About 80 people were on hand for the rededication of a refurbished memorial alcove at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute on Tuesday last week.
Over the course the two-year project the 1958 alcove, which pays tribute to more than 2400 staff and students of the 90-year-old school who were active in the First and Second World Wars, saw its honour rolls and bronze plaques restored, new flooring and display cases installed, and backlighting added behind a stained glass scene created by artist Leo Mol.
"Today the refurbished Memorial Alcove presents a statement to all that the Daniel McIntyre community treasures, the memory of the fallen and those who served as a result of war," said alumnus and former vice-principal John Hatcher, 82.
Flags were placed at the alcove entrance by a colour party, a moment of silence was observed before a lone bagpiper performed the Piper’s Lament, and a school choir was applauded for a harmonious rendition of the wartime favourite I’ll Be Seeing You.
Afterwards, Hatcher said the alcove means a lot to him because he went to school with many of the students who served in the Second World War, though he was too young to join before the war ended.
A bronze plaque at the alcove entrance says 205 Danielites died in the Second World War.
Mary Kelekis, who founded the alumi association and is an honorary lifetime member, was escorted by a colour guard member to place a wreath in the alcove.
"I was thinking about a lot of the boys," said Kelekis, 88, who attended the school from 1940-42.
"It’s things like this that make the kids understand," she said, speaking of the school’s present-day students.
"When you see all these former students come in, they kind of sit up and say, ‘this is a wonderful school,’ and it is one of the best."
Grade 12 student Patrick Sarmiento said he had gained a new appreciation of the alcove, and his school.
"I’m part of a history now. The history of the school is good, I didn’t know it before."
In prayer, Hatcher asked God to "bless this hallowed location that it will be an inspiration to future generations of our school to become ambassadors of peace among all nations."
In dedication, he said, "we do solemnly declare that this lovingly restored window and alcove displaying the names of those whom we honour and remember is now officially rededicated."
The cost to refurbish the alcove, pegged at almost $20,000, was covered by alumni donors and Veterans Affairs Canada.