Vic High Alumni 2022 Annual Report

Vic High Alumni 2022 Annual Report

by Vic High Alumni Board of Directors   (Read more here about the Alumni and the volunteers who do the work)

The Vic High Alumni is a totally volunteer-run Association officially founded in 1975 when Lawrie Wallace (former teacher and at the time deputy minister to the premier of BC), Duncan Lorimer, (Principal) and Reg Reid (Vice-Principal)  gathered many of us together to produce the incredible Vic High Centennial Celebrations in 1976. What a gathering that was!

47 years later, we’re proud to say we’ve had tremendous growth and development in many areas in the last year. Nothing – not even Covid or the gutting and rebuilding of our beloved school – can hold down the Vic High spirit!

Archives & Museum

The award-winning Vic High Archives & Museum, which is completely funded and managed by Vic High Alumni volunteers, is a remarkable resource.

  • To Vic High – for rotating displays, research projects, and particularly Remembrance Day ceremonies
  • To authors, researchers, alumni, people looking for family history
  • To government and non-government agencies – military, heritage, and more
  • And – we’re proud to say – we worked closely with the heritage architects involved in the current seismic upgrade, helping ensure as much of Vic High’s physical heritage as possible could be re-purposed or archived

In the last year –

  • A GoPro camera has been donated to record oral histories
  • A $10k donation has been received to build new shelving and equipment for the Archives Room
  • Over 6,000 items in the archives are now searchable electronically by volunteers, helping make the collections more accessible
  • Two volunteers are assisting a Vic High team with heritage, décor & recognition elements in the ‘new’ Vic High

Read more here about the Vic High Archives & Museum


  • We’re so pleased you’re enjoying our monthly e-newsletters, and that alumni are sending great stories & photos we can share
  • Our Facebook page has almost 1000 followers and we do our best to post often, to share posts from Vic High, and to post and answer questions on the various grad years’ Facebook pages
  • E-mail is the way we communicate with alumni, though we still postal mail to a handful of donors who don’t have email
  • New information and stories are added monthly to the website. Digital, searchable copies of the Camosuns are popular.
  • Suggestions to improve the website are always welcome.

Click here for all Alumni newsletters, 1997 to the present.


  • We produce alumni lists by school year for Reunion Organizers, and ask them to provide any updated contact information so we can maintain accurate records
  • 14,500 alumni are listed on our website, 4000 with email addresses. Volunteers phoned approximately 2500 alumni this spring and collected 400 email addresses


  • A few reunion lunches have been held, and now with pandemic restrictions lifted, numerous classes are organizing reunions. Finally we can start gathering again!

More info on reunions here.

Black & Gold Dinner

  • This popular event has been postponed twice, but is now scheduled for May 13, 2023.  We will be honouring some Illustrious Alumni and raising funds as well.

More info here.

Fundraising/In-Kind Donations

A team is developing strategies to solicit in-kind and financial donations for items needed at the ‘new’ Vic High, scheduled to open to students September 2023. If you can help, or know any alumni with connections or resources, please contact us. Vic High needs –

  • Broadcast Media Lab equipment
  • Pre-Engineering Robotics Lab equipment
  • Benches and planters for the new rooftop outdoor classroom
  • Our two world war memorials need cleaning
  • Grad class photos need refurbishing – a list will be in the July newsletter
  • Interior signage is needed – blending the old and the new
  • One 1914 stained glass window (stairwell) needs replacing

That list will surely grow – the more we can help, the better.

2026 – Vic High’s 150th

A team has begun work collecting stories and information and Vic High Alumni 1st Vice-Chair Helen Edwards, noted local ‘heritage detective’, has volunteered to write Vic High’s next history book – 1976 – 2026.


We’re working on migrating into the digital world, making it easier for volunteers to operate and to co-ordinate activities.

Scholarships & Bursaries

  • Vic High Alumni contributed $21,600 in scholarships/bursaries for 2022, more than any other high school alumni in BC that we are aware of
  • Victoria Foundation investment yields were up
  • Two recent awards are now fully vested: Dorothy Evans Bursary for Music, and Reg Reid Leadership Cup Award. And just weeks ago, a generous alumnus has offered to make an annual donation so the Reg Reid award, Vic High’s premier award, can be doubled to $2000.
  • The Class of 1968 Spirit Scholarship has almost reached its $25,000 goal with fundraising events and individual donations.
  • Two new awards were added this year – funded by individual and family donations
    • Ken McCulloch Memorial Bursary for Higher Learning
    • Georgina (Lim) Harrison Bursary for studies in accounting, office admin, marketing, or hospitality management
  • Fundraising continues to create the Helen Maxwell Bursary, a former teacher who passed recently.
  • We oversee two awards which are direct-funded annually by their founders:
    • Chelsea & Jazelin Maskos Bursary for Social Activism
    • Leduc-McQueen Award for tenacity & resilience in pursuit of goals

Click here for more info, and current and past winners of Alumni scholarships and bursaries.

And finally – there simply is no Alumni Association and none of this could happen – without you.  

 To Our Donors:  THANK YOU!     

  • Your response to our annual funding appeal is critical to the Alumni’s existence
  • Donors from the 1960s grad years lead the pack, but we have strong support from the 1950s and 1970s.
  • And many Alumni continue to reserve future auditorium seat plaques with their $250 donations. Available seats are projected to run out within a year or two, so you might want to donate and reserve asap.

Click here for Ways to Help and lists of past donors.

And To Our Volunteers

  • We’ve had 10 new volunteers come forward in the last year, alumni from the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, and 1960s. I’m sure that’s a record! THANK YOU! It’s exciting and very encouraging to see so many wanting to help with all the work the Alumni does to support Vic High.
  • And my heartfelt appreciation to the Directors on our Board and to all the active volunteers who contribute so much time and so much heart to support Vic High
  • You do know, of course, that we are always keen to have more. Contact us, and we’ll match your skills and time and passions with the projects and the work to support Vic High

Click here for Volunteer Opportunities

We also extend a generous thank you to the current Principal Aaron Parker and his staff who show such respect for Vic High and its history, and who ensure the Vic High spirit and the values of acceptance, diversity, and inclusivity remain strong.

In closing –

Thank you for your patience with this report – but we simply had to share all this good news. We’ll post it on our website and put something in the next newsletter – it’s time to celebrate all these extraordinary volunteer efforts and contributions.

We have so much to look forward to and to build towards

We will continue to fulfill our purpose as the Vic High Alumni

  • Connecting alumni and supporting reunions and events that bring people together
  • Preserving the history of Vic High through the Archives & Museum,
  • Supporting Vic High and students with equipment and resources, with bursaries and scholarships

And we can’t wait to be welcomed into the ‘new’ Vic High, scheduled to re-open September 2023.

Come Give A Cheer, Everyone!

Roger Skillings, VHS 1968 Vic High to the Core

Roger Skillings, VHS 1968  Vic High to the Core

Roger has been involved with the Vic High Alumni since 1996, as a Director, Vice President, President, Active Member and regular Board Meeting attendee.  But his roots go back much further. His father was a Vic High grad in the 1920s, all his brothers and his sons and many of his grandkids and nieces and nephews all attended Vic High. It was inevitable that Roger got involved  in the Vic High Alumni, and that he has remained a loyal volunteer for 26 years and counting. Quite simply, he loves Vic High.

Roger has also helped recruit numerous alumni to active participation in Alumni initiatives, and has spent thousands of hours on many projects. Along with Keith McCallion, active Alumni member and former Vic High Principal, Roger has worked for more than 15 years  on the Stadium Revitalization project that accompanies the seismic upgrading of the school.

His leadership strengths became evident at Vic High when he served as school Prime Minister in 1968, and continued throughout his life as an active community volunteer, fundraiser, and administrator.

  • 10 years as President and CEO of BC Games Society
  • Helped build the PacificSport brand providing regional sports hubs across BC
  • Key in creating the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence
  • 8 years with Tennis BC Board of Directors variously as Vice-President, President, Past President.
  • served on the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Greater Victoria Development Agency, and as an elected Trustee of the Greater Victoria School Board
  • recipient of Canadian Caring Award from BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon
  • 2021 inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in the Builder category.

On May 3, 2021, the Board of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2021. Among the four inductees is former BC Games Society CEO and honourary Board Member, Roger Skillings.

Roger held his post as CEO of the BC Games from 1988 until the spring of 1999. During his tenure, he developed a model for sport hosting excellence which endures to this day. He fine tuned the community legacy policy, ensuring every BC Winter or BC Summer Games saw a return on their Games hosting – translating into wide-spread benefit that is seen and felt in past-host communities to this day. He also expanded the Society’s delivery of professional services to the BC Senior Games, Northern BC Games and BC Games for the Physically Disabled.

Beyond the BC Games, Roger’s visionary thinking helped build Victoria into an Olympic training hub as President and CEO of the Commonwealth Centre for Sport Development, which became PacificSport, and later the CEO of Canadian Sport Centre Pacific.

While successful athletes and coaches are rewarded with medals and headlines, Roger Skillings was quite happy to go about his work anonymously, humbly building the framework of BC Winter and BC Summer Games on which those athletes and coaches would build. He remains on the BC Games Society Board of Director as an Honourary Board Member.

Roger is 1st Vice-Chair of the 2022-2023 Alumni Board.


Helen Edwards, VHS 1964 Heritage Detective, Author, Volunteer, Baseball Team Owner

Helen Edwards, VHS 1964   Heritage Detective, Author, Volunteer, Baseball Team Owner

Helen has always believed that you need to give back to organizations you belong to and share your time and expertise. With great memories of her time at Vic High, particularly with the orchestra program where she played the violin, she has been inspired to contribute in many areas with the Vic High Alumni, and enjoys staying in touch with former classmates by helping organize reunions for the Class of 1964.

Since leaving Vic High, Helen and her husband John raised four children, three of whom attended Vic High, and she has worked for the federal government. She also attended UVic as a mature student and received her Bachelor of Arts with Distinction.

Helen is passionate about family, heritage architecture, genealogy, sports, music, crafts, and history – in no particular order. Reflecting those passions, she has

  • volunteered her time in the heritage field for 45 years,
  • worked as a heritage professional and genealogist
  • volunteered with the Canadian Freelance Guild (formerly Professional Writers’ Assoc. of Canada)
  • been the Vice-President for the Society of International Hockey Research.
  • held leadership positions in various local heritage organizations

Helen sits on various boards, but gets the most satisfaction out of volunteering with the Vic High Alumni. She has

  • helped for several years in the Vic High Archives & Museum
  • been an Alumni Director since 2020
  • helped create the new Alumni website,, launched November 2020
  • managed edits to the website
  • begun researching to write the second Vic High history book, covering 1976 – 2026, taking up where VHS alumni Peter Smith’s book, Come Give A Cheer left off. The book will be published in 2026 to help celebrate the school’s 150th anniversary
  • is now the 2022-2023 chair of the Vic High Alumni board

Now a full-time author, Helen enjoys bringing history to life and knows how relevant it is to our current lives. She has

  • researched and written the history of Victoria’s Cool-Aid Society (Microsoft Word – History-final formatted for publication no myths.doc (,
  • researched, written, and published The History of Professional Hockey in Victoria 1911 – 2011
  • written, edited and published two books of diaries of her father-in-law Canadian Naval Officer Dutchy Edwards, Dutchy’s Diaries, and Dutchy’s Decades
  • finalized for publication her fourth book, The Heritage Detective, chronicling stories behind many of Victoria’s heritage homes.

And now – Helen Edwards recently became one of the owners of the Victoria HarbourCats baseball team!

PS here’s her website.

Ian McKinnon, VHS 1966 Policy Specialist

Ian McKinnon, VHS 1966   Policy Specialist

All it took was one year at Vic High, and maybe the family connection, (his brother Peter graduated in 1968), to convince Ian to volunteer with the Vic High Alumni. Active with the Alumni for over 13 years, he’s supported Alumni work in many ways, and currently acts as Alumni liaison to School District 61. He also provided heritage information and support to the current seismic upgrading of Vic High.

Ian is also a proud grad of the University of Victoria and Yale University, and has held senior positions in both the public and private sector focussing on public policy issues and research. He’s the former Chair of Canada’s National Statistics Council, and a long-standing member of the National Advisory Committee on Social Statistics.

In the private sector, his positions included President of Decima Research, a survey research firm specializing in public policy issues which conducted many international research projects. In Canada’s federal government, he worked in the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister’s office, and in BC he has served as a deputy minister.

Internationally his work also included volunteer teaching with CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas), election readiness advising with the Jimmy Carter Center in China, and consulting for the Prime Minister’s Office of Vietnam.

For the past decade, he has been president of a consulting firm specializing in public policy and statistical research.

Brigitte L’Heureux, VHS 1975 Helping Others Comes Naturally

Brigitte L’Heureux, VHS 1975   Helping Others Comes Naturally

Brigitte L’Heureux, VHS 1975, enjoys her Class of 1975 reunion organizing so much, she stepped up in 2021 to help support other Vic High reunion organizers as the Alumni’s Reunion Coordinator.

A proud graduate of Vic High, Brigitte says her experiences there left her with a lifetime of truly amazing friends. She now has three wonderful and amazing sons and her first grandchild has joined the family.

Brigitte spent the first half of her working life in the legal field and is spending the latter half as a Registered Aromatherapist in her own practice.  Her own experiences with healing led her to study and earn certifications so she could help others. “I love it,” says Brigitte,  ‘so it has never felt like work to me.’

Brigitte enjoys gardening, socializing with family and good friends, a good bar of dark chocolate, and is looking forward to resuming sports activities soon.

She loves to see people connecting and reconnecting, specially around their many shared experiences at Vic High. And she’s happy to help any alumni who want to organize reunions for their classmates. Contact her here, choose Reunion Co-ordinator.

Tara Laughlin, VHS 2008 Joins Alumni Board

Tara Laughlin, VHS 2008   Joins Alumni Board

Tara (Grdic) Laughlin, VHS 2008, was elected to the Vic High Alumni Board in June 2022, and says she is proud to be part of such a driven group of alumni.

Tara graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, specializing in Communications. She started her career working in the Non-For-Profit Sector, later moving into Private Sector Marketing. In September 2021, Tara made the switch to the Public Sector, working in Information and Privacy, assisting the public in understanding their rights and advocating for privacy for the residents of British Columbia.


Besides hiking and travelling, Tara enjoys learning new things, eating delicious food, and spending time at home with her small family consisting of a husband, dog and two cats. As a newly-elected Alumni director she looks forward to supporting Vic High through student and faculty support, Alumni events, and general advocacy. She is also passionate about supporting and advocating for public schools where possible.

Nita Loudon, VHS 1966 Longtime Volunteer

Nita Loudon, VHS 1966   Longtime Volunteer

Like most of us Nita only attended Vic High for grades 11 and 12, but she enjoyed those two years very much. While there she sang at the spring prom, noon hour hootenannies and a Yteen church event. She has volunteered over 13 years ago for the alumni board, initially in response to the need for a treasurer, and is now a director on the Alumni board.

After graduating from Vic High, she attended the University of Victoria and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. She then continued on to become an Accountant, then a CPA, now retired. She  worked for 35 years for the local health authority and retired as the Regional Revenue Manager for Island Health.

Nita has been on many boards over the years including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Victoria Capital Region and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She also spent many years on the local Accounting Board for the CMA’s (now CPA’s).

For over ten years she has arranged get-togethers for her class of 1966 which included their 50th reunion in 2016.  Her class had over 500 grads in it.

After spending many years travelling around the world, she now organizes golf and walks for a group of women.  She also continues to support both Vic high and UVic as an alumna.

Fern Johnson, VHS 1969 Busy Grandmother Crunches Alumni Numbers

Fern Johnson, VHS 1969  Busy Alumna Crunches Alumna Numbers

Like they say, when  you need a job done properly, ask a busy person. Fern (Chapman) Johnson has 11 grandchildren, but still makes time to volunteer with the Vic High Alumni, taking on the role of Treasurer in 2021.

Fern earned her CGA designation in 1999, completed an MBA from Laurentian University in 2010, and was admitted as a Chartered Professional Accountant of BC (CPA, CGA) in 2015.  From 1995 to 2003 she was the Controller at Greenlight Power Technologies Inc. in Sidney.

She spent 12 years between 2003 and 2017 working within the UVic organization primarily as the Manager, Finance & Administration with Ocean Networks Canada. This included sitting on the ONC Board and  providing all financial reports to them, as well as reporting to ONC’s funding agencies and UVic.

In addition to her role as an Officer of the Vic High Alumni, Fern currently volunteers as the treasurer of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Board, and as the Chairperson for the Sidney Fine Art Show Volunteer Committee.

Fred Packford, VHS 1949 Vic High All His Adult LIfe

Fred Packford, VHS 1949   Vic High All His Adult Life

He started at Oaklands Elementary, then went on to Central Junior High School. But it was his Vic High days that really got into his DNA. “Through my Vic High years,” says Fred, “we started one period early – at 8.15 – to take tech classes and still earn university entrance qualifications.” That interest became the foundation of his years of teaching at Vic High. “I really matured from a boy to a man at Vic High,” continues Fred, “and made many new friends who stayed with me for life. Our Grad class was very involved in school activities, like working with the Memorial Committee canvassing for donations for the new Memorial Stadium. But I had no afterschool activities. After class I went straight to Safeway for 3 hours work.”

After four  years of metalwork and drafting classes Fred went straight from Vic High to a five year apprenticeship in Sheet Metal and Plate Fabrication, attending night school in the new Fairey Tech twice a week in the evening. After finishing his apprenticeship he spent three years teaching sheet metal apprentices at Fairey Tech night school. “My first time teaching at Vic High!” says Fred.

In 1954 he took a chance on a blind date and met the love of his life. Doreen Dalziel graduated from Vic High in 1946. They were married April 6, 1956. That year Fred spent the entire summer at Vic High working with a crew replacing the school’s air conditioning recirculation system. Sixty-eight years together, their 66th anniversary in 2022, Fred and Doreen are still going strong. Doreen’s brother Bob had been a year ahead of Fred at Vic High, graduating in 1948, and her mother graduated from Vic High in the 1920s. Fred’s siblings were at Vic High during the Depression. “Only Alec graduated,” says Fred, “probably about 1937. All the rest had to try to get jobs to support the family. They all eventually became skilled tradesmen.”

Fred’s sheet metal teaching stint at Vic High led to an invitation in 1960 to return to university for a Bachelor of Education Secondary Teaching Certificate. For the next 10 years, while working part time on his degree and graduating in 1970, Fred taught a variety of subjects, starting at Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salt Spring Island and then Victoria’s Lansdowne Junior High School. Along with shop classes, he taught math and Grade 8 girls’ guidance at Gulf Islands Secondary. “We spent a happy year working together in the shop while the Home Economics teacher taught the girls the guidance curriculum,” says Fred.

Fred in 1969

After five years at Lansdowne, Fred was drafted back to Vic High in 1967 to teach the metal fabrication trade at Fairey Tech. He was there for the next 22 years, which also included a stint of three years teaching Social Studies 11 to the Fairey Tech students. “I had earned a double major in Industrial Education, eventually teaching every subject but automotive, a major in Canadian History, and a teaching minor in counselling during my 10 years at university,” says Fred. At one point Fred was drafted back to Fairey Tech full time – no more Social Studies 11 teaching – to develop and teach a fibreglass boat building class. “We built canoes, dinghies – including a sailing fleet for the school, kayaks, and I taught boat repair,” says Fred. “This was a good fit with the metal fabrication program, so we had a very busy fabrication program going for about 12 years.  Many of my students went to work in the metal fabrication and marine industry after graduation.”

Fred may not have had time for extracurricular activities while a student at Vic High, but he more than made up for it during his teaching years. He was co-sponsor of the Vic High Weightlifting Club for 15 years and built a lot of the club’s equipment in the shops with help from club members. From 1970 onwards he was Manager/Coach with Bruce Summers of the Vic High Competitive Swim Team, which won the BC Provincial Swim Championships in 1977. Fred stayed involved with school athletic programs his entire teaching life at Vic High, working to improve and help where he could. After the 1976 Vic High Centennial Celebrations Fred joined the Centennial Committee formed to manage the revenue generated from the Celebrations to support students at Vic High. Scholarships and bursaries were created, which remain to this day the foundation of the Vic High Alumni’s almost $500k invested in the Victoria and Vancouver Foundations to generate $18k in annual awards to Vic High students.

Fred and Doreen had three children, Barbara, VHS 1977, Ted, VHS 1979, and Ken, VHS 1982. They have each gone on to a successful life as skilled professionals. “Barb and Ted both won the prestigious Vic High ‘V’,” says Fred. “Barb married Greg Stone, VHS 1971, son of a 1949 classmate of mine. We have five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, with more promised!” “In 1991, the year I retired from teaching,” continues Fred, “I introduced the concept of a revived Vic High Alumni, including selling $10 life memberships to replace the Centennial Committee whose funds were no longer generating enough income to support Alumni activities. I figured 500 subscriptions would produce the needed revenue. Laurie Wallace said ‘If you think this is such a good idea, Packford, get out there and make it happen,’ “ remembers Fred. “So I did. Mr. Wallace and I had a history together from his teaching years at Vic High. So for the next 5 plus years,” says Fred, “[my wife] Doreen and I attended every Vic High reunion promoting Alumni memberships to the returning grads. We must have been successful for the result after 30 years speaks for itself.”

Fred refused Chairmanship of the Vic High Alumni when Laurie suggested it, due to personal commitments.  But he and Doreen stayed actively involved in every aspect of the Alumni until recently years when they stepped back. Their support, encouragement, wisdom and guidance remain vital to the current leadership of the Alumni, and there’s always lots of smiles and happy times when Fred and Doreen attend a meeting or join the Christmas social. “I’ve looked around the meeting table at times,” says Fred, “and realized I was the only old hand left. Lawrie Wallace, Duncan Lorimer, Reg Reid and others have all left us.” We may not see those folks now, but we’re pretty sure their guiding hands and their Vic High spirit, just like Fred and Doreen Packford’s, is always there around the Alumni table. “It seems I have been involved with Victoria High School all my adult life,” smiles Fred. “And Doreen has been working right beside me through all my Vic High years.”

We can’t begin to measure the impact this wise and dedicated man has had on generations of Vic High students – while a student himself, as a teacher and coach, and as a volunteer helping re-energize the Vic High Alumni and grow its scholarship and bursary award investments to continue to benefit students in the future. We just know for certain he’s Vic High – through and through. And we’re grateful.

Eric Earl, VHS 1969 Alumni’s Tech Wizard

Eric Earl, VHS 1969   Alumni’s Tech Wizard

March 2022

What are some of your great memories of Vic High?

Playing basketball for Porky Andrews for 3 years. I went to Regina in 1967, we missed the BC championship in 68, and was on the Vic High Totems that won the BC Championship [beating Oak Bay!] in 1969.

What have you been doing since graduation? 

I got married and still am, we have 3 kids and now a granddaughter. I did some UVIC then ran out of money. Then went into Mapping with BC Government for 2 years, then the Federal Government for 38 years.

Do you still see any high school friends?

Yes, several I still carouse with, though some have died. I attended wonderful reunions for 1968 and 1969 (I am a ’12-plusser’,  or ‘I couldn’t get enough of grade 12 so I stayed an extra year’). [We happen to know Eric is one of a tiny gang of Vic High alumni – the Tankards – that meet regularly for coffee to share stories (made up or real, we’re not sure) and reminisce about the ‘good ol’ days’. You can see them in the Vic High Stories photo on our Home Page.]

Why do you volunteer with the Alumni?  What do you do?

I love the history of the school and old times in Victoria. I do some graphics work for the Vic High Archives & Museum.   [Eric is too modest: He helped with the Class of 1969 50th Reunion by creating posters and reproducing the class photo. He helps with the Camosun Scanning Project by taking the scanned pages [done by Shirley [Beecham] Kasper,VHS 1969, and turning them into searchable documents linked from the Alumni website. He routinely answers the calls for help with technology issues and tasks that exceed the humble skills of other volunteers. We could go on and on. Basically he has a huge magic ‘tech’ wand and he generously helps out wherever he can.]


Any hobbies? Interests?

Computers/technology, history (present and biblical), family and faith.

Dawn (Eby) Quast, VHS 1965 Teacher, Principal, Musician, Virtual Volunteer

Dawn (Eby) Quast, VHS 1965    Teacher, Principal, Musician, Virtual Volunteer

My reflections of Vic High are ones of pure joy at the wonderful building (which I didn’t appreciate at the time), the massive size of our grad class of 1965 (500+ which gave us a large community of people with many differences of character, background and interests), the many extracurricular opportunities that were there for us to participate in  (and now I wish I had chosen differently), and then there was typing.  The most important skill acquired during my three years there and still used daily. Who knew how important the old general program secretarial, “stay away from that because you’re going to university”, skill would be with the advent of computers!

After graduation I attended UVic for 5 years, acquiring a B. Ed. (Elementary), part of the first cohort of students on the five year program. My first teaching position was grade 7 and intermediate music in New Westminster.  I never took music in university but my years of band at Central and Vic High gave me the courage to believe I could teach elementary classroom music, and I did successfully for 10 years, before moving into French, Art Ed, gifted and administration.  I did M. Ed at UBC part time,  which for women was basically essential back then as administration was a man’s game. I demonstrated leadership as president of the Teachers’ Association  both before and after I became a Vice-principal.  After 19 years in New Westminster I took a principalship in Prince Rupert and I’ve been here ever since, retiring in 2003.  I must confess, in Gr. 10 I had Mrs. Itveldt for French, a subject I did very poorly in. At the end of the year if I promised to never take French again, she would pass me!  It was truly ironic when I was basically forced to take up the teaching of French!

My nearly twenty years of retirement have been ones of volunteering and travel.  COVID has moved the volunteering mostly to sitting at my computer – Prince Rupert Community Arts Council and Zone 10 55+ BC Games are the current ones,. But over the years there were Girl Guides, Cemetery Advisory, and the Seniors Centre.  I joined the Community Band when it was resurrected in 1999 and worked tirelessly to raise $300,000 towards our new Music Studio which is shared with the School District’s High School.  I even got to play in a high school musical for the first time when I was 68.

I have always reflected fondly on my time at Vic High and have enjoyed our Class reunions for 25, 40 and 50 years.  I sure hope we get to have the one for the 60th. I look forward to the Alumni newsletters and when the opportunity came up to volunteer adding obituaries to the Alumni website, it was right up my alley and something I can do from home.  I’m appreciating reading about all the amazing people who are alumni of Vic High, and connecting and reconnecting with people who are also part of the Alumni group.

Christy Bowen, VHS 2000 Loves Vic High, Loves Helping

Christy Bowen, VHS 2000    Loves Vic High, Loves Helping

Christy is one of our newest, and definitely most enthusiastic volunteers. Besides helping with some Archives tasks, she has single-handedly contacted thousands of alumni in the last six weeks to update their contact info on our email list. She loves to learn new things, watch her kids learn, and help people to the best of her ability and with the help of God.

“I volunteer [with the Alumni] because I want to give back to a fabulous school that is full of history,” says Christie, “and I want the Alumni to keep going.” Christy also helps out on the Central Middle School PAC, at least until her son moves on to Vic High.

Christy loved the feeling of being in the Vic High building, and appreciated teachers who made sure she was on the right track with her learning. Like a lot of us, though, she’s changed her goals several times since leaving school. At one point she thought she’d see what life would be like off the island so she moved to the prairies. “Of course I moved back,” says Christy. “I’ve had four children and I’m happily married to a great man.”

Thanks, Christy, for all you’re doing to help the Alumni now. We’re looking forward to your help in the Vic High Archives & Museum when Vic High reopens in 2023.

JoAnne (Dahl) Botten, VHS 1968 Attention to Detail Is Her Specialty

JoAnne (Dahl) Botten, VHS 1968   Attention to Detail Is Her Specialty

March 2022

JoAnne wasn’t terribly involved in activities while attending Vic High. She did however develop many lifelong friendships which she cherishes to this day. Both her Mom and her sister also attended Vic High. After graduation all she wanted to do was get a job, make some money and go travelling, which she did for 1 ½ years. That was the seed of her lifelong desire to travel and see the world.

Actively involved with the Vic High Alumni Association since 2010, JoAnne served on the Board for several years. Since joining the Association she has been the Alumni Directory administrator and provided support for the website, and has actively participated in:

  • 2014, Planning Committee for the 100-year Anniversary of the current building,
  • Instrumental in organizing and selling Alumni Wear and Souvenirs,
  • Reunion Coordinator 2011-2020,
  • Technology Committee to develop new website and directory in 2020,
  • Class ’68 Planning Committee – 7 reunions in charge of registration


Her 30+ years with the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General included various positions including Secretary, Help Desk support, and she retired in 2004 as a Business Analyst.

JoAnne has many hobbies including sailing, sewing, hiking, travel, and fitness. She enjoys keeping active in the Association and has developed many friendships over the years with past alumni. She says she is humbled to be involved with so many brilliant alumni, some who sit on the Board and those who volunteer for the Association in many other capacities.

Mary Anne Skill, VHS 1975 Communications Specialist Brings Enthusiasm to Alumni

Mary Anne Skill, VHS 1975 Communications Specialist Brings Enthusiasm to Alumni

March 2022 


Best memories of time at Vic High?  I was very active at Vic High, so have tons of great memories – I think they all boil down to laughter – laughing with the sheer joy of being there with good friends and having a great time.  Oh, and tormenting poor Mr. Heinrich, my Chemistry teacher, because I was just so atrociously bad at Chemistry.

Any lifelong friendships since then? There was a core group of about 8 of us who were always together and have all remained good friends. Outside of that core group, there were also friends who I can count as friends today – which is quite lovely.

Whatcha been up to since graduation? I worked in economic and tourism development in Northern BC, wrote for a newspaper, and won an award for one of my stories. I moved to Qatar in the Middle East, returned to university there as a ‘mature student’, and graduated as valedictorian. I worked as a graphic designer and won awards for my work. Returned to Victoria and am now the volunteer curator of the Costume Museum at Government House. And throughout it all, has been my very patient and ‘oft-confused by me’ hubby, Gary.

Why do you volunteer with the Alumni? The call went out for someone to help with the newsletter. As a graphic designer, a favourite project of mine is working on newsletters, so I answered the call. Also, although I have a university degree, in my heart, my academic home has always been Vic High.

When did you start? I started working with the Alumni in October 2021, and have discovered a great group of dedicated volunteers.

What projects are you involved with? I started with the Newsletter, and now am also involved in Fundraising, have taken on the Vic High Swag portfolio, and working with the 150 Year History Book.

What do you like about volunteering? Volunteering allows you to get involved in doing something you enjoy doing, that you choose to do. And you meet some wonderful people along the way. The Vic High Alumni Association is chock full of volunteers who are passionate, committed and so enthusiastic about the Association. And I am gobsmacked at the incredible amount of experience, education, professionalism, and talent that they bring to the table. I am in very good company here.

Fergie Andison, VHS 1968, Vic High All the Way

Fergie Andison, VHS 1968, Vic High All the Way

He may have ended up graduating from Oak Bay in 1969, (!) but his two years at Vic High have redeemed him, and he remains a Vic High alumnus through and through. A member of the 1968 Totems basketball team, and despite working in Ottawa for many years, he remained connected to his Totems teammates. The 1968 Totems went on to fame and glory in 1969, beating Oak Bay to become the BC Basketball champions, but we’re sure it was Fergie’s time with them that helped them prepare for that big win.

Fergie moved back home to the family home in Chemainus after he retired, and four summers in a row drove up and down the Island daily to record in images, video, and 360 degree video, every part of Vic High. “Nobody knew then if Vic High would stay or be torn down,” he says, “and I wanted to ensure it was well documented.” Those images are all on file, some of them published in the Alumni’s Vic High 2020 photobook. And of course, Fergie made sure the iconic Vic High attic was well photographed.


Thankfully respect for this iconic Vic High building prevailed, and a massive seismic upgrade and updating is underway. (ETA re-opening 2023)  While some of the autographs in the attic will remain, some will be removed as seismic upgrades shift the placement of HVAC pipes and more. Vic High is hoping at least some of the plywood panels that need to be removed can be reused or retained for display.

Generations of future Vic High students and staff have Fergie to thank for such a thorough collection of photos of our extraordinary school. And the Vic High Archives & Museum volunteers are very grateful for Fergie’s work producing a book about the Vic High boilers, creating a booklet of the blueprints of the original 1914 school, and continuing to support the preservation of Vic High’s stories and history.

Fergie is seated second from right.

Linda Baker, VHS 1969, 3rd Generation Vic High

Linda Baker, VHS 1969, 3rd Generation Vic High

Moving home to Victoria after 38 years in the Coquitlam area, Linda helped organize the Class of 1969 50th reunion, and has been Vic High Alumni Board Secretary since November 2018, Communications Lead since 2020, and volunteers in the Vic High Archives & Museum.

Her professional and volunteer background includes

  • 20 years owning her own award-winning interior decorating business, (residential and commercial), including having her work shown in numerous publications
  • 2 ½ years managing a group of chocolate companies, including designing new products for Costco, overseeing HAACP food safety audits, and distribution of imported products to the trade,
  • production of large scale events, including Chamber of Commerce President’s Ball, hospital and hospice fundraising events,
  • 12 years as business agent for large public sector union, including communications, negotiations, grievance arbitration, computer system redesign lead, teaching, administration,
  • 40+ years of volunteering in the community, including president of the Coquitlam region Arts Council and founder of a non-profit chocolate festival that mentored youth
  • Taught Event Management at college in Vancouver

“I’m an ideas person,” says Linda, “and I’m grateful for the chance to work with such inspiring and dedicated volunteers to support Vic High students and connect alumni with each other. Everyone has such great memories and stories to share.”

Happily married, two kids, and 4 grandkids, she’s the 7th of 12 in her family to attend Vic High. She speaks French and travels extensively in France with husband Wayne and their family, and is editing her first book for publication. Her writing can be found at

Keith McCallion, Former Vic High Principal, Still Cheering for the Black & Gold

Keith McCallion, Former Vic High Principal, Still Cheering for the Black & Gold

Keith McCallion never attended Vic High, but as Principal from 1989-1994, he helped bring it back from the brink in the 1980s when enrolment was way down. Despite leading other schools in Victoria, his heart and his volunteering remain with Vic High.

From helping launch and produce the popular Black & Gold dinners to organizing fundraising golf tournaments and chairing the Alumni’s Board, Keith is now helping gather stories for the next Vic High history book, due in time for the 150th anniversary in 2026.

“It’s so gratifying to see the benefit to Vic High and the students of all our volunteer work,” says Keith. “All the Alumni volunteers are so positive, everyone has unique expertise, and we all work together to support Vic High and make a difference.”

Annie Boldt, VHS 1967, Loves Solving Archives Puzzles

Annie Boldt, VHS 1967, Loves Solving Archives Puzzles

Annie Boldt, VHS 1967, oversees the Vic High Archives & Museum, volunteer work that she loves for its problem-solving research and preservation of the history and stories of the school she loves. As a Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing grad she spent her 33-year career as a community nurse in James Bay, and returned to spend four years helping dissolve the School’s archives and distribute its collections to other archives and museums. Her uniform, name badge and various memorabilia are on display in the lobby of the Patient Care Centre at the Jubilee Hospital.

Annie volunteered with the Vic High Archives & Museum for several years before her stint with the nursing school archives, and thankfully was able to return to lead the Vic High Archives team in 2019. “Since retiring in 2005,” says Annie, “I have taken on a few volunteer jobs but my returning passion has been to  Archival work. For me volunteering is a satisfying and healthy way to fill my days after 33 years in Nursing and something completely different.”

“A typical question in the VHS Archives,” she continues,  “is ‘My mom went to Vic High. What can you find out about her in the Archives?’ So then the fun starts trying to figure out what years she attended, searching the CAMOSUNS, the registration cards and Grad year files.”

“It is a win/win, warm and fuzzy feeling to be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and then pass the information on to a very appreciative daughter or son.”

Her dad, Peter Boldt, who passed recently at age 97, taught at Vic High 1958-59 and loved it. Anne was his only offspring lucky enough to carry on the Vic High tradition. “In recent years,” says Anne, “ I thought I had won the Lottery as I was picked to attend VHS from Central for grade 10.The summer between grade 10 and 11 we moved from Fairfield to Oak Bay but because I had started at VHS I was permitted to stay at VHS. My younger siblings were not so lucky and they HAD to go to Oak Bay. Pity!!!”

Don Kissinger, VHS 1959, Returns to Teach and Volunteer

Don Kissinger, VHS 1959, Returns to Teach and Volunteer

Don is a Director on the Alumni Association board and chairs the Scholarship & Bursaries Committee. He is passionate about supporting current students, and keen to keep growing the number and scope of ways to make that happen.

After graduating from Vic High, Don got a Bachelor of Science in Math and Physics. His first teaching job at Royal Oak Middle School was under a special Letter of Permission, but he eventually completed his Teaching Certificate and spent his entire working career as a teacher. Sooke, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, the Northwest Territories, Qualicum Beach, and eventually Victoria and Vic High, were all home to his teaching skills.

“I came back to Vic High in the 1990s,” says Don, “when Keith McCallion hired me.” [Keith was Vic High principal at the time and is an active supporter of the Vic High Alumni.] “I retired in 2003,” he continues, “but I continued as a substitute teacher right up until the Covid pandemic. I really enjoyed it, specially staying connected to the students.”

Don’s volunteer work with the Alumni began when he, a lifelong musician, offered to assemble an orchestra for an upcoming Alumni event. He took over as chair of the Scholarship & Bursaries Committee a few years later.

Don is an accomplished violin and viola player, and that was evident during his school days at Vic High. He was concertmaster of  the Greater Victoria Schools Orchestra which practised weekly at Vic High under the direction of Dorothy Evans. In fact, he was considered such a hotshot (“a lazy one,” says Don), that in Grade 11 and 12 he played in the Victoria Symphony.

He has led the board  of Island String Players society  for the last 20 years  while playing  in its Victoria Chamber Orchestra and organizing and playing in its summer group Raven Baroque. Other musical high points were playing in the National Youth Orchestra and being a member of the pit orchestra for musicals at Brentwood College for 20 years. He still manages to get members of the Greater Victoria Schools Orchestra together for some special alumni events.

Thanks, Don. Vic High students and the Alumni Association are grateful for your passion and your support, although we’re not sure how you fit in all that you do! For more info


Ed Kozicki, VHS 1969 Volunteering and Empowering Growth

Ed Kozicki, VHS 1969     Volunteering and Building Connectivity

Ed and his fellow 1969 grad and Vic High sweetheart Cathy (Mollard) moved home to Vancouver Island in 2018, settling in Cobble Hill, and in 2020 celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

In 2019 he and Cathy renewed Vic High friendships at the Class of 1969 50th Reunion, and Ed was inspired to volunteer with the Alumni. His extensive management and volunteer experience soon became a welcome asset, and he was elected to the Alumni Board in 2021 as a Director.

Ed chaired the Technology Task Force responsible for the Alumni’s new website and email systems, and now chairs its Fundraising Task Force. He wants to help increase connectivity with alumni and help raise funds for much-needed equipment and amenities for the updated Vic High.

Ed, with Jim Main in the background, 1969 Camosun. Something funny going on here!

Coming from a single-parent family, Ed said his experience at Vic High was “exceptional” and he credited Vice-Principal Reg Reid (who he knew from Central Junior High) with giving good advice and grounding him. He loved sports and was active in track and field, soccer, rugby, and volleyball.

Ed’s career began in Victoria and extended to various locations across North America, specializing in purchasing and logistics. He was considered an exceptional troubleshooter who got results. Invited to join a competing company, he began as a branch manager in the firm which had three branch offices and about 20 employees at the time. He retired in 2015, having helped grow the company to 60 North American-wide branches and about 6,000 employees. Ed also volunteered for 10 years and was President for two years with the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association, a volunteer-run organization with 20,000 minor league players and over 300 volunteers.

Besides his volunteer work, Ed enjoys golf, and time on the water with his buddies reeling in the big ones. Thanks, Ed, for all that you are and all that you do to support Vic High through the Alumni.

King Lee, VHS 1958, Long-Time Alumni Volunteer, Reminisces 50 Years After Graduation

King Lee, VHS 1958, Long-Time Alumni Volunteer, Reminisces 50 Years After Graduation

February 2022

Choosing journalism at Vic High because it was easy led Vic High Alumni volunteer King Lee to a 33 year career at the (now) Times Colonist. Assigned by his teacher,  Stan Murphy, as a “stringer” delivering high school sports scores to the paper, he began working there as a sports reporter, then spent 26 years in the News Department.

King played table tennis at Vic High, then bowled 5-pin to a national level. He also took up curling because his Sports Editor Jim Tang told him to, and has been curling ever since. “I can’t wait for the vaccination clinic at Esquimalt Rec to be over so we can get back to curling,” says King. He also plays contract bridge regularly, and volunteers for the Greater Victoria Sports Awards.

“I love volunteering with the Alumni,” says King, who joined the Alumni team around 2010, “mainly because the people are so great. Everybody puts their full heart into it.” Among other things, he writes stories for the Alumni newsletter, helps draft scripts for videos that honour each inductee at the Alumni’s Black & Gold dinner, and is helping gather stories for the Vic High 1976-2026 history book.

After retirement, King became good friends with celebrated sportswriter and Black & Gold Inductee Jim Taylor, VHS 1955. “I took him to Vic High one day,” he recalls, “to meet with students in his field and share some tips.” One that Jim shared was new to King. “He said, ‘Don’t do interviews. Do conversations.’, says King. “It really changed things for me, and it’s how I approach my Alumni volunteer writing.”

In 2008, on the occasion of his grad class’s 50th reunion, he wrote a heartfelt column for Black Press. He shares it with us now, plus the curious autograph his good friend Howard Lim penned in King’s 1958 Camosun. (If Lim’s Camosun message isn’t legible enough, read it here in the Howard Lim article his friend Gordon Eekman, VHS 1958, submitted to the newsletter.)

In 2014, Carolyn Wong’s brutally-honest and award-winning film about her uncle Howard Lim was shown in Victoria. It was presented to a standing-room-only crowd at the Eric Pavilion Theatre after receiving accolades at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (Best Canadian Short Award) and Cleveland International Film Festival (Best LGBT Short Film Award – Honourable Mention) in 2013. King and Alumni volunteer Roger Skillings attended the showing, and definitely attest to the standing-room-only crowd. You can view the film, simply titled ‘Howard’, here.