SCCI reunion proves spirit lives on

Photo by John Strother-Stewart: 1951 classmates Lto R Dorothy Stormyr, Pat Corrigan Turcotte, Alistair "Buddy" McEwan


School colours of the former Swift Current Collegiate Institute (SCCI) adorned the hall of the Living Sky Casino in late June as  former students and teachers united. 

180 people from three countries and five provinces attended the two-evening event to reminisce and rekindle friendships of their high-school days. Grads of the 1951 class were the oldest in attendance and five former teachers were able to join the event.

The reunion was organized by the 1963 grads, the last class to graduate SCCI 60 years ago, before it became Beatty Collegiate. The organizing committee comprised Charyel Evjen Logan and John Strother-Stewart of Regina, Karen La Paire Funk of the city, Sheila Laing Barnes of St. Albert, AB and Ken Shields of Edmonton. Gordon Evjen of the city assisted with finances.

Former teachers in attendance were warmly greeted by the crowd and to show appreciation for their positive impact on student lives, they were provided tickets for the event by the committee. The teachers included Sam Robinson, Gary Unsworth, Marilyn Robinson Szakacs, Pat Carrigan Turcotte, Jean McNab and Robert Dudak. Gary and Pat were also grads of SCCI who returned to teach there.

The first evening was a Meet and Greet event with lively discussion, a memorabilia display and a photo area,both coordinated by John Strother-Stewart, a brief program and a sumptuous lunch prepared by the casino staff.                                            

Charyel Evjen and Ken Shields were joint MCs with Charyel reading messages sent by former students who were unable to attend and Ken awarding prizes. Those awarded to the persons who came the furthest were won by Glenn Ward from Australia and Dianne Campbell Maczko from Mexico. 

   A delicious banquet followed the next evening combined with a formal program. Elegant momento boxes in school colours and with the names of the four houses (divisions) in the school and a European chocolate inside, enhanced each place setting. All 180 were handmade by Sheila Laing Barnes. To start the evening, grace was offered by Sheila. Every detail was taken care of by the Food and Beverage manager Ryan La Faive and glowing comments ensued. While the school song “ Pull for SCCI” echoed lively through the hall,  memories of past events of our high school years were fondly recalled and shared. Laughter was often heard due to the numerous jokes told by MC Ken. He also interwove a quiz throughout the event in order to issue 40 prizes.  One was presented to Tom and Marilyn Schuck of Weyburn for having the most grandchildren, 25. In response to recalling favorite expressions of teachers, the one that brought gales of laughter was Mr. Johnson’s line, 

“ How can you live so long and be so stupid!” On behalf of all attendees, Ken presented a crystal clock with the casino logo on it to Charyel Evjen Logan for her outstanding efforts inlocating numerous people over several months for the reunion. 

   John Strother-Stewart provided a history of SCCI that had been compiled by Stan Horner for a previous reunion, then                                                                                                                           

Frank Wright of Calgary presented a moving Memorial Tribute

 to people who had a significant influence on our lives, followed by a period of silence. One of the highlights of the evening was a musical solo by Pat Friest Andersen of High River, Alberta. She sang “Moments to Remember” the same number she sang at the 1963 high school graduation sixty years earlier, and received a standing ovation.

   Charyel took everyone for a pleasant stroll down memory lane. She outlined the television shows of the 1950’s and 60’s and the major movies of that era while having the audience recall many of the details of the entertainment they enjoyed as teenagers. The music of those years was highlighted by Karen La Paire Funk in a delightful engaging presentation that had the audience singing parts of the songs “Purple People Eater” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Karen’s own musical talents added a delightful element to the presentation that was appreciated by the attendees. Karen had also coordinated all the registrations for the reunion.

   It was announced that the reunion financial surplus was being divided between donations to the Composite High School for their library collection and The Meadows Auxiliary Van Fund to benefit the senior residents. Also a large floral arrangement from the reunion was taken by Dale Dyck to the Willow Creek Nursing Home for residents to enjoy.                                                                            

 The reunion concluded with the singing of “God Save the King.” The enthusiasm and comradeship displayed over the two days showed however that the SCCI spirit lives on!