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Westwood schools celebrate big birthdays

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History repeats: Sarah McLachlan (left) and daughter Bailey (middle left) with Laina Weber (middle right) and mom Susanne — just two of several École Robert Browning families in which the parents and children have learned and grown within the same walls.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIELLE SAWYER Enlarge Image

History repeats: Sarah McLachlan (left) and daughter Bailey (middle left) with Laina Weber (middle right) and mom Susanne — just two of several École Robert Browning families in which the parents and children have learned and grown within the same walls. Photo Store

Ask any kid about their birthday and they will tell you it is a big deal.

Ask a parent or grandparent and they might say it is just another day and hope it goes unnoticed. The opposite is true however, when it comes to birthdays for schools.

Westwood Collegiate celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. It was certainly a big deal, but what about our middle or elementary schools? These places in which so many students formed the foundations of their knowledge and careers are worthy of recognition as well, so I did a little digging.

Lincoln Middle School had no special dates/plans to report; Golden Gate, the middle school for many Westwood immersion students, marked its 50th Anniversary in 2009. Formerly a middle school, Sansome celebrates its 50th next year. Built in 1965, Sansome was home to Grades 7 and 8 initially and expanded to include Grade 9 in 1966. While its student population has changed (it’s now kindergarten to Grade 5), the building continues to be a cornerstone of the community.

Some Westwood schools didn’t stand the test of time. Columbus school is long gone and the future of Allard School (currently the Winnipeg Police Academy) is unknown. Bedson School was reborn as Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary School in 1992. It was renamed WMEMS in 2008, serving kindergarten students through their middle years to Grade 8.

Last but not least of our Westwood schools, École Robert Browning celebrates its 50th anniversary next month. Built in 1963, Browning served English students kindergarten to Grade 6 until it became dual track in 1982 and converted to French immersion in 1986. ERB has been home to students from kindergarten to Grade 5 since 1995 and is now the largest elementary school in St. James School Division.  Principal Michelle Clarke says the school hopes to celebrate its past while embracing the future; a parking review is currently underway, a vice-principal will join the staff in fall 2014 and enhancements to the school grounds are being considered.

Former students and staff, current school families and school division dignitaries are invited to attend the Browning 50th Anniversary celebrations June 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. which are being held in conjunction with the annual school picnic. Attendees will be able to tour the school and view mosaic art pieces created to mark the milestone. There will also be a gallery of photos on display and T-shirts for sale. For more information, visit the school website at http://robertbrowning.sjsd.net/

Sharon Pfeifer is a community correspondent for Westwood. You can contact her at sdrinteractive@shaw.ca

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