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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Sunday, May 21, 2017 7:53 PM -0400
Subject:50 Amazing Years at Sydenham
The Sydenham Community School gymnasium was converted to a memory lane trip experience as a large complement of students and staff of every generation from 1967 to the present visited to reunite and reminisce.  A commemorative 50th anniversary open house on Saturday, May 20, 2017 featured a wealth of memorabilia, ranging from graduation displays arranged by decade to historical photos and articles showcasing the school’s early days and milestones.  

Image of bulletin board sign: "Sydenham School 50th Anniversary Celebration; Sat. May 20, 2017; 1-5pm"One display table was decorated with student artwork to highlight the Sydenham Fall Fair, a local tradition predating the school by more than a century but destined to carry on as a school-based fair when Sydenham and Bayview Public School unite to become East Ridge Community School this September.  Another display served as a touching memorial tribute to staff who passed away, while others provided information and images related to the school’s longstanding music program and major renovations that took place in the early 1990s.  A particularly awe-inspiring artifact was one of the original Sydenham Township school bells, which remains a fixture in the school entrance.  The bell was transported to Sydenham Community School to commemorate the closing of one room schools in 1967.       
The afternoon was organized by dedicated retired staff, who felt the school’s rich history deserved its own special event in addition to the upcoming closing ceremonies on June 15.  According to Cheryl Barfoot, a retired Sydenham teacher and one of the open house organizers, a number of former staff members have kept in touch over the years by getting together for potluck meals and such.  Holding a 50th anniversary commemoration was destined to happen regardless of the imminent merge with Bayview.

Former students were quick to share their fond memories as well.  Gary Shute, a proud alumnus of Sydenham’s inaugural year of 1967 – 1968, has maintained a strong connection to the school over the course of its history.  As he enthusiastically recounted the early days, one could not help but notice his “Sydenham 25th anniversary” T-shirt that has remained a definite keeper in his wardrobe.  The open house also brought out many “generational” families of current students, their parents and grandparents who all attended Sydenham.  

Such a steadfast demonstration of family tradition and pride leaves little doubt that Sydenham Community School’s deep roots and unyielding spirit will live on at East Ridge.   

Image of "Welcome to/Bienvenue a Sydenham" sign with balloons outside school gymnasiumGroup photo image of (l-r) former Principals Andy Amos & Joan Jenner, current Principal Karen Spragg & current Vice-Principal Leanne Stredwick
Image of student made posters promoting Sydenham's 50th anniversaryImage of student made posters promoting Sydenham's 50th anniversary
Image of 2010-17 graduates display tableImage of 1990-99 graduates display table
Image of proud alumnus Gary Shute standing in front of 1967-79 graduates display tableImage of photo/article display highlighting Sydenham renovations in the fall of 1991
Image of photo/article display highlighting the music program at Sydenham Image of projector screen slide show on the gymnasium stage highlighting former staff
Image of black & white photo display highlighting Sydenham's beginnings in 1967 Image of black & white photo showing construction workers as the school nears its completion in 1967
Image of framed photo display and tribute list of staff who passed awayImage of Sydenham Fall Fair display featuring student artwork
Image of "Sydenham Township School Area Board - 1967" plaque hanging alongside student/school photos in the front entrance Image of one of the original Sydenham Township school bells in the front entrance