Many former graduates of Fitzgerald Academy in English Harbour West had an opportunity to go back through the years on August 9 as the school hosted a reunion for all graduates and especially for those returning for the 2012 St. Jacques-Coomb’s Cove Come Home Year.
The school gym was filled with graduates from recent years as well as some from a number of years ago.
A number of the graduates took time out from mingling with their friends to talk about their school life and what they have been doing since their graduation.
School1.docx: April Williams
I graduated from Fitzgerald in 1999. I lived in St. John’s for six years but today my husband (my high school sweet heart) and I live back in English Harbour West as he works on offshore oil tankers. We decided to move back here, as it doesn’t really matter where we live with his line of work. I loved going to school at Fitzgerald, the teenage dances, the sports programs, the teachers – I just loved it all basically. The teachers that stand out in my mind are Allan spencer, Allan Humber and Russell Bungay.
School2.docx: Jason Cox
I graduated in 1997 and then left to work in New Brunswick and in other parts of Newfoundland and Labrador for a number of years. About five years go I hooked up a job with the Town here so I’m living in this area again now. One of my fondest memories of Fitzgerald was while I was in grade six. Our homeroom teacher that year was Darin King, the current Minister of Fisheries. I remember that year in particular because we had a grade six graduation which I don’t think many schools have now and ours may have been the last at Fitzgerald. I dug up some old photos and a videotape of that event my mother had poked away and was looking at them several nights ago. It certainly brought back a lot of memories.
School3.docx: Dennis Williams
Following my graduation in 1998 I did a Marine Engineering Program at MUN. I graduated from that program in 2001, and I am presently working in the marine industry as an engineer with Canship Uglamnd. My fondest memory of Fitzgerald is taking part in the various sports programs the school offered and getting to travel to various sporting competitions.
Scjool4.docx: Lisa Courtney
I have been teaching physical education and sciences at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts for the last 10 years. I gradated from Fitzgerald in 1996 and went on to earn a Phys Ed. and an Education Degree from Memorial University. I really loved the sports activities at our school back then as I was into basketball, volleyball and cross-country. Russell Bungay, our phys ed teacher had a lot of influence on me. Mr. Bungay spent a lot of time with us after regular school hours and he taught us life-long values such as good sportsmanship, hard work and dedication to a cause.
School5.docx: Leon Organ
I graduated from Fitzgerald in 1990 and later completed an architectural engineering program at MUN. I’ve worked with a number of architectural and engineering firms all across the province and in Labrador. Today I work as an engineering technician with the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government. I enjoyed the sports programs here at Fitzgerald. I remember our high school science teacher, George Sutton in particular. Mr. Sutton always seemed to have those one-liners that made you kind of stop and think. I remember we had several exams scheduled at one time and we were complaining about that. Mr. Sutton said ‘One slap in the face deserves another’. Today I realize he meant that it doesn’t matter how many things you face in life if you’re prepared for whatever they put in front of you.
School6.docx: Conrad Williams
I took Grade 11 at Fitzgerald in 1981-82 as we completed up to Grade 10 then back in Pool’s Cove. It was a big event for us of course coming up from Pool’s Cove to attend this larger school. To be able to get to take part in sports in gym and to do experiments in science lab was a thrill for us. We adjusted really well to our new surroundings and were accepted right away by the students at the school. Following high school I went on to the old College of Fisheries and did a Marine Diesel Mechanics program. Today I’m the chief engineer on the Canadian Coast Guard vessel the “Cape Roger”, a position I’ve held for the past 25 years.
School7.docx: Darlene Bullen
I left English Harbour West in 1980 immediately following my high school graduation. I starting working at the Eskasoni Home in St. John’s, a job I’ve held for the past 32 years. I wasn’t into sports or that sort of thing in high school. I just enjoyed hanging out with my friends and taking part in some of the activities at school. My favourite teachers were Max Taylor and Don Lawrence.
School8.docx: Pearl Fiander Blagdon
I’m too old to be here tonight as I graduated from school in 1970. My husband, Russell Balgdon, was principal of this school at one time but 25 years ago he went to work for the provincial Department of Education. When we moved to St. John’s I was a stay-at-home-Mom so I opened up a full time day care center that I operated until I was 55, about five years ago. So, I’m a Townie girl but I’m a Bay girl as well as I’ve never forgotten my roots back in Coomb’s Cove. I had a great time going to school back in the day. We spent more time going to dances and in chasing the boys than in doing schoolwork. It was a great time in our lives and it brings back a lot of good memories being here at this wonderful event tonight.
School9.docx: Dorothy Hickey
I moved up to Fitzgerald after finishing grade eight in St. Jacques and completed my high school life there and graduated in 1972. I went to MUN for a while and later met a guy from Ottawa. I moved up there with him and for the past 32 years I’ve been working with the Canadian Soccer Association. I enjoyed the wonderful comradeship I felt at Fitzgerald back in my day. We had a great time playing basketball, floor hockey and volleyball and of course in attending the high school dances. I remember Otto Fiander who was a great math teacher, Don Lawrence, our guidance counselor and Lawrence Blagdon who was a really nice man.
School10.docx: Linwood Hunt
Those were the ‘glory days’ in growing up and going to school in English Harbour West. At Fitzgerald we had a close relationship with our teachers and I think they all influenced me in some ways. I graduated from Fitzgerald in 1981 and in 1986 I graduated from MUN with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. I worked in St. John’s for a number of years but I didn’t like it. When our children came along my wife and I decided to move back here, as we wanted to raise them in a smaller rural setting. We moved back here 15 years ago and just this past June our youngest child graduated from Fitzgerald. Today, I work for a local businessperson in this area.