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Hope Secondary School welcomes public to celebrate 5oth anniversary

Doors will be open every day this week for celebration

It was celebration time for the Hope Secondary School (HSS) who commemorated the 50th anniversary of their building this week.

The faces of HSS alumni from the past 50 years were on full display in the HSS hallways all week as staff and students welcomed guests. From March 11 to March 15, from noon to 3:30 p.m., HSS opened its doors for the public to stop by and take part in celebrating 50 years at its Stuart Street location.

“I (was) really excited for students to see some of that feeling of tradition, this history, and to see how proud our alumni are to have gone to school here,” said Lenora Poulin, HSS’s librarian and one of the school’s Leadership teachers. Poulin, who started at HSS in 1992, planned the celebration and dedicated the past weekend (March 9 to March 10) to setting up displays and decorating the school.

“So many people said they made connections here and that they felt safe here. I feel proud to have worked here for so long. And I know how important this school is to the community,” she said.

Starting with a greeting from Leadership students, who provided guests with a commemorative chocolate coin (bearing the HSS mustang logo), visitors were given a tour and history lesson of the school. This included visiting all of the school’s main hallways, as well as getting a glimpse of the classes and programs offered at HSS (such as coding, robotics, art, photography, auto-shop work, metalwork, and carpentry, to name a few). Visitors also got an opportunity to stop at and peruse through the 50 in 50 Alumni & History Showcase.

The showcase was part of the week long event and was essentially a museum of HSS over the past 5o years. In addition to a wall display of alumni from every graduating class since 1974, it included a series of tables displaying photos and memorabilia of HSS students and teachers.

Memorabilia included old issues of HSS’s former newspapers — Hi Hope!, Hope High, and The Attempt — old yearbooks, former HSS cardigans and sweaters sporting old school colours, and vinyl records with songs from the HSS band.

All of this was available for anyone to see, including HSS’s current student body who, according to Poulin, were excited to learn more about their school’s history.

“It’s been great (being a student at HSS),” said Adisan Wilson, a Grade 12 student at HSS who is also part of the HSS leadership team. “I’ve lived in Hope my whole life. I went to Coquihalla (Elementary School) and now I’m here.

“I’ve made a lot of connections. I’ve done leadership for four years and I joined the girls soccer team this year. So, it’s going to be very sad leaving all of this behind.”

Aside from the Alumni & History Showcase, the HSS talent show was also running every day this week at 11 a.m. in the common room. A grand finale for the talent show is taking place on Friday, at the same time and location.

Additionally, on Friday a Student, Staff, Alumni, and RCMP Basketball Game will be taking place at 1:45 p.m in the gymnasium. The game is free to the public with both students and visitors welcome to watch.

The school first opened its doors in 1947 as an eight-classroom elementary-secondary school. Twenty-five years later, a fire broke out and the building burnt down on May 22, 1972. No one was injured though a few former students, playing floor hockey in the gymnasium, ended up having a coughing fit due to the thick smoke.

During the two years it took for the school to rebuild, HSS’s 29 teachers and 527 students found themselves in Interim classrooms at Coquihalla Elementary School and Silver Creek Elementary school. Staff and students were eventually able to move into HSS’s new building, located on 444 Stuart St, on October 9, 1974.

For 50 years, welcoming students both from and outside Hope in the process, the school saw many changes at Stuart Street with the add-ons of new buildings, the rotation of sports, the hiatus of a once thriving school band, and going through nine principals.

In fact, the school’s current principal, Rosalee Floyd, started in 2011. However, she had been working at the school since 1991.

“There’s a lot of history here,” Floyd said. “And a lot of fond memories, as as we’ve noted, with the response from past grads. If you look at the display, you’ll see all the wonderful memories that people have shared from having gone to school here.

“And it’s been very rewarding (working here). I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with some incredible people and incredible students.”

Today, the school has a student population of 380 students. Many of the students grew up in Hope and did their entire schooling in the district. Some of HSS’s former students have even come back to work in the school either as teachers or part of the secretarial staff.

Currently, three HSS alumni are working at the school: Maya Araki-Hoshowski, who teaches Social Studies and History; Kimberly Hollman, who teaches Math; Jessica Broswick, who works as a secretary for HSS.

”I have really positive memories being a student at Hope Secondary,” Araki-Hoshowski said. “The friends I’ve made here have been life-long friends. And I’m lucky to be able to teach with one of them here. So, it’s a privilege. And I’m very lucky to be here everyday.”

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Kemone Moodley

About the Author: Kemone Moodley

I began working with the Hope Standard on August 2022.
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