After-Grad 1964 in James Bay

After-Grad 1964 in James Bay

by Corol (Smith) Pallan, VHS 1964

It has been 60 years since my graduation from Victoria High School in 1964. A recent Alumni tour of the new school triggered many fond memories. I’d like to share a graduation and an ‘after-grad’ memory, and a story of the one time I visited the Principal’s office.

The graduation ceremony for our large class of about 375 students took place in the school’s auditorium, followed by a light dinner in the New (Andrews) Gym and a dance in the Old (Roper) Gym, which was festooned with paper streamers. I think the grade 11 class was responsible for the decorations. The only photo I have from the occasion shows me and friends looking up at someone with a camera on the balcony that surrounded the Old Gym: Corol Smith, Dale Ingram, Phil Humber and Carol Bishop.

I recall the dance at the school ended before midnight, but the party was not yet over; there was an After-Grad party to attend. The A.G. Dance was organized by myself, Dale Ingram and a couple others (wish I could remember who) helped organize the after party. It was held at the White Eagles Hall, 90 Dock Street, in James Bay from 1:00am to 5:ooam. My parents, John and Darline Smith, graciously volunteered to stay up all night to act as chaperones. The hall management required at least two adult chaperones. Imagine the risk renting the facility to a small group of teenaged girls for the purpose of celebrating the end of school in the wee hours of the morning.

We charged $2.50 per ticket and entry was restricted to ticket holders. At some time during the dance a group of party goers from the Oak Bay High School after-grad festivities attempted, unsuccessfully, to crash our party. I remember my parents were so impressed with the responsible behaviour of all our guests.

My parents managed the small concession we set up to sell snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. No doubt there were ‘under the table’ beverages brought to the party by some of the guests. I wonder if anyone recalls the music to which we danced in the first hours of escape from the school years. I believe we had someone playing records. At our ticket prices, it is doubtful we hired a band, but the faded memory eludes.

The After Grad Dance was a great success. We, the organizers, had enough money left from the ticket and concession sales to buy a thank you gift for my parents’ generous contribution of their support and time. They were thrilled with their first barbeque, a bright green bowl shaped vessel with a rack propped on three spindly legs. We did not have enough money to purchase coals to go with it, but the barbeque gift was most appreciated. Dad went out immediately to buy coals and we had hot dogs for dinner that night. I still have a small exercise book used as a guest book and I plan to contact the Vic High Archives to donate the guest book, ticket and photo of the grads in the Old Gym.

I was never called the principal’s office during my time at Vic High. Mr. Gav Thompson was at the helm in those years. However, some 5 years later, in early 1969, I did visit the principal’s office. There was a significant snowfall in Victoria just after Christmas Day 1968. The snow remained for quite some time. It was early January and the  snow continued to clog the streets when school re-opened after the December vacation. I lived nearby on Balmoral Avenue at the time, and worked in my first teaching job at Prospect Lake School. The commute home that day went very smoothly until I made a brief stop at the small store on Camosun Street, which happened to be closed. My small Anglia car got stuck in the very deep snow bank.

I decided to walk to the school to use the telephone for help, and walked up the front steps at the Grant Street entrance. I did so with some trepidation as students in my time at the school were never permitted to the main entrances. It was always Girls at the Fernwood Entrance and Boys at the entrance adjacent to the track. The principal, Mr. Lorimer, was still at the school. He remembered me from my time years earlier at Lansdowne Junior High when he was the vice-principal. He chuckled when I told him of my problem and then called for help from the custodian and a couple of students who were shooting hoops at the gym. The four heroes followed me to my car, lifted the wee thing off the snowbank and positioned the wheels in the rutted tracks on the uncleared road. I cautiously drove two blocks to my apartment and called the school, at Mr. Lorimer’s request, to let him know I had made it safely home. I am grateful to this day for help from the principal.

Sweethearts After Vic High

by Linda Baker, VHS 1969

Corol married Rupee Pallan, VHS 1961, but it wasn’t until their overlapping years at UVic that they met. He’d left Vic High the June before Corol started at Vic High. Both were teachers in the Sooke School District, with Rupee spending most of his time as a school Vice-Principal or Principal and Corol teaching at the elementary level before and after their sons were born. They now have five grandchildren, all living in Victoria, who keep them very busy.

Corol continues:  I have many hobbies, which keep me very busy. One is genealogy. Once retired, I started to research our family history. My great grandparents and / or grandparents were all pioneers of one sort or another. Rupee’s grandfather was among the first East Indian immigrants to come to Victoria in 1906, so also of pioneering ilk. I spent 10 years documenting our family history into a book named “Footsteps To Dreams”. I self-published it to share with my children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews. On the suggestion from my publisher, First Choice Books of Victoria, I submitted a copy to the BC Genealogical Society. Much to my surprise, it was awarded the society’s “Family History Book Award” in 2015. I have attached a picture taken at the by book launch event and another taken on a recent Mediterranean cruise.