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Langton's Sacred Heart Catholic School celebrates 75 years

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Things have changed at Sacred Heart Catholic School in its 75 year history in Langton.

Additions have been built, technology has changed, but the school spirit remains much the same. Bonds that formed years ago, remain.

"It's a very tight community," nodded Carol Vanderhaeghe, who helped coordinate Sunday afternoon's 75th anniversary celebration at the school. "If something needs to be done, if someone needs help, everybody comes together... it's a tight community."

Eleven classrooms were decorated for Sunday's anniversary, each with a different theme, along with the library and gymnasium.

"A lot of people brought in memorabilia," said Vanderhaeghe. "We had one room with all the year books, from 1984 on, and thousands of pictures, from 1936 to now. In the far room, the community contributed items – the CWL, the Knights of Columbus, the Belgian Board... and we have a room that focuses on the history of the school. In 1936 it started in the bottom of the (Sacred Heart) church, and in 1939 this school was built."

Vanderhaeghe said she was very happy with the turnout, estimating more than 200 people attended.

"I had over 400 little sandwiches... and they're all gone," she laughed. "It was a great turnout.

"A lot of people were really interested in looking at the pictures. And I heard a few people say 'I haven't seen you in so long!' A lot of familiar faces today."

Sacred Heart School currently has about 270 children, from Junior/Senior Kindergarten to Grade 8.

"Kindergarten didn't start until the late 70s," said Vanderhaeghe, who learned about the school history while organizing the anniversary. "To me, the history was interesting... and that's what we wanted the kids to learn. A lot of them were into it."

"Has the school changed much?" said Mary-Lynn Heye, who was visiting the school for the first time since she graduated circa 1978, moving on to high school and university in London.

"No, not really," she smiled. "Well, I think it's more evolved with regards to the technical component. We didn't have this technology. But the structure of the school, it's still the same, that hasn't changed."

Heye enjoyed touring the classrooms, saying 'I used to sit in that chair...' or 'I used to sit over here' and 'our Grade 8 room was right over there.'

"It think it's exciting to come and see where you went to school for so many years, because it is a big part of your life that you're spending here. It's the recollection... the relationships, the teachers, the principals over the years, think it's fun from that perspective. It's exciting to know where you grew up, and to see if you see anybody who was in the same class. And to see how things have changed."

"I tried to instill in my children education and their well-being in the community" said Mary-Lynn's mother Astrid Heye, who now lives in Tillsonburg.

"It's values," Mary-Lynn nodded.

Karen (Baswick) Nunn also attended Sacred Heart School, from the 85-86 until 1993-94, eventually returning to teach at the school 2005.

"It's nice because I'm familiar with the community and a lot of the families that come here," said Nunn. "It's like a close-knit family in that way, because the parents are sometimes the people I went to school with.

"A lot of my friends have moved on, but I'd say a lot of my friends from Kindergarten stood up at my wedding, so we definitely keep in touch."

Some of the traditions are still alive at the school, said Nunn, like the Langton Fair, but other aspects of school life have changed.

"Definitely the technology has changed a lot. We used to have computers in the library. Simple computers. And now there are computers in most classrooms, as well as a computer lab. We have our 'active boards' that I use every day... it's definitely a lot more hands-on now compared to when I was in Kindergarten."

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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