EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapleau High student predicts wireless phones in 1932, while Earle Freeborn sang in barbershop quartet in 1952, and we played on 'Murch's' basketball team in '59

In 1932, Donald Boucher, who was in Form1A (Grade 9) at Chapleau High School wrote in the school magazine 'Static' that within 50 years, "it will be possible to phone a person on a wireless phone and to see the person's image reflected on a screen at the same time." He was only a few years off on his fearless prediction as we now take wireless communication with video for granted.

Donald made some other observations that he said were "commonly heard nowadays" (in 1932) including one that cities would be heated from one huge central heating plant, adding that buildings "will be so high and huge that streets will be necessary at different levels."

Interesting comments from a Grade 9 student. I have been reading the souvenir newspaper published in 1982 to mark the 60th anniversary of CHS, and here are some of my discoveries about the people and events at the school in its earlier years, in no particular order.

In 1931 Olive Vezina told the High School News that "public school boys are much more entertaining than high school boys" while students wondered what would happen if Doug Beacock didn't talk to 'Mr. Mac' (John McClellan, the long time teacher and CHS principal) about professional hockey, while the only comment made by Ted Young was "Oh fudge."

Jumping ahead to 1952, I wonder how many recall that Earle Freeborn, now the mayor, was part of a barber shop quartet that "serenaded" students at one of its productions. Earle was accompanied by Leo Vezina, John Houghton and John Longchamps.

Hundreds of Chapleauites packed the theatre in the old Town Hall in 1956 when John "Mac" McClellan retired as principal after 30 years at the school. Tributes poured in from former students which also recognized his work with Number 1187, Chapleau High School Cadet Corps. "Mac" as he was fondly known likely defined the school more than anyone in its history. The Austin- McClellan Scholarship was named in his honour.

In 1959 CHS was an extremely active place. At the annual commencement Harry Pellow was the valedictorian, while Jimmy Evans and Mary Serre received the top academic awards, having graduated the previous year. A basketball team ahd been formed coached by teacher Richard Murchland which challenged other groups to play it. Players were Louis Fortin, David Mizuguchi, Ron Morris, Michael Morris, Jim Schafer, Bill McLeod, Lawrence Comte and Robert Lemieux. (As an aside, something I just realized is that Robert Lemieux and I later taught at CHS) Nelson Eveline and Bruce Poynter had attended cadet camp and were new instructors.

The wiener roast at Bucciarelli Beach was an annual CHS social event for many years and we will all have our own memories of them. In 1944 Noreen Delaney was the announcer assisted by John Thomson. The "Rhythm Boys", John Thomson, Doug Jardine, Keith McKnight and Neil Dowsley sang the popular hit, 'Ma, she's making eyes at me.' In 1945 the rationing of meat meant a change from wiener roast to bean feed but reports said it did not dampen the enthusiasm, with a trumpet duet by George Tremblay and George Payette a highlight of the evening.

In 1963 CHS was the place to be with John Murray as president of the student council and Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter as principal. Dr Hackstetter first taught at CHS from 1954 to 1957, and returned as principal. James Pullen was editor of Ad Astra and Charlie Purich was referred to as the "catalyst" of the hockey team. Some Grade 9 students listed included Ted Swanson, Bruce McCarthy, Leslie Zufelt, Kathy Fife, John Reid, Gary Coulter, Judy Corston, David Morris, Harvey Brillant and Candy Corston.

The chairpersons of the 1982 60th CHS reunion, the late Alex Babin and Margaret Rose (Payette) Fortin were both grads of the school, who at the time were on the teaching staff. It is believed that Clarence Fiaschetti was the first CHS grad to return and teach there.

In 1964 the yearbook revealed that Jim St. Amand's main interest was hockey while Ian Clegg enjoyed skiing and apparently George Ritchie wanted to beat Howard Higuchi in Physics. Hugh McKechnie (later at teacher at CHS) was instumental in the destruction of many a history class and Ron Doig was a member of the table tennis club.

There are so many great moments in the history of Chapleau High School that I will stop for the moment, and let those of you who attended the school reflect on your time there. I will share more of the people and the times later. For me, who started high school in 1955 in "Mr. Mac's" final year as principal and was greatly influenced by him and Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter, and later returned in 1969 to teach there, Chapleau High School has always been much more than a place to go to school. It has been an integral part of my life, thanks to my friends from school days and my students from teaching days. Email me at mj.morris@live.ca

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Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE