School soon gone, but dedication of teachers lives on

A big thank-you is due the organizers of the Farewell Abby Collegiate open house held on June 2.

A big thank-you is due the organizers of the Farewell Abby Collegiate open house held on June 2.

You could tell from the faces of those in attendance that the school meant a lot to so many people, as did the opportunity to say one last good-bye.

Each aspect of the event was well run, from the jazz café  with the “wall of grads,” to the alumni basketball games.

The highlight for me was hearing three original members of the Chalk Spots vocal group – Misters Wittenberg, Sweeney and Laidley –  perform a pre-game concert in which they led the crowd in the Abby Fight song.

It took me back to 1976, sitting in Mr. Wittenberg’s class where I was always inspired by his energetic and jovial presence, and to how Mr. Laidley taught about the principle of compound interest with such bombast, I remember it to this day. (If only I’d followed his advice).

I was never taught by Mr. Sweeney but I’m sure his many students would speak similarly of his influence in their lives. I realized in looking back that, though the physical edifice of this school will soon be gone, the dedication and passion of the countless teachers who have taught here will continue to some degree in the lives of the citizens they helped to mold.

How fitting are the words from the song To Sir With Love – “The time has come, for closing books and long last looks must end. And as I leave, I know that I am leaving my best friend. A friend that taught me right from wrong and weak from strong, that’s a lot to learn. What can I give you in return?”

Parents, as the school year draws to an end, encourage your kids to consider with gratitude the teachers who have invested so much of themselves.

Farewell Abby Senior, and long live Panther Pride. (p.s. grads of 1977, mark Aug. 25 on your calendar for our 35-year reunion. Watch for more details )


Don Kowalchuk

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