|QUEENSTON CLASS OF ’63 REUNION – JUNE 2003
Following is the story of the class reunion as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press:
Grade 6 class of ’63 reunites to share stories, marathon
Wed Jun 25 2003
By Liz Katynski
THERE is nothing like the friendships you make as a kid in school. Some might even last a lifetime. And when you meet up again with former classmates, who as adults have long passed the insecurities that torment the young, you are much freer to savour those friendships and catch up with those important people from your past.
That’s why Grant Mitchell, a lawyer with Taylor McCaffrey, was reminiscing with his pals from elementary and high school over the weekend of the Manitoba Marathon.
Mitchell was one of the kids who attended an enrichment program called Major Work that kept a group of 24 students together from Grade 4 to Grade 6 at Queenston School. The class graduated from Queenston in 1963, and he and a few of those classmates also went on to graduate from Kelvin High School in 1969.
While he still lives in Winnipeg, Mitchell also travels across the country hosting labour relations seminars and, during his travels, he often calls up some of the nice people of whom he has fond school memories.
Last year, Mitchell organized a 25th anniversary for his University of Manitoba law school graduating class. So it was only natural that he would be the guy to organize a gathering for his elementary peers at his home. Of the 24 members of Mitchell’s Queenston School class, two have since died; one was a suicide and the other died of AIDS.
Among the most famous remaining grads are Dave Pybus, a jazz sax player living in Barcelona; Jim Hillman, a drummer in Montreal; and Mike Rachlis, a physician, health policy consultant and author now living in Toronto.
Some of the grads still have parents living in the old neighbourhood, and graduate Linda Feasby (nee Kiziak) still lives in the old neighbourhood.
During the winter of 2001-02, Mitchell and Rachlis were talking and decided, in honour of their impending 50th birthdays, they and a few friends from Kelvin would run in the next year’s Manitoba Marathon. When they came to town, they visited at Mitchell’s place and there, they thought about gathering their old elementary pals.
Mitchell had his office assistant tracking down former classmates n the Internet via Canada411, which worked for those with uncommon names. He contacted most of his fellow grads overthe Internet, compiling photos and short bios they submitted at his request. The bios highlighted the rest of their lives, over the past 40 years.
Mitchell completed one booklet including his fellow Queenston grads and one booklet with his fellow Kelvin grads. The booklets also included a list of those who have since died. So it was a busy weekend for Mitchell and his former classmates. The Queenston group visited their old school and then gathered at Mitchell’s home on June 13 including a special guest, Ernestine Fenny, 80, the group’s Grade 4 teacher.
On June 14, the Kelvin grads had dinner at the Wildewood Club, where members of the school’s old Reach for the Top team competed for fun, and their former coach, Jim Alward, looked on. There was also an open mike to share memories, and memorabilia including copies of the school’s old newspaper, The Queenston Capsule. The next day, a handful of past classmates ran in Manitoba Marathon events. Three did the super run, three
did the half-marathon and one did the full marathon.
“I really value friendships and old relationships,” says Mitchell. “It was nice to see old friends again. It was a lot of fun.”
PHOTO LINDA VERMETTE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS