1989 - 1990
The first year at Dauphin was memorable in so many ways. As soon as we arrived in early August we set about organizing for the beginning of classes in September. One of the major tasks was to adjust to the Manitoba system. It was necessary to compare the required courses of Manitoba with those that had been offered in Saskatchewan. As it turned out, the systems of the two provinces were similar enough that the transition was not too difficult. There was the matter of textbooks, and in this area we were able to use many of the Saskatchewan texts for the first year or two. Gradually we added textbooks authorized by Manitoba Education. Later on when the grant structure was clarified, we learned that there was a yearly textbook grant for each student including those from outside the Province. This proved to be a real blessing and we were able to add new text requirements at a much faster pace. Some of the old books that were brought from Weyburn had been obsolete for several years. Many were worn out from decades of previous use.
Since James Willett had elected to retire and not move with the school, one new teacher was added to the faculty. Ronald Johnson began teaching and took over the music program, chorus and band, as well as the teaching of art and other subjects.
Time tabling was a problem since many staff members had chosen not to move with the college. The number of teachers was greatly reduced, down from thirteen in 1988-1989 to eight in 1989-1990. In spite of this drop in numbers, we were still trying to offer the same basic curriculum with the exception of industrial arts.
When school opened in September the enrollment was as follows: Grade ten - 18; grade eleven - 26; grade twelve - 22; College - 14. After one student withdrew because of family reasons, the enrollment remained at 79. There had been much speculation as to how many students would go with the school to Dauphin. While the number was down some, in view of circumstances I was pleased that we had a good nucleus of students in each grade.
The number of teachers qualified to teach in the College program had dropped to a bare minimum. Whereas there had been several Liberal Arts classes available in Weyburn, our offerings in Dauphin were limited outside the Bible classes. As a result we approached the registrar at the University of Brandon and were able to make arrangements for a class to be offered during the first semester at the campus at Dauphin. Dr. Parnell, the head of the history department, agreed to drive to Dauphin one evening each week for a three-hour class. Seven students from Western along with five students from the surrounding communities made up that first class. The class went very well and as a result our students were able to receive one credit in a liberal arts class. There was a possibility of a second class being offered during the spring semester, but as it turned out there were not enough students interested to warrant an instructor driving from Brandon.
A change had taken place in the girls' dormitory with the beginning of the fall term. Since Karen Close had resigned as dorm director, a replacement was needed. Nina Crawford from Medicine Hat, Alberta accepted the challenge and became dorm director.
The J.C.Bailey lectures which had been sponsored by the Weyburn church of Christ were not held after the school moved to Dauphin. There was some feeling that the lectures could have continued in Weyburn, but the Weyburn congregation declined the offer. A class in counselling was conducted in the spring, taught by Jim Hawkins. This class had been a tradition for several years and has continued each year since that time.
Attempts to establish credits with the University of Brandon were not successful. We were reminded of earlier times when accreditation was sought with the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan.
One of the disadvantages during the first several weeks of school in the fall was the fact that we had no bell system of any kind. Arrangements were made to purchase an intercom system capable of two-way communication. We were fortunate that Ernest Andersen from Big Beaver Saskatchewan volunteered to install the wiring to all classrooms and other vital areas. The installation took several days. Two students, Steve Andersen and Larry Elford were very helpful in the installation process. Peter Nykolaishen from whom we purchased the amplifier unit, did all the connections to get the system operational. It was a relief to be able to signal the beginning and end of classes.
Very late in the fall the lab installations, electrical, water, propane, etc. were finally completed. The same lab tables which I had built for the labs in Weyburn were back in service again. Jack Close was most patient while waiting for the job to be finished.
An interesting event took place early in September as a special student activity. In past years get-acquainted parties were held at the beginning of school. In September 1989 staff organized a "Medieval Week" under the direction of Ron Johnson and Matt Jackson. During this week a number of activities were arranged centring around medieval times. Cock fights, jousting and armour building were some of the fun activities. A medieval church service was arranged following the Wednesday night service.
Sports teams began early in the fall to integrate into the area leagues and schedules. Girls' volleyball was coached by "Doc" John Harvey and the boys' team by Ron Johnson. Both teams played in a tournament at Gilbert Plains in early October against four area teams from Winnipegosis, Ethelbert, Rossburn and Gilbert Plains. The boys team advanced to the final as a result of the round robin competition. They were defeated in the final games by Gilbert Plains. The girls team won only one game in the round robin competition and so were eliminated from the finals.
The girls played in other tournaments at Winnipegosis and at the DRCSS comprehensive in Dauphin. They played hard at all games even though they were not successful in winning many. Both volleyball teams played in Districts but were defeated in the final games. Our team members received many compliments as to behavior and sportsmanship. This was always encouraging. Many of the players were rookies but the season was filled with a lot of "fun" for all.
The hockey team was organized early in the fall with Rod Davis and Peter Melnyk (from the city) as managers. Several exhibition games were played against teams in local towns and tournaments were played in Minnedosa, Weyburn and Williston. Steve McMillan and Curtis Parker coached the team. A comment in the yearbook says: "If success is winning lots of games, then we weren't too successful. However, if success is having fun, then we were very successful. Highlight of the year was not so much the hockey hut the 'sing- alongs' on the trips." Derek McMillan was chosen most valuable player, Malcolm McMillan most sportsmanlike player, and Todd Jacobs most improved player.
Boys basketball began in mid-November under the coaching of John Harvey. Trevor Wise was captain of the team. There were only seven guys on the team. At the homecoming game, Western was defeated by the Flin Flon Kings 74-61. Our team had led at the end of the first quarter and at half time, but towards the end "ran out of gas." Later in the season the team played in the DRCSS junior tournament and won in the final game against Swan Valley Tigers by a score of 75-39. They had earlier defeated the Dauphin Clippers by a score of 88 41. Top scorers were Lawrence VanDyke and Jamie Lobert. The Swan Valley coach made the comment after the game: "We were outmatched. They outplayed us and outshot us for the entire game." At the awards banquet in June, Jamie Lobert was named most valuable player and Nathan Close rookie of the year.
Areas of understaffing that first year were evident when there were no substitute teachers available when a teacher was ill. We were also without any library help, and a backlog of work in that area just sat there and didn't get done. Teachers were teaching full loads, supervising study hall periods, coaching sports and attempting to adjust to new curriculum guides and text books. In spite of these circumstances, there was no noticeable grumbling or complaining.
Lectureship in October, the first in Dauphin, was highlighted with the grand opening ceremonies for the Dauphin Campus. The Dauphin Herald gave this account of the activities on that opening day:
"The wait is over. Western Christian College has officially arrived. Representatives from three levels of government and the town welcomed the school to Dauphin in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the site of the former Mackay Residential School Saturday.
"Mayor Martin Bidzinski said the college will make a definite impact on the town. 'For Dauphin, the move of Western Christian College has opened enormous economic potential,' he told a crowd of about 1000 people."
The front page of the October 10 Herald also featured a picture of Miss Torkelson carrying the school torch down the driveway to the front of the main building where the opening ceremonies were taking place. Miss Torkelson has described the torch run in her epilogue to the Diary Update. She closes her epilogue with these words:
"Saturday afternoon October 7, on a warm, sunshiny autumn day, the official opening ceremonies of the college were conducted on the steps of the administration building in front of several hundred guests assembled on the college campus. Near the end of the ceremonies I met the last rider of the torch run.
"Then, followed by students singing the school song, I walked up the main driveway, holding high the lighted torch to present it to President Vince Anderson with these words, 'May this torch light the way to a great future.'"
Feature speaker at that lectureship was Dr. John Bailey from Bedford, Texas, who based his lessons around the theme "Encouraging Tired Christians." The three main lectures at the DMCC curling rink attracted about 900 people.
In late October a social evening was held in the auditorium and featured several "air bands," many strange costumes and a general display of hidden talents.
The November issue of the Messenger reported the appointment of Dale Elford to the position of Public Relations Representative. Dale's responsibilities included student recruitment, fund raising and other public relations areas.
The end of the fall term was concluded with a Christmas banquet with lots of excellent food prepared by the Davis's and the kitchen staff. After a delicious meal had been enjoyed by all, the "man in the red suit" made an appearance. Bill Stroll, a grade ten student, as "Santa" did an excellent job entertaining the children and students. Musical entertainment was provided by Bonnie McMillan with John Pennington at the piano. "Dox," a male quartet of Leland Morris, Curtis Parker, Larry Elford and John Pennington, provided musical numbers for the program.
In January, the Parkland Winter Games were held in Dauphin. Two students from Western, Larry Elford and Jamie Harvey played on the Dauphin basketball team. The team was successful in winning first place and qualified to go on to Carman for further competition in March. Several students from Western assisted with the games in various capacities.
The winter banquet that year was not held until February 13. The meal was provided by Jerry McCutcheon who operates the Bonanza restaurant in Portage La Prairie. The food was prepared and transported from Portage and served by his regular staff. The meal was delicious. Entertainment was provided by Vince Anderson, the men's quartet "Dox," and Bonnie McMillan and Rebecca Tucker.
Vince Anderson showed his skill at "picking" on his guitar.
The homecoming weekend was held on February 2 and 3, with activities taking place at the college and in the Comprehensive gym. Classes of '50, '60, '70, '80 and '85 were guests of honour. Candidates for homecoming queen were Andrea Bourassa, Tamara Jacobs and Bonnie McMillan. Andrea Bourassa was crowned queen for the occasion. All three girls had participated in many activities such as yearbook, student council, musicals, dorm council, drama and other school events. Earlier in the week the College class constructed a replica of the old campus at Weyburn (in miniature) from snow in the front yard. Activities of the weekend included sports activities, the annual alumni meeting, a band program, choral singing, a banquet and evening program on Saturday and class gatherings in various homes later in the evening. About 300 attended the evening program.
A ski trip to Mount Agassiz took place on January 31 with many of the students on the slopes, some for the first time, even though the temperature hovered around minus thirty degrees. Classes were suspended for the day to encourage as many as possible to participate. The experience is considered a part of our physical education program. A ski instructor was on hand to teach some of the basic fundamentals to those who had not gone skiing before. Mount Agassiz is located about 50 miles south east of Dauphin.
On March 15 a talent show was presented in the auditorium with the program open to the public. The entertainment included singing groups, skits, instrumental numbers and a few comedy acts. The evening was enjoyed by all.
On Tuesday March 13, an article in the Dauphin Herald indicated that the government grant for Manitoba students at Western was to be delayed for one year. Government officials had tried to bring in legislation requiring new (new to the province) private schools to wait a three year period before they would become eligible to receive the grant. However, thanks to some excellent lobbying by Mr. Frank Neufeld, head of the Manitoba Federation of Independent Schools, and a lot of hard work on the part of Vince Anderson and others, Western did not have to wait the two or three year period, and although the funds were late in arriving, they did eventually come through. The announcement was made public in the June issue of the Messenger. The grant the first year amounted to $23,000.00, a welcome addition to the fund raising efforts.
At the same time the grant issue was being debated, the government also introduced "accountability rules" for private schools. These regulations were to include such things as submitting financial statements and students' academic achievement records as well as administrative criteria such as proving the schools are legally incorporated with a board of directors. These regulations did not pose a problem to Western since all of these documents were readily available. Vince Anderson commented: "That is no problem as far as we are concerned. If government is going to be paying grants to institutions, there has to be accountability...it is a fair arrangement." Vince went on to say that Western already had a good accounting system and would have no difficulty complying with the new regulations. Department of Education and Training Minister, Len Derkach also announced that over the next eight years the province would increase funding for private schools from 50% to 80% of support received by public schools.
The chorus tour was conducted during spring break with the first performance in the WCC auditorium on Wednesday March 21. Many visitors from the community attended. The trip took the singers through Manitoba, Saskatchewan and part of North Dakota. "There are a lot of memories of Chorus tour '90 such as 'returning to the old campus', shopping in Polo Park, singing in the Cathedral in Gravelbourg and the Legislative building in Winnipeg." Two performances, one in Moose Jaw and one in Portage, were videoed by cable T.V. Oliver Engel of Engelheim Bus Service was the driver for the trip. Almost $3000.00 was contributed to the "Diesel Fund" bucket along the way. Students reported, "We had an awesome tour."
I have not mentioned "Sonshine," the twelve member mixed singing group. This group did an excellent job of providing inspirational singing at several activities during the year. This group has been a Western tradition for several years and continues each year with new members being added to replace those who have graduated.
On May 3, a sports awards banquet was held in the cafeteria. John Harvey was in charge of the event. He said regarding the first year of athletic activities in Dauphin, "We were very pleased with the reception we received from the local coaches and community. We felt like we fit right in." Malcolm McMillan, Leland Morris, Lisa Hamilton and Tamara Jacobs each received awards for volleyball achievement. Hockey awards went to Todd Jacobs, Derek McMillan and Malcolm McMillan. Basketball awards went to Nathan Close and Jamie Lobert. Spirit awards went to Derek McMillan and Tamara Jacobs.
College graduation was held on May 12, 1990. This was the first College graduation on the new campus. At that time Tim Pippus was awarded the Bachelor of Theology degree. He was the thirteenth person to be given this award. The degree had been offered for the past seven years. Because a number of staff members had elected not to move with the school, the emphasis of the program was changing to a one year certificate program and a two-year diploma program. Five other students, Dawn Buckmaster, Chandra Allen, Steve McMillan, Curtis Parker and Mark DeYoung received the one-year certificates at this graduation. Two other students, Rebecca Tucker and John Pennington received letters of recognition for academic achievement. Other award recipients are listed in the awards section of the Appendix of this publication.
The musical production prepared for Youth Rally was "The Mikado," by Gilbert and Sullivan. Larry Elford and Leah Rodriguez were directors. A large number of young people attended the weekend from many centres across Western Canada. The "Mikado" was ably played by John Pennington. Guest speaker for the event was Bob Harrington from Calgary.
The Zone 8 regional AA track and field meet was held in Grandview on May 24. Trevor Wise placed first in the Senior Boys' 200 metre race, Jamie Lobert placed first in the long jump and second in the triple jump event, and Aaron Morland first in the shot put event. These three along with Derek McMillan also placed first in the 4x1OOm relay race. In the 100m race Jamie Lobert was second and Trevor Wise was third. Rick Jenkins won fourth in the high jump. As a result of the wins those placing first through third were eligible to go on to provincials in Winnipeg on June 1.
Soccer was also introduced in late spring. The boys had only a few games and for the first year were not too successful on the score board. However, there was a lot of fun experienced as each did his best in the competition.
Spring retreat was held early in June at the Dauphin Bible Camp near Riding Mountain National Park. This is an excellent facility for such an activity. It is about ten miles from the school. The retreat provides a weekend of relaxation before the final examinations.
Late in the year Mr. Frank Neufeld as representative of the Education department visited the school and observed the routine activities and the facility. The report in the Messenger stated:
"After taking a look at the program, curriculum, facilities, teaching techniques and student responses, he called a staff meeting to give his general impressions of Western. Generous in his appraisal of what he had seen, he was very impressed with the physical plant and especially with the library. He was positive as to the quality of teaching that he witnessed, and impressed with the quality of the questions and answers given by students as they responded to the subject being taught."
It is interesting that for some reason during this first year rumours were being circulated that the academic level at Western had fallen during the past few years. However a check of the records indicated that the pass rates for June of the previous year were 96%-grade ten, 98%-grade eleven and 98.5% for grade twelve. These pass percentages were excellent when compared to Provincial pass rates.
On June 9, 1990 the 45th class to graduate from Western Christian College but the first to graduate from the Dauphin campus were honoured at the banquet and graduation exercises. Both events were held in the school facilities. A total of nineteen students were honoured on the occasion. The class theme was "On the Edge of a Dream." Jack Close was selected by the students to be the guest speaker. The program bore the traditional marks of many previous graduation exercises with the "passing of the torch," singing of the school song, and presentation of the many awards, and thus gave credence to the fact that Western had indeed become established in its new home. Miss Lillian Torkelson, who was the first teacher in the high school program in 1946, and who had come from Weyburn for the celebration, presented the valedictorian and salutatorian medals and the art award and the "A" pins.
Bonnie McMillan was valedictorian for the class and Tamara Jacobs was salutatorian. Bonnie also received the Math-Science Award, the Band Award and the Parker Bible Award. The "A" pins which are awarded to students who maintain an average of at least 80% for each term spent at Western, were awarded to both Bonnie and Tamara and also to Yvette Gagne and Andrea Bourassa. The "Faye Brazle Christian Woman Award" was presented to Tamara Jacobs and the Art Award to Yvette Gagne. The Mr. and Miss Grad Awards went to Mike Reid and Andrea Bourassa. Male and female Sports Awards were presented to Leland Morris and Genevieve Bird.
I would be negligent if I did not mention two contributors to this first year in Dauphin. The first person was Roy Bailey. Roy provided much professional advice to the board as well as to the administration in the new location. He was actively involved meeting with officials from Manitoba Education and others in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan as attempts were being made to arrange for transition from one province to another. To him we extend our sincere thanks. The other contributor from behind the scenes was the Women's Service Club. This group of faithful supporters was invited in many projects as they endeavoured to make the Dauphin facility more homelike. Through their efforts much time and money was contributed toward the improvement of the facility. To them we say a hearty "thank you."
1990 - 1991
At the close of the 1989-90 school year, John Harvey requested a leave of absence from teaching. Bill Earnshaw and his wife also announced plans to return to Australia. As a result of these two vacancies on the faculty, two new teachers were to join the staff for the year 1990-1991. Mark Husband from Regina came to teach mathematics and computers and help with coaching sports. Both he and his wife Christina had graduated from Western. Mark graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and worked for three years as youth minister with the congregation of the church of Christ in Regina. Gordon Goldsmith was hired to teach history, social studies, geography and biology, as well as physical education. Gordon had attended the Bible Department at Western in 1976. He received his professional training from the University of Brandon and then served with the Wawota congregation for three years, two of which were spent in Papua, New Guinea doing mission work. His wife, Ruth (Husband) was also a graduate of Western.
Matt Jackson had also announced his intentions to terminate his teaching in the Bible Department. During the summer, arrangements were made with Hugh and Donna Gannon to move to Dauphin in order that Hugh could teach Bible in Matt's stead. Changes in other departments were taking place too. Elaine Vance resigned as bookkeeper since the Vances were moving to Red Deer, Alberta. Elaine had served in a variety of positions for eleven years. Additional help was also required for the dining
The second year began with an increase in enrollment from 80 the first year to 93 as of September 1990 with distribution as follows: Grade 10-25; grade 11-31; grade 12-30; College-7. Of the number, 43 were new students, 91 were full time and two were part time. The Herald reported: "This year the college has 35 students from Saskatchewan, 19 from Manitoba, 12 from Alberta 10 from British Columbia, 2 from the Territories, 7 from the United States, 4 from Hong Kong and 3 from Saudi Arabia. In a letter to parents on October 1, I made the following observation: "There is an atmosphere of optimism among both staff and students. The trauma of the move from Weyburn is now history and every area seems to be more settled. The expressions on the faces of students are those of happiness and contentment for the most part. We feel we are off to an excellent year." The increase in the high school area was just over 30%. Previous to the opening some were very skeptical as to whether there would be an increase. However, I felt if we had a good program, the enrollment would improve and the opening numbers in September showed that this was the case.
Besides the new teachers, Marilyn Muller was appointed to the position of Dean of Student Life. New personnel were also added in the dining area and in maintenance. Mary Gurel began work in the food services area and John Gurel half-time in maintenance. Cheryl Cox was moved to the bookkeeping department and Karen Close became academic secretary/receptionist.
Once again students were treated to a medieval period in history with some variation of activities from the previous year. This activity served as an opportunity for students from so many different areas to get to know each other better and feel comfortable among a lot of new friends.
One of the first events of the fall term, after the timetable problems were resolved and everyone was settled into the usual routine was arranging for a training session in volley ball. The volleyball teams were selected and arrangements made for a volley ball clinic to be conducted by Brian Kan from Fairford, Manitoba, a former fellow teacher of Gordon Goldsmith. Brian had for three years coached International teams, both boys' and girls', in Hong Kong. The students co-operated fully with Mr. Kan, and as a result learned a great deal from the workshop. Two other workshops, one in basketball and one in hockey, were also in the plans for the fall term.
On Sunday September 30, a number of students took part in a Walk for Life event in Dauphin. The Sonshine group went to Wawota for a Kids' Rally. The chorus was busy getting ready to perform at the annual lectureship. Other items reported in the letter to parents at that time included a "lates and absences policy," whereby unexcused absences were to be compensated for by "work detail" around the campus. A long weekend was announced for late October because of the upcoming teachers' convention.
The September Messenger contained some exciting news in the financial report, under the headline, "Old Deficit Cleared." The announcement read as follows:
"July 23 was a day of rejoicing in the office at W.C.C. as the accumulated deficit from prior years was completely eliminated.
"At year end in July of 1988, the deficit stood at $420,263.00. During the subsequent months, a deficit elimination campaign spear headed by Glen McMillan was begun. By July 31, 1989, the deficit had shrunk to $158,917.00 through a combination of giving and tight budgetary controls which resulted in being under budget in the expenditure category. The deficit elimination drive continued through 1989 and 1990 with the final dollars being given on July 23rd to completely eliminate the operational debt."
"We are thankful to many people who have given selflessly to see this goal realized. We are thankful to Glen McMillan and the sever al people who helped him in the various areas in the fund raising drive to accomplish what some people thought was an impossible task."
Although the past indebtedness had been eliminated, circumstances through this year had created problems in the area of finance. Taxes were expected to run at around $5000.00, but instead Western was informed that the taxes would amount to $37,278.00. New legislation regarding Municipal assessment passed by the Manitoba Government meant that the dormitories would be taxed under the highest rate, 73.2% of the assessed value of the buildings, the same category as apartment buildings. As a result of this turn in events, the next few months were to witness a struggle between independent schools in Manitoba which operate dormitories, and the Provincial Government's new legislation. We will report the final decision about this struggle in order of events.
There was however some good news regarding grants for Manitoba students. It was learned that Western would not have to wait three years to receive this assistance.
During the past 18 months the number of shareholders in Western had grown from about 300 to 700 in number. The Women's Service Club had been active in raising some funds to help pay off the back debt in addition to other improvements they were providing for the students. Another item of interest was that the bylaws had been changed to reduce the number of board members from eleven to seven, each serving three years instead of the previous five years. Vince reported that 192 contributors to Western were using the Pre-Authorized Payment method of contributing, whereby their donation is automatically drawn on their bank account on a monthly basis.
The Academic report for the previous year indicated that the pass rates for grades ten, eleven and twelve were 95.82, 95.0 and 99.99% respectively.
A special tribute was paid via the Messenger to Wayne Knote, Secretary of Cedar Foundation in U.S.A., who had served faithfully on the Foundation for many years and had given much time and effort to the successful operation of this organization.
The 1990 lectureship was held on October 5, 6 and 7. This was the first time the lectureship was terminated on Sunday evening instead of Monday morning. This enabled staff to clean up after the evening service and also gave guests extra travel time to drive home from the week end. Highlights of the annual meeting included the resignation of Lowell Hodgson from the board of directors. He had served on the board for five years and as chairman for four of those years. He had worked diligently and effectively through some very difficult times of major decisions. At the Saturday night gift-night, almost $47,000.00 was raised. Lectureship speakers and class participants that year were Darrell Buchanan, Dwight Morris, Charles McKnight, John Smith, Jim Pennington, Bob Parker, Don Killough, Hugh Gannon, Brian Cox, Harold Parker and Dan Wieb. The theme of the lectureship was "Fellowship - Imitators of Christ."
The December issue of the Messenger reported that the former campus at Weyburn was to be returned to the Rural Municipality of Weyburn. Little interest had been shown by anyone about purchasing any of the buildings. Since the buildings were no longer being used for educational purposes, the problem was further complicated by a tax levy of $44,413.97 by the R.M. Negotiations with the Rural Council and the Hamlet board failed to produce any con cession on this matter. I have not been able to understand how the R.M. could levy a tax on buildings that no one wanted and that were in a state of disrepair. To me a levy of over $44,000.00 was totally unreasonable. I still hold to that view. At any rate the Board decided to turn the buildings over to the R.M. for tax arrears in order to avoid further expenses relative to the property.
A decision was made by the Board to increase student fees by 7% for the 1991/92 school year. As a result the yearly cost for high school rose to $5,380.00. College students taking 12 hours of credits would be charged $4,510.00.
Changes in the academic area saw an increase in class time for the foundation subjects such as English, math and science. This was deemed advisable in view of the fact that these subjects are so important to students continuing on in university. The recommended amount of time for each credit was 110 hours. Western was now allotting up to 130 hours instruction in these basic subjects. Other changes in the academic department included a course at the grade ten level called Skills for Independent Living. This course was introduced by Manitoba Education as a compulsory credit class at that level. Limited standardized tests were also introduced at the grade twelve level for the Province.
A proposed change to the College Bible program was announced in December of 1990 in these words: "Western offers intensive Bible studies beyond the high school level. Our college Bible program presents an excellent opportunity for students to go deep into the Word and build up a personal faith. We are prepared to extend our Bible program to the three-year study when there are students interested in such a program."
As the fall semester progressed the volley ball teams continued to improve. The boys' team, coached by Ron Johnson, played in tournaments in Gilbert Plains (losing in the semi-finals), and Winnipegosis (first place). At districts they advanced to the semi-finals and lost in a close match against St. Vlad's, who then went on to provincials. The girls' team got off to a slow start, but improved as the season went on, and eventually played in districts where they were defeated in the semi-finals. Mark Husband was their coach.
Further, in the area of sports, two more clinics were held during the fall semester. A training session in basketball was conducted by Ron McCutcheon, assistant coach of the Brandon University boys' basketball team. Doug Parker came from Regina to conduct a hockey clinic with our team. In the meantime according to a report by Ron Johnson, athletic director, both boys' and girls' volley ball teams had advanced to the semi-finals at the regional level.
Students from Western participated in a "mock disaster," staged at the Dauphin airport. The occasion was a simulated plane crash, designed to test the response of airport personnel and the airport's backup agencies. Twelve students were treated by makeup artists to rep resent crash victims with head lacerations and other injuries. The exercise involved local R.C.M.P, ambulance personnel, the fire department and other emergency organizations.
The basketball clinic got the teams off to a good start. On January 27 the Dauphin Herald carried the headline "WCC Mustangs take St. Vlad's tourney." Four teams participated in the event: Winnipegosis, Roblin, St. Vlad's and Western. The Mustangs defeated Winnipegosis 60-34, and then went on in the final to defeat St. Vlad's. The zone playoffs were held at the Dauphin comprehensive gym on March 9. Western defeated the Winnipegosis Lakers 47 28 and then the number one team, St. Vladimir's College Knights 55-52 in overtime. John Harvey who coached the boys, said concerning the boys' games: "The boys played tremendously. All nine of my players came in and made a major contribution either offensively or defensively, or just playing a few solid minutes while the other boys rested." As a result of these wins Western qualified to play in the provincial A basketball tournament at St. Boniface Diocese on March 15-17. The first game in provincial competition pitted Western against Rossburn. Final score was 58 57 in favour of Rossburn. In the second game Western played the defending champion Morris team where the WCC squad lost 48-44, to end the season. One of the strongest players on Western's team, Lawrence VanDyke was unable to play in the provincial competition because his younger brother had been killed in an accident just prior to the game. The entire team was emotionally down because of the tragedy.
Not much was said during the fall term about the girls' basketball season. A report in the year book did shed some light on this segment of our sports program. Larry Elford and Mr. Goldsmith coached the girls. The team included Crystal Elford, Jann Tetreau, Liz Pfeiffer, Kristi Close, Terri Greenslade, Charlotte Bell, Jenny Cox, Kem Starnes, Bethany Close, Tara Laliberte (co-captain), Heather McMillan (captain) and Charla Muller. Lack of experience showed early in the season, but much progress was made as time went on, and a good foundation was laid for the coming year since all but one of the girls would be returning for the 1991 92 year.
An interesting addition to the sports scene that year was the formation of a pep squad consisting of twenty students whose desire was to cheer the teams on to victory.
The hockey team had an interesting year with a fairly strong team that improved greatly as the season progressed. The team attended tournaments in Regina and Saskatoon, finishing as "C" side champions in both places. The provincial finals were played in The Pas where Western won the consolation final after losing a tough match to the host team.
Homecoming'91 was held on February 8-10 on the campus. Approximately 100 alumni attended the Saturday banquet. One event that was missing from that year's homecoming was the Friday night basketball games. Because of a city-wide basketball tournament, no gym was available to rent. Alumnus of the year ('90) was Gerry Bell from Shamrock, Saskatchewan. Ron Pauls from London, Ontario received the Alumni Certificate of Distinction. Scott Roberts was elected president of the Alumni Association.
For the second year in a row students enjoyed a trip to the ski slopes at Mount Agassiz. Because of the nearness of this ski slope, it provides a relaxing get-away from school activities.
A decision was made by the board early in that year to convert the heating system from oil to natural gas. Because of high oil price and stable gas prices, it was felt that the savings in heating costs would pay for the conversion in a short time. The changeover was to be completed by March.
The March 1991 issue of the Messenger contained good news about the taxation situation. The matter of taxing the dormitories went to court in Winnipeg and Court of Queen's Bench rendered a decision in favour of Western and granted tax exemption on the buildings including the dormitories. The Province was expected to appeal the decision. The decision meant a drastic decrease in the amount of property tax charged for the operation of the school.
Two other items in the March news concerned a provincial change in the fiscal year for schools and the availability of Visa and Mastercharge cards to make donations to Western.
During spring break, the chorus group per formed in several communities in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Included in the itinerary were Wynyard, Saskatoon, Lloydminster, Camrose, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Medicine Hat and Swift Current. Almost $2400.00 was given toward the diesel fund for travel.
College graduation was held on May 11 with only six students participating, the lowest number in many years. Charlotte Wiebe won several awards as follows: Alumni academic award; Alumni Bible Award; Jannine Annita Farr Bible Award; Ottinger Bible Award. Guest speaker for the event was Ray McMillan. Faculty address was delivered by Hugh Gannon. One-year certificates in Biblical Studies were presented by Roger Peterson to Jennie Bird, Derek McMillan, Charlotte Wiebe and Lori Weir. Musical numbers were performed by "Mizpah," a male singing group, and "Agape," a female singing group. Members of the board of directors provided additional entertainment. Coffee and dessert were served in the dining hall following the program.
The Youth Rally weekend was held on May 17-19. The theme topic of the event was "God- Ruler of the World." The musical, "Brigadoon," directed by Jamie Lobert and Jennie Bird, was staged to an enthusiastic crowd of visiting young people. Leading roles were played by Malcolm McMillan, Justin Mooney, Kathy Kendig and Sara Muller and twelve other students. Twenty one students sang in the choral numbers of the musical. Featured speaker for the weekend was Tim Pippus from Estevan. Curtis Parker and Steve McMillan directed the singing. Two services of the church in Dauphin were held in the auditorium on Sunday morning.
The Regional Track Meet was held on May 21 at which time several students were winners in various events. Justin Mooney placed first in javelin. Jamie Lobert placed first in triple jump, long jump and the 200 metre race, and second in the 100 metre race. Chad Parker placed first in the 400 metre, second in the 800 metre and first in the 1500 meter races. Both Mike Parker and Trevor Seibel placed first in their hurdles events. Ken Jacobs placed first in the 3000 metre race. In the girls' competitions, Crystal Elford and Laurie Meadows each placed third in javelin events; Elizabeth Pfeiffer was first in the 1500 metre race. Crystal Elford also won third in discus and fourth in shot-put. Tyler Knibbs placed fourth in javelin. Our relay teams also won two second places and a third place in 4x100 and 4x400 metre relays. Three of the students, Lobert, Parker (Chad) and Mooney were chosen to take part in the provincial track meet in Brandon on May 31.
The sports program for the year was concluded with the formation of a soccer team.
The graduation banquet in honour of the senior class members was held on June 8 with the banquet being held in the dining room and the exercises in the Arts Centre in downtown Dauphin. Twenty three students qualified to take part in the exercises. Valedictorian was Lawrence VanDyke and salutatorian was Michael Parker. For a list of all other awards to the graduating class, see the appendix section at the end of this book. The senior class had enjoyed a class outing at the Elkhorn Resort area in Riding Mountain National Park. The most "fun event" on the outing was "horseback riding."
Farewell activities took place on June 15 with a large number of awards being presented to students for excellency in music, sports, Bible, citizenship, academics, journalism, and other fields. The "spirit award" was presented to Ryan Nelson and Heather McMillan. Citizen of the year was Michael Parker.
Three events of 1990-91 not mentioned previously are worthy of notice. Early in February several students participated in the
Canadian Mathematics Competition sponsored by the University of Waterloo, in Ontario. Two students, Brock Gunter-Smith and Elizabeth Pfeiffer scored in the top 25% of Canadian students who wrote the test at the grade ten level. They each received certificates of distinction. They along with Jokim Woo received the highest team score for Zone three in Manitoba. Brock and Erica Ulrich each received medals for the highest scores in their respective grades. The second event was the organization of an Environmental Club under the direction of Mr. Goldsmith. The purpose of the club was to make 169 us aware of the need to care for and preserve a healthy environment. The third event involved a student who had graduated in June 1990. Tram Do received a Canada Scholarship from the Federal Government for continuing her studies in science. The scholarship amounted to $8,000.00 to be given over a period of four years. Tram was attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
The second year at Dauphin proved to be excellent in most respects. Western was now well established in its new location. Many of the traditions of the school were again revived. The three-year Bible program had been re-established; the financial picture continued to look positive and we entered the summer break with much optimism about the new school term and the future of Western Christian College. Victories had been won and milestones had been reached. Students and staff alike took a well earned break from the busy life that is "Western."
1991 - 1992
The third year in Manitoba began with another encouraging increase in enrollment. On September 5, a total of 100 students had registered for classes: 26 enrolled in grade ten; 26 in grade eleven; 34 in grade twelve; 14 in College (some of whom were taking credits at the high school level). In three years the high school enrollment had increased from 66 to 84 students, an increase of 27% over the first year. I found this to be very encouraging and felt the future of Western looked brighter. I say this because I believe that Western exists for the students who enroll there. Students came from Manitoba (20), Saskatchewan (47), Alberta (14), British Columbia (9), the Territories (2), U.S.A. (1), Hong Kong (5), Saudi Arabia (1) and Japan (1).
One new faculty member was added to the teaching staff for 1991-92. Sharon Olson, a graduate of Western agreed to move to Western to teach English, French and Girls' physical education. Other returning teachers were Jack Close, Hugh Gannon, Gordon Goldsmith, Mark Husband, Ron Johnson. I continued on as principal and teacher.
An exciting event happened in Dauphin during the summer when Blair and Susan Roberts and family returned from Belgium to begin work with the congregation in Dauphin. Since students from Western are closely involved with the congregation, this move by the Roberts family had a very positive effect on the spiritual growth of both staff and students . Blair 's lessons were inspirational and faith-building and added to the effectiveness of the total pro gram at Western.
Looking back over the records, I think this could have been called the "year of policy development." We developed policies for lates and absences, policies regarding students leaving early on long weekends, and a "code of behavior in the classroom." Policies were also in place regarding study-hall attendance and use of spare periods. Concern for others and courtesy toward others could have eliminated the need for written policies. However, not everyone has developed the maturity to have these qualities, and so the policies came into existence.
Two new courses were added at the grade twelve level: French 300 and math 301. French had not been taught at the grade twelve level since Western moved to Dauphin. Math 301 was added to accommodate those who had difficulty with algebra or trigonometry.
Classes began at 8:15 a.m. with chapel being held at shortly after nine. Classes ran through to 4:15 followed by sports activities. This schedule made for a long day. However, not many students had a full schedule for the entire time
One of the students enrolled for the fall semester received a lot of publicity in the local newspaper. James Mooney, son of Jack and Judy Mooney from Calgary, was enrolled at Western, but he was also involved with the Dauphin Kings junior hockey team. James had a good record in hockey, having played with the Calgary Buffaloes triple A midget team. He was described in the Dauphin Herald as an "A" student who hoped that a year with the Dauphin Kings would lead to a full scholarship from U.S. college hockey. With that in mind he had passed up an opportunity to play with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, choosing rather to concentrate on his education. The Herald goes on to say, "One of the attractions about Dauphin for Mooney is that it is the home of Western Christian College where he is now enrolled in grade 12, joining his younger brother Justin who helped liven up Kings games last winter by playing his trumpet." James attended a school in Calgary with about 2500 students, and he found that with his involvement in midget hockey he did not get a chance to know any of his fellow students. He said in the Herald article, "My life was hockey and school. This (attending WCC) will give me a chance to be a person." In a player profile in the same issue of the Herald he is described as "Probably one of the most sought after 17-year-olds in Western Canada." James lived up to all expectations and was not only an excellent player, but was an excellent student who often came home from late trips to out-of-town games, but was present for the early classes the next morning. In early April it was learned that James had received a four-year scholarship amounting to about $20,000.00 (U.S.) per year at Brown University in Rhode Island. The University had been watching James for about a year, and arranged to fly him down for interviews where he signed a contract to enter University and play on the school hockey team the following year.
The fall lectureship was held October 11-13 with Gary Montgomery (accompanied by his wife, Sandra) from the Daugherty Street congregation in Eastland, Texas, giving six of the nine lectures presented at the weekend. Other speakers were Tom Clark, President of Great Lakes Christian College in Beamsville, Ontario, and Roy Merrit from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The theme of the lectureship was "Winning the Christian Battle in a Modern World." The lectures were held in the Multi-purpose rink on the DMCC grounds in downtown Dauphin. Those attending the lectureship were warned to wear warm clothing since there would not be much heat in the building. A report in the December '91 Messenger said the messages taught by the three speakers were well prepared and presented, and further stated that everyone who provided feedback stated how meaningful the lessons were. The student's yearbook commented "His messages-encouraged and inspired many brethren who travelled from all over Canada and the United States to hear him speak. Attendance was about 600 persons. The Gift Night contribution to Western amounted to almost $38,000.00. As to my impressions of the weekend, I felt it had been a tremendous time of inspiration and had spiritually strengthened all who attended. I did hear some criticism later from someone who had not attended, but brushed that off as unfounded.
By late fall the enrollment had stabilized at 98, down 2 students from the September report. A report on the college Bible program suggested that in one semester of intensive Bible study in the University level Bible classes, the average student (11 that semester) would have spent about 216 hours in intensive study each semester besides the many hours of research and study done outside the classroom. "In one year these young men and women will have spent the equivalent of 12.4 years of 'Sunday School' time in this intensive study." Multiply this by three years and you get some idea of the value of the program.
The academic progress of students in the high school was commendable. 59% of the students had mid-term averages of 70% or above. That meant that their grades were in the "B" or above range. This was considerably higher than the provincial record.
In October several students competed in cross-country races in the Regional meet at Lake of the Prairies. One student was chosen to go on to provincials at The Pas. Both boys' and girls' volley ball teams were progressing in an excellent way. The boys had taken third place at a tournament at St. Vlad's in Roblin, third at one in Rossburn, first at Gilbert Plains, and "not too well" at the tournament in Dauphin. Later the team lost in zone playoffs in a tight battle with St. Vlad's, but because of their sea son record were qualified to enter a "wildcard" tournament at Neepawa and were successful in winning, with the result that they then played in the provincials at Rossburn December 5-7. There they won their pool, but lost in the consolation final. Of special note for the teams was the level of sportsmanship that had been evident throughout the season. Coach of the team was Ron Johnson.
Mark Husband was coach of the girls' volleyball team. Ten students played, managed by Rachael Muller. During the season there were some wins and some losses. In the zone playoffs it was necessary to consider total points to declare a winner. The team with the highest number of points had earlier been defeated by Western girls. Tara Laliberte was team captain.
Hockey started off rather slowly, but picked up as the season progressed. Once again Doug Parker had come from Regina to conduct a clinic to help the players improve their performance on the ice. Coached by Mark Husband and Travis Sass, and managed by Sharon Olson, the team moved up to win as "B" side finalists in two tournaments and "A" side finalist in Birtle, Manitoba. Chad Parker was team captain.
1991-1992 was a rebuilding year for boys' basketball. Only one player had come up from the previous year. Nathan Close was captain of the team. We were fortunate to obtain the coaching skills of Mr. Brian Bilinski, a teacher/principal of one of the city schools. Brian had taken his University work at the University of Regina, and had played on the University basketball team there. With an almost totally inexperienced roster of players, it was necessary to do a lot of basic training. The boys attended a tournament at Foam Lake, Saskatchewan in January. I had the privilege of driving the van to that tournament. Many of the boys were astonished when they saw that I had brought a hair blower along (we were sleeping in one of the classrooms). They were relieved when they learned that the purpose of the blower was to inflate my air mattress so that I would have a soft place to sleep. I have not had a need for a hair dryer for many years!
By March we were able to report in the Messenger School News and Notes that "we have witnessed considerable improvement in each of the teams (hockey included) throughout the season. The basketball teams were preparing for Zones with the possibility of going on to provincials. The boys were not successful at the zones and no further reports were entered in either the Messenger or Herald.
The girls' season started off with 12 players, two of whom were later injured. Heather McMillan, who was enrolled in the College pro gram, along with Mr. Goldsmith, were coaches of the team. Many of the games during the sea son were against stronger teams from the Double A division. At a tournament in Grandview the team took second place. Most of the players would be returning for the next sea son. Tara Laliberte was the captain of the team. Players added to the roster of the previous year were Carolyn Wiebe, Shannon Tucker and Erica Ulrich.
Getting back to the first semester, three additional events took place in late fall. The grade twelve class members were sold as "slaves" in a fund-raising effort for graduation expenses. A Drama' Night was arranged at which time two plays were presented: "The Frog Prince," directed by Elizabeth Pfeiffer and Miss Olson; and "The Blackout Mystery" directed by Tanya Jacobs and Carolyn Wiebe. We also had a gentleman from Winnipeg, "Grampa Tom," who used a few magical tricks to put across lessons against use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol. He had a humorous way of presenting some excel lent ideas against the abuse of these sub stances.
At the end of the fall term the "Christmas banquet" provided a final get-together for staff families and students. I need to say here that the dining hall staff under the direction of Dorothy Davis provided some of the most delicious meals at the banquets that I have tasted anywhere. The members of the kitchen staff are to be commended for their excellent meals (on a daily basis too). As usual the man in the red suit appeared and provided some good laughs. Staff and students were looking forward to the December break and the opportunity to be back home with family and friends. Speaking of banquets, the Winter banquet (a celebration of semester exams being over and an event to help everyone forget about winter doldrums) was held in mid February, close enough to Valentine's day to give students a chance to ask that special person for a dinner date. It is always a source of amazement to me how hand some the guys are and how beautiful the girls are when they dress up for such occasions. These events are a beautiful experience.
Another event for December was the annual choral concert. As in other years, the Chorus performed on the evening of December 12. The concert was open to the public and was held in 172 the auditorium. About 80 people (besides chorus members) were in attendance.
Homecoming weekend was held on February 7-9. High school graduates from '52, '62, '72, '82 and '87 were honoured along with college classes from '73, '83 and '88. At the Friday night festivities the crowning of the Queen took place. Three candidates had been selected, Josie Bellavance from Radville, Saskatchewan, Victoria Dronsfield from Bienfait, Saskatchewan, and Terri Greenslade from Winnipeg Manitoba. Vicki Dronsfield was chosen as queen. Alumnus of the year, chosen by the Alumni Association, was Raymond Jacobs from Vernon, B.C.
The Environment Club continued to be active during this year, again under the direction of Gordon Goldsmith. President of the club was Deanna Cook. Reduce, reuse and recycle became the motto of the club. Money for the club was raised by collecting and selling aluminum cans. The money was used to purchase magazine subscriptions for the library.
The ski trip did not take place that year mostly because of the lower number of students who signed up or who felt they could afford the cost of a ticket to the slopes.
The March 11 issue of the Dauphin Herald announced that the a cappella chorus was ready to head out on its annual tour on March 26. The ten-day tour included performances in Minot, North Dakota, Glendive and Bozeman, Montana, Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria and Salmon Arm, B.C. and Medicine Hat, Alberta. Forty-four students made the tour. The Chorus performed on March 25 in the auditorium at Western before setting out on the trip. In addition to this tour, the chorus performed at other places closer to home including Winnipegosis and Gilbert Plains.
On April 24-36 the Moose Mountain Alumni sponsored a chorus trip to Kennedy, Carlyle, Wawota, and Maryfield in Saskatchewan. On Sunday several of the young men participated in the worship services at Wawota and Whitewood, Saskatchewan, and Manson, Manitoba.
For the second year in a row a number of teachers from Saskatchewan visited the campus for a Spring Renewal Week, from April 20 through 24. Visiting teachers attended class sessions, taught classes, spoke in chapel, conducted dorm devotionals and in general lent encouragement to staff members with suggestions, words of praise, and other positive things. The teachers in Saskatchewan have spring break later than teachers in Manitoba. Those who came that year were John and Carolyn McMillan, Tim Pippus, Brian Cox, James Willett, Miss Torkelson and Murray Sanders.
As a result of some persuasive words by Murray Sanders with a computer firm in Northern Manitoba, arrangements were made to have a computer program installed in the academic office at a fraction of the original cost. The program was being used extensively across Manitoba and was sanctioned and recommended by Manitoba Education. That program is capable of handling a wide range of records from basic student file information to report cards, transcripts, attendance and lates/absences, class enrollments and a large number of other tedious record keeping chores. It was programmed to coincide with the departmental records at year-end so that our final grade results could be placed on a storage disc and sent to the department where they are brought up and placed on the Manitoba Education records. Special thanks were extended to Murray for his efforts in procuring this helpful program.
The accustomed counselling class was held from May 11 to 15, with Dr. Jim Hawkins teaching the class. Topic for the session was "Counselling for Health." The text used for the class was "Minding the Body, Mending the Mind," by Joan Borysenko.
A Pep Squad was organized again this year with Erica Ulrich as Captain. The purpose of the group was to put a spirit of enthusiasm back into not only sports activities, but also to encourage the "Christian" spirit in other activities such as devotionals, leadership classes, etc. Cross country racing was held again and Western entered a three-man team consisting of Chad Parker, Rick Jenkins and Kevin Hodges. Zone meet was held again at Roblin (Lake of the Prairies). Chad Parker came in first and was later sent on to the Provincial meet where he placed number 56 out of 300 runners.
Track and field enthusiast Jason Parker placed 2nd in five track events and 4th in the triple jump. Tammy McMillan came 3rd in junior discus, Justin Mooney 1st in senior javelin, Trevor Seibel, 2nd in the 800 m. and 4th in the long jump, Malcolm McMillan 3rd in 100 metre and Jeff Stone 1st in 100 metre and 2nd in high jump. The relay team placed 2nd in the 400 metre. Badminton competition was introduced that year. After playing against the DRCSS, two teams, Andrea Muirhead with Shannon Tucker, and Trevor Seibel with Jason Parker went to regionals in Gilbert Plains. The last sport of the year for the boys was soccer under the coaching of Gordon Goldsmith. Only a few games were played against the DRCSS team. The girls wound up the year's activities with formation of a softball team. Again the number of games was small. Shannon Tucker was the pitcher. Western lost 10-9 to the DRCSS in the first game and won 14-7 in a second game. On May 9 the recognition banquet honouring the College Class was held in the cafeteria at the College. Guests were entertained with musical numbers by Hugh and Gregory Gannon. The program followed in the auditorium. Ten students received Certificates in Biblical Studies. Six additional students took partial loads in college classes and the remainder in high school classes. The Alumni Academic Award was presented to two students, Angela MacLeod and Dwayne Davis. These two students also received the Alumni Bible Award. Angela also received the Janine Annita Farr Bible Award. Dwayne Davis received the Ottinger Bible Award. A special faculty award was presented to Duana Davies. Mizpah, the men's quartet, provided musical entertainment.
Youth Rally 1992 was held on May 15-17. Troy Hodgson, an alumnus of both the high school and college programs and now youth minister for the congregation in Victoria, B.C. was guest speaker at the Rally. The theme of the weekend was "Christians Can Make a Difference." His lessons-were clear, witty and to the point. He showed us that 'Soon and Very Soon We are Going to See the King"' The Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance was staged by the students of Western. The performance took place in the all-purpose auditorium at the DRCSS. As usual, the musical was well received by the many young visitors that came for the youth rally. The spring retreat was held on the fourth weekend in May at the same Bible camp near Riding Mountain Park. The yearbook described the event in these words: "It was a time of spiritual growth through discussion, encounter and personal times. Malcolm's 'candle' devotion and the 'sharing memories and appreciation' touched everyone there. The weekend was encouraging, uplifting and an excellent time to grow closer to God and friends." The weekend was organized by the S.R.C.
Headlines in the June 17 Dauphin Herald read "WCC Graduates 33 students." This was the third graduation in Dauphin. The theme of the program was "Today's Impossible Dreams are Tomorrow's Reachable Stars." Chosen Scripture was from Romans 8:36, "If God is for us, who can be against us." The exercises took place in the banquet hall at Selo Ukraina, south of Dauphin next to Riding Mountain Park. Decorations included a pond, bridge and garden swing surrounded with flowers and greenery. Guest speaker was Jack Close who welcomed the graduates to the adult world of environmental concerns and national debt while encouraging the enthusiasm and hope he found within the graduates. Dan Morris gave the valedictorian address and Erica Ulrich the salutatorian talk. The exercises concluded with a choral pro gram.
The final major event of the year again was the Farewell. As in the past, staff and students enjoyed an excellent meal, took part in relaxing games and activities, and enthusiastically received the many awards that are given out at the end of the year. All sports awards were included at this time. The Spirit award went to Dan Morris and Jann Tetreau. The citizen of the year was Malcolm McMillan. Farewell is always accompanied by strong feelings of nostalgia as friends say goodbye to friends they have made at Western. The words contained in the year book describe very well this saying goodbye. "Here is where the road divides. Here is where we realize the sculpting of our Father's great design. Through time you have been a friend to me, but time is now the enemy. I wish we didn't have to say goodbye. But I know the road he chose for me is not the road he chose for you. So as we chase the dreams we're after, pray for me and I'll pray for you. Pray that we will keep the common ground. Won't you pray for me and I'll pray for you, and one day love will bring us around...again."
As I have reached the half way mark of my portion of this history of Western, it has dawned on me that so far nothing has been said about the many people besides teaching staff that are not so much involved in the "activities" of the various programs that are in place at Western. I could talk about the maintenance people who keep the buildings warm and comfortable or the janitorial people who clean and scrub after we have finished our day. I do want to conclude this half-way point by paying tribute to the Student Life area of Western. If life in the dormitories goes well, life in the classroom goes very well. At the head of the student life program is a person that I have come to respect very highly "for her works sake." That person is Marilyn Muller. If I were to include the events of that other half of Western, the student life area, I would have to double or triple the volume of material recorded here. Much of the smooth operation of the school over the past five years is because that very important area, Student Life, has been very well taken care of by Marilyn and her co-workers in the dormitories and related areas of Western. As I thought about this, I came across a report that Marilyn printed in the Messenger in June 1992. I take the liberty to include her observations for your consideration.
"A month or so ago, my energy was lagging and I began to think about how to make those positive adjustments in my day-to-day living to achieve the school year's end in one healthy piece. Fortunately, in a growing daily dependence on our Lord, I laid at His feet the struggle I was having."
"In response, He has blessed me, letting me see almost daily examples in fascinating Heaven-Bound adjustments." Marilyn went on to tell about some of the daily happenings that helped her gain strength for the day: "hearing the comfort one student had received from another's listening ear about a relationship struggle he was having;-a generous gift one student set aside for a fellow student's year at Western next year;-the anguish one student was having for the church in Western Canada;-agony over the possibility of con fronting a best friend."
Marilyn concluded with these words: "What is going on here at Western is the moulding and challenging of lives, both young and old;-We believe in what God is doing here and are energized in the moulding process. (And yes, this whole process seems foolish to many who judge things by a worldly standard)."
"Everyone who works at Western is having a part in the total moulding process that is so evident in the lives of the young adults with whom they work."