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Nostalgic gathering at Pinecrest school closing ceremony

Smiles, laughter, and a few tears unfolded throughout Pinecrest Memorial Elementary School Tuesday night as community members gathered for a closing ceremony.

The school closes this month as a result of a decision by the school board June 19 to consolidate Pinecrest students from Grades K-6 with Queen Elizabeth School in Picton and send Grades 7 and 8 students to Prince Edward Collegiate in September 2017. In 2018, PECI becomes a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

The gathering was nostalgic for those re-connecting with old school chums and staff.

Heather Campbell was a Grade 4 student in 1967 when Pinecrest first opened – amalgamating students from 13 schools in Hallowell. Her brother Sandy was in Grade 3.

“Mrs. Gilbert was my teacher and his was Mrs. Claxton (now Kitchen) and he loved her. Every day she came to school she’d have a different colour pair of shoes and he would come home and give our mom a report that her dress always matched her shoes.”

Sharon Kitchen and Heather Campbell enjoyed reminiscing.

Campell and Kitchen posed for a photograph together and the two shared happy memories about the school and long-time principal Dan Rainey, who died last year.

“It was three precious, incredible years here for me,” said Kitchen, who recalled that in those days, everything that was needed was at the school – which also had “a new group of amalgamated teachers, with experience and innovative ideas.” She also recalled pay cheques at that time were delivered to teachers at home.

Dave MacKay by his principal portrait at Pinecrest.

David MacKay, the school’s principal from 1993-98, said those five years were the best of his 35 years in education.

Earlier in the day he visited the school to do live show for the County radio station.

“It was really emotional. I talked to students, teachers, interviewed the valedictorian and it was very touching. I have great memories here.”

MacKay was pleased while walking through the halls again, to see artwork on lockers was still intact some 20 years later.

Barclay Vanhecke beside the locker painting he did with Adam Smitty in 1994.

“We had an artist in residence here then to teach the kids how to draw and then they painted the lockers. A lot of great memories here.”

MacKay is co-organizing a Pinecrest Memorial School reunion for September and hopes it can be held at the school. Anybody interested can contact him on Facebook.

Current principal Kim Myderwyk introduced members of the school board and special guests at the closing ceremony.

“Together we gather to honour and celebrate 50 years of exceptional education,” she said, thanking all who helped organize the open house, barbecue and fun fair. She invited visitors to view the contents of the time capsule placed in the wall when the school was built.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our Lions past and present to celebrate our school together.”

Hastings Prince Edward District School Board Director of Education Mandy Savery-Whiteway shared a message from south PEC trustee Dwayne Inch, who was attending his son’s graduation that night. Inch was a graduate of Pinecrest and noted in his letter he has fond memories of the school and friendships with staff and students spanning more than 30 years.

“This evening we acknowledge Pinecrest’s past and also celebrate exciting opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead,” said Savery-Whiteway.

In closing, principal Myderwyk asked those in attendance to take up the challenge issued last week by 13-year-old Jasper Gilbert, the school’s final valedictorian, to look forward to the future with optimism while cherishing the memories made at Pinecrest.

Students from 13 schools consolidated into Pinecrest in 1967.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardLocal News

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  1. wevil says:

    was a great gathering of people at Pinecrest

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