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Huge gathering at Jack Miner Public School closing ceremony

Hundreds of former students and staff made their way to the corner of Road 3 and Division Street North along with current students, parents and staff to celebrate the past 68 years at Jack Miner Public School.

Built in 1956, the original building was known as Gosfield South Area Public School. After many additions, the school adopted the name Jack Miner Public School in recognition of the world-famous conservationist just down the street.

The May 15th evening affair started off with speeches in the gymnasium from board administration, town council and a special thank you from Matt Olewski of Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, followed by a performance by the school band.

From there, one could check out the different era displays that were set up with photos to peruse, themed rooms were open with teachers hosting, a scavenger hunt for the kids was set up amongst every nook and cranny of the school, and food trucks were set up for outdoor dining.

More than a few veteran teachers were on hand, including Don Coghill and Dave Campbell. Don first taught at the school in the 1960s and shared that “the school has always been family to me.”

Campbell, an industrial arts teacher in the 1970s and a vice-principal in the 1980s, said, “It’s a weird feeling to walk back in. This was my first school to work at in Essex County and I loved it.”

He also shared a favourite memory he had while teaching at Jack Miner Public School about a pair of ducks that were always found in the courtyard with their ducklings and how they would return each year to create a new brood.

Teacher Amy Warkentin was outside visiting and was asked what makes this school special. “The families and staff make the school special. We have lots of fun, there is something for everybody and it makes for a great community,” she said. 

Al Affleck has taught at the school for 24 years and has been a large presence, along with Don Fetter, in any athletic endeavours involving the students. Affleck mentioned that his favourite sports memories included seeing a former student become a professional volleyball player in Europe and having the privilege of coaching the district track champions last year.

Parent council members were front and centre at the celebration and two members, Michelle Marcovecchio and Heather Mikkelsen, expressed how “the school is a close-knit family and makes you feel that you are part of a caring community.”

The latest generation of students were well represented during the festivities and grade three student Willow Bennett was slowed down on the scavenger hunt for a quick comment. Willow was asked what she loves best about her school and said, “The teachers are always there for us.” She mentioned that she was looking forward to going to the new K-12 school in the fall and was “hoping for a lot of nature like we have here at Jack Miner.”

The final bell for this Kingsville school sounds on June 27th as staff and students make their way toward a new chapter on Jasperson Drive.

This week’s
online edition

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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