Anniversary open house runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22 at the school (9435 Young Rd.).

Anyone wanting to donate or display something from past years at the event, or for more info, can contact Clara Hooper at 604-795-1669, or greg.clara@shaw.ca.

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