Welcoming speech at Saturday's dinner  (list of attendees follows)

Hi , my name is Don Cross.  I am one of the Wisewood 50th reunion committee members and had the dubious title of Student Council President in 1968!!  And tonight I have the distinct pleasure of sharing a few words with all of you.

Good evening everyone and welcome to the Henry Wisewood 50th school reunion!  There are around 200 of us that made it to either last night's or today's functions!

There's NOT a lot of schools that have 50 +  -  year reunions so kudos to all of us for making the effort to be here!

We have come from many places in the United States and Canada.  Is there anyone here that came from countries other that the USA and Canada?

I know there are people in the room from Texas, Brooklyn, and New York City.  Anywhere else in the states?

In Canada we've got folks from the East and the West:  Lots from BC and Alberta, some from Saskatchewan and Ontario and I'm sure other provinces as well.

The Wisewood 50th reunion committee would like to say thanks to all of you for making the effort to be here for this very special occasion. Hopefully those of you that flew Westjet here can get back home!  If not let me know we've got room at our place!!

When we reached out with our reunion website we quickly decided that we would dub it ""The class of 68 ish"" as there were so many people we all knew that would enjoy seeing others from years other that the 1968 grad class.  I know several of us took the 4 or 5 year plan to graduate too so we needed to take care of that!!!  I'm pretty sure we have grads here from 1963 through to 1971!

I would like to make a special shout-out to  "Patsy Steen (nee Allen) " who attended the first graduation ceremony in the year 1963!  She later became the Calgary Stampede Queen in 1967!  Patsy, where are you?? Please stand up Patsy and let''s all put our hands together for her.

I would like to take a moment to thank some very important people.

There were an additional 11 HWW Reunion committee members that worked tirelessly putting this event together.  Let me read out all their names.  Please stand up guys when I call your names out....

Jean Arbuckle, Graeme Dales,  Cliff Hendrickson, Penny Hume (Penny Morris in high school),
Dale Lamoureux, Rod McBride, Hetty Roessingh, Danny Russell, Don Sandford, Carla Watson ( Carla John in high school), Jim Watson

Can we put our hands together for this group of dedicated people who have spent many, many hours putting this weekend's events together and for making the hundreds of phone calls trying to reach as many folks as we could find?

Also, special thanks to Graeme Dales' son, CAM, for DJ''ing tonight's music.

I would also like to acknowledge the staff here at the Deerfoot Inn for their support in organizing this event this evening.

On a more somber note for a moment, hopefully you've had a chance to read our tributes section on the reunion website which allows us to remember those classmates of ours over the years that have passed away before us.  Sadly there are many, that many of us knew well, each with their own life story.  I would like to share a poem with you so we can celebrate them tonight:


We gather here, a class once more
To reminiscence, like years before
Upon the days and joys we knew
Before our school-aged time was through
Yet, as we meet, with memories near
We think of those, always held dear -
Our friends and classmates, passed away
Who are in a better place, enjoying their day.

They’ll be with us in every prayer
Until the day, we join them there

Until that hour, when we join again
An empty chair, we will maintain
In honor of the life-long bond
We forged with those, now passed beyond 
The friends with whom we learned life’s truth
Whose bonds lasted far from our youth
And shall remain forever near
When we gather, from year to year.

Here are a few reflections on our high school times from the 60's that I certainly recall and that hopefully you can relate to in some way, shape or form.

The teachers we had in HWW:

Two teachers from Wisewood have joined us tonight...

Erich Endor joins us tonight.  Where are you Erich...please stand-up and take a bow!!   Erich, was at Wisewood teaching French for quite a few years.   Some of us might have been in his first French class at HWW.  He began teaching in a small town (Alex) in central Alberta. After HWW, he was briefly at Fowler and Forest Lawn, but then Erich left the CBE to work in adult education teaching English as a Second Language. He particularly enjoyed working with the FOBs (Fresh off the Boat) immigrants who were starting with NO English at all. Erich worked at Bow Valley College for many, many years, only finally giving up his teaching work two years ago.  

John Semkuley is also here tonight.  Many of you will remember Mr. Semkuley as their football coach or guidance counsellor.  

Mr.  Semkuley began his teaching career at Viscount Bennett Junior/Senior High in 1956, where he taught Physical Education, Social Studies and Music. Coaching football was also on John’s list of assignments and his future contributions to football at all levels has been immense. 

In 1963, John became the Department Head in Physical Education at Henry Wise Wood High where he stayed until 1969, at which point he became the Assistant Principal at Lord Beaverbrook High. 

In 1977, John joined the Physical Education team of the Calgary Board of Education where he was given the assignment of Specialist in Athletics.

Tough but fair would be the words I would use to describe John.  Welcome John...so nice to see you again!!!   

Lets put our hands together for John and all the teachers we had at Wisewood!!

So what are your memories of those great days in the 60's at Henry Wisweood?

Today, whenever I drive southbound on Elbow Drive or take the #3 bus I can recall the location of homes of old friends and key landmarks where we all spent much of our high school time I'm sure.   I know I had friends from Riverdale Ave all the way out to Willow Park on both sides of Elbow Drive.

The Elbow River separated we Wisewood folk from those that attended Western Canada High School.  In the south I know the Wisewood boundary went out as far as HighwY 22X until Beaverbrook school was opened in 1968 and kids from that area started going to Beave at that point. 

I know that Wisewood drew students from several Junior High's:  
Who here went to Elboya? Milton Williams? Woodman? Fairview? David Thompson (Acadia)? Panabaker? Any others I've missed?

Moving south from the river, the neighborhoods of Britannia, Stanley Park, and Elboya come to mind.  Landmarks in that area I'm sure we all recall are Burt's store on the corner of Elbow and 50th, Stanley Park Pool with that great diving tank, Brittania shopping centre with that great bakery and the Burger Baron on 50th and McLeod.!!

Moving further south on Elbow, there were those beautiful big homes on the west side of Elbow that backed onto the Calgary Golf and Country Club and the Windsor Park district on the east.  Windsor Park did have a bit of a ""rep"" back then, but in my High School world there was far less social stigma on where you lived and I all had friends in all suburbs that fed students into Wisewood. 

Actually, speaking of Windsor Park, I do remember well the time I got beat up by a kid from there named Gary Omilusik.  Gary was a sort of super-hero in Windsor Park...he had silver lined fillings on his front teeth and a bullet hole in his cheekbone he got when he threw a  live 22 round into a fire and it perforated his cheekbone exiting just below his eye!!!  So at the end of the day it was sort of a twisted ""honor"" to have been beaten senseless by him!

Then came the Meadowlark Park neighborhood and  Mayfair/BelAire homes followed by the Kingsland/Haysboro kids and Kelvin Grove/Chinook Park burbs 

Some of the landmarks I recall in that area were the Meadowlark Park Community Hall skating rink

Chinook Center, particularly Woodwards food floor with their Italian sandwiches, 

Woodwards Fashion Council pictures on the second floor of Woodwards where all the supposed cool, well dressed kids in Calgary High Schools were posted...I see Peggy Hughes is here tonight, she was on that wall in 1968!

The Trade Winds Hotel of course.  Lloyd's Rollercade and Tom's House of Pizza, the Wild Horse driving range, 

Mario's and Chicken on the Way in that little strip mall on the northwest corner of Elbow and 66th. 

Hay's farm and the Corral Drive-In theatre

There were tons of kids from the Fairview/Acadia area too along with the then new districts of Lake Bonaventure and Willow Park.


As the reunion committee sat around at our organizational meetings over beers and wine, we couldn't help but talk about our times at Wisewood in the 60's.

50 years later here we are a very successful group of graduates.  Company CEO's, artists, Lawyers, landscape architects, University profs, franchisors, oil field workers, Software engineers, realtors, government employees, Geologists, teachers, nurses and everything in between.  Back in the 60's the great thing about high school was that we never really worried about the future and what we would become..and look at us now!!!

It was a carefree life of playing hockey or football on the weekends, walking the halls after lunch, in a clockwise direction!, 

Walking in the great city wide bluejean student protest resulting in finally being allowed to wear them (apologies to Mr. Eric Endor and Mr. Jack Ferguson for those times we spent together in the office) 
Skipping the odd French class and playing pool at Jim Leask's house, 

Friday night football at Glenmore Athletic park, then going to the PDI - Prairie Dog Inn - on 17th for pizza, 

Doing the quarter mile in our parents' cars on 14th street between 75th and Heritage Drive, 

Poker nights at my house, 

Tapping a case of beer at the Altadore ALCB, 

Using our newly minted fake ID at the Trade Winds hotel, 

Roller skating at Lloyd's Rollercade, 

Sneaking into the Corral Drive in in the trunk of a car 

Going to MacDonalds on McLeod trail after a night of partying, 

Wild bush parties on the South banks of the Glenmore reservoir or down at Sandy Beach,  

Sneaking onto the Calgary Golf and Country club from the gravel cliff's behind Bel-Aire and riding the funicular up to the 11 hole!  Only to be chased down the golf course by the jeep to Ginny and Georgia Graves house where we could cut through their fence to Elbow Drive

Wondering why I didn't   ""crack"" the hallowed walls of 12A or 12B or 12C

And so it goes.....

On a side-note, for me personally, my number one memory of high school was playing Junior Football with the Wisewood Warriors for 3 years.  That was huge for me.  Long practices in the fall, the voices of coaches, taking the bus on game day, playing in a game despite a smashed up hand, the incredible team comraderie we created, the cool football jackets you could wear, hanging with a great bunch of guys all the while. and the best of all, playing Viscount Bennett in the city final.  For me, it didn't get any better than that.

So to wind up this little trip down memory lane, I say to you, folks, we are one of the luckiest generations  in history to have lived our childhood and teenage years in the 50''s,and 60''s, truly 2 of the most awesome decades in history.  There has never been a better time before or since in my humble opinion.  It was a golden era of pop culture, challenging social norms, irresponsible excesses, incredible music, flamboyance and the pursuit of individual freedom.

But of course it hasn't all been perfect all the time.  I'm sure we've all had our ups and downs along the way, but from my point of view the last 50 years have been the best ""ride"" ever.  

I've heard it said that after 50, you get the face you deserve.....and after 60 you've got the life you deserve

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have come to the point in my life where a ""happy hour"" is an afternoon nap

And for those of you who are parents, just think about this....50 years from now this room is going to be filled with old ladies with tattoos.

On that note, I bid you adieu..Let's have a great evening


Our apologies to those who attended the event, but are not listed below:

Guest Purchased Tickets
Barb Alexander
Kim Allen
Jean Arbuckle
Pat Bennett
Bjorn Berg
Barb Black (Davidson)
Sharmaine Blenner-Hassett (Loucks)
Wendy Boyd (Lutzen-Askew)
D'Arcy Brown
David Busheikin
Brian Butlin
Rosemary Callie (Nogue)
Shirley Carrol (McDonald)
Bob Chandler
Cheryl Coates (Bissell)
Don Cottrell
Tom Craig
Don Cross
Bill Cummings
Clyde D'Arcy
Graeme Dales
Scott Darling
John Dauphinee
Fern Derie
Gary Dvorkin
Erich Endor
Nancy Erickson (Read)
Marilyn Firmston
Gary Flitton
Lynn Forrest (Livingstone)
Janet Forster (Brydon)
Janne Forsythe (Aikins)
Dana Friley
Don Gerlitz
Jeff Germaniuk
Darrell Gibson
Darrell Goss
Georgia Graves (Desmarais)
Ginny Graves (Stott)
Ken Grier
Allen Hagerman
Clare Haitsma
Vern Hambling
Duncan Hamilton
Annette Hanson
Hugh Haxton
Jan Hedder (Grier)
Pat Hellier (Loewen)
Rick Henderson
Cliff Hendrickson
Jae Hendrickson
George Hilton
Gary Hinton
Mike Hoare
Harry Homer-Dixon
Peggy Hugh (Kassa)
Mark Iantkow
Harry Irving
Glenn Jackson
Jan Jacques
Jacki Jaques (Glover)
Jane Jessiman (Bajnock)
Carla John (Watson)
Bruce Kendall
Bruce King
Dubhe (Nancy) Kirst (Coates)
Ron Kovitz
Mel Ksienski
Cyrille Lamoureux
Dale Lamoureux
Brenda Leask (Gray)
Duncan Lemmon
Ardele Lister
Billy Lister
Bob Loucks
Barb Love (Gleissner)
Shannon MacDonald (Seaman)
Janet MacGregor
Nancy Marble (Richards)
Dan McDonald
Cal McFarlane
Leslie McInnes (Woofter)
Pam McIntyre (de Bruycker)
John Mckay
Gary McReynolds
Don Milliken
Barry Morris
Penny Morris (Hume)
David Mullan
John Norrie
Sharon O'Reilly (Jeffries)
Pat Owens (Smed)
Diane (Bokkie) Pearce
Shirley Peters (Swainson)
Ken Piercy
Drew Pushie
Dwayne Puzzie
Douglas Rae
Brock Rishworth
Hetty Roessingh
Gerry Rostoker
Bob Rowe
Danny Russell
Bob Sandford
Don Sandford
Yogi Schulz
John Semkuley
Jerol Shier (Moignard)
Jack Silver
Mogens Smed
Ole Smed
Jim Stevens
Terry Tarabula
Ross Thompson
Harry Thys
Bryant Tomimoto
Russ Tynan
Dave Van Der Lee
Jean Van Der Lee
Gordon Walker
Cliff Wallis
Jim Watson
Lorne Watters
Wayne Webb
Harold Weidman
Margo Williams (Millar)
Murray Wilson
Wayne Woo (Chow)
Margaret Wrangham (Cull)
Marilyn Young (Williams)
Pam Young (Buckshon)