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F.P. Walshe reunion attracts former students from two decades to Fort Macleod

F.P. Walshe school will be the focus on June 10-12.
More than 500 people who attended the Fort Macleod school in the 1980s and ’90s are signed up for the three-day reunion.
“That was our goal, to reach 500,” co-organizer Mike Bourassa said. “We’ve got people coming from all over the place, which is nice.”
Bourassa and Janene Van Driesten set out last winter to organize a reunion, the deaths of some former classmates serving as a reminder of the passage of time.
There was considerable discussion about what grad classes to invite, since friendships overlapped the boundaries of grades.
Rather than risk leaving someone out, they decided to invite people who attended the school over a period of two decades.
“People are excited,” Bourassa said of response to the invitation.
One of the first tasks was to put together an organizing committee, and Bourassa and Van Driesten were pleased to find a willing group of workers.
Class representatives are 1980, Charlene Burdett; 1981, Shannon Caughlin Van Hierden; 1982, Sherry Koopman Van Herk; 1983, Terry Bourassa Tahiliani and Shannon Dickson Wigle; 1984, Scott Norlin; 1985, Eric Eremenko; 1986, Angela Hatton Eremenko and Angie Litle O’Connor; 1987, Alex Van Herk and Trevor Hardy; 1988, Tammy Nathe Ducharme; 1989, Wanda Litle McNab and Donna Bolingbroke; 1990, Mike Bourassa and Janene Van Driesten; 1991, Jody Litle; 1992, Angela Luther Bourassa and Brandy Wolstenholme Archibald; 1993, Christa Robson Gallup; 1994, Chad Hornberger and Fern Wesley Marsden; 1995, Liisa Derricott Gillingham and Brenda Vandervalk; 1996, Cole Archibald; 1997, Chelsie Poytress Wolff; 1998, Melissa Tarnes Kalmakoff; and 1999, Aaron Poytress.
“I’m very thankful for everyone who volunteered,” Van Driesten said.
Van Driesten said she is particularly grateful to Vandervalk, who developed a reunion Web site (
A Facebook page was also created and received close to 1,000 “likes” in a short span of time.
When the May 1 registration deadline passed, 504 former F.P. Walshe students had registered.
The Class of 1990 topped registration with 25 people registered, with 1997 and 1987 tied for second with 23 apiece.
The reunion begins Friday, June 10 with a welcome reception from 6-11 p.m. at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
People will receive their registration packages that night, which includes a commemorative T-shirt and lanyard.
Roy Schuberg will provide background music during the reception.
A golf tournament is planned the morning of Saturday, June 11.
Fish and Game Park has been booked for a casual gathering from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and coolers.
The Saturday evening function gets under way at 4:30 p.m. at the arena with dinner, class photos by Karen Van herk, a silent auction of school championship banners and a dance to the music of The Soup of Flies.
A memorial tree will be set up, with people invited to write the names of people they wish to remember on white ribbons. The tree will be planted later in a permanent location.
A continental breakfast farewell will be held Sunday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the arena.
Any proceeds from the reunion will be donated to the gymnasium expansion project at W.A. Day school.
Six teachers have registered for the reunion and an invitation is extended to all staff from the 1980s and ’90s. They can call Janene Van Driesten at 403-394-4076 to confirm their attendance.
Reunion organizers are hopeful businesses will organize sales events to coincide with the reunion.
“I think it’s important that all the businesses in town be aware this many people are coming to town,” Bourassa said. “It’s not too often you get 500 people coming to Fort Macleod at one time.”

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