Pages from the Past- 1995 – MCHS is the new school

With special thanks to a glimpse of pages from the past and for access to files from the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society-Musee Morinville Museum, Greater St Albert Catholic Schools and Volume 4(for) History Committee.

This article is a recap and is not all inclusive.

Compiled by Lucie Roy

2020 is the 25th anniversary of Morinville Community High School. The Open House on Mar. 12 was cancelled just prior to the official start of the 25th Anniversary event due to COVID-19.

Students, teachers and staff had organized a walk “through the decades” with the pillars and halls in the school adorned with pages from the past, yearbooks and a display of some of the themes and mannequins with costumes of drama plays through the years.

Grad photo at MCHS from 1994-1995.

The 1994-1995 school year saw the first graduating class from MCHS takes place in April 1995 with more than 80 graduates.

In 1995, the school was the talk of the town, the area, and the province. The school opened in November 1994 with Vice-Principal Gary Smith and Principal Paul O’Dea beaming with pride in front of Morinville’s new multi-million dollar high-tech high school, a school on the cutting edge of technology and trends.

“Students in Morinville now have an opportunity at a world-class education,” said O’Dea, “this is a renaissance.”

Science teacher Bill Pritchard said the move was to be more activity-oriented and embrace the technology and scheduling to encourage students to take CTS (Career and Technology Studies) modules with teacher Brent Bistritz in the afternoon to create a healthy environment for independent learning and one- on- one teaching. Pritchard said he did not take paper assignments anymore. As a science teacher you are supposed to be ecologically conscious so they use power instead of paper and can submit assignments by E-mail with entries time-stamped by the computer network’s internal clock.

CTS component incorporated a high-end computer network, a television production studio, a silk-screening shop, a photography darkroom, recording studios, robotics, 170 computer stations, and an open drama stage design, as well as the traditional shop courses.

Students did not have to make written reports; they could make their presentations on video and could also use computer graphics and art.

Math teacher John Henderson said this was a unique year in teaching. Students still followed the basic math curriculum and seniors were experiencing the new technology to create full-colour graphs, charts, and tables.

In 1992 Thibault was the first school district in Alberta to join and contribute to AETRF (Alberta Educational Technology Research Foundation).

There were four distinct projects on the go in 1994; some programs allowed parents and students access to school and information resources 24 hours a day through the use of laptops computers and the telephone, second, it allows special needs students to video-link with resources allowing teachers and kids to get the help they need on the spot, a third project allows schools to link and share resources, possibly paving the way for a province-wide database which would slash and burn school supplies budgets and fourth it allowed students to video-link to sites across North America. The AETRF projects could have a global impact and change the face of education as we know it, said Thibault Trustee Gordon Boddez at the time.

Students could have the potential to consult a wide range of instructors throughout the province through video link-ups. As students all have different learning styles, they could pick and choose those that serve them best.

The school was one of the most progressive schools in the province when it was built, built to be modern in the 21st century, and it has stood up to that test, a noticeably modern and progressive high school even today, a few decades after its dedication.

Greater St Albert Catholic Schools said they have had five principals at MCHS; Paul O’Dea 1994, Vic Pedersen Sept. 2003, Todd Eistetter Sept. 2011 and Don Hinks Sept 2016.

One of the pillars at the school on 12 March with pages from the past for the walk through the decades.

Pages from the past on one of the school pillars at MCHS 12 March.

1995 Congrats to all grads.

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