Plans are already underway for next May’s 110th anniversary and reunion at Malvern Collegiate Institute. After a hugely successful centenary in 2003, which saw just under 4,000 former students attend, the school’s alumni organization, the Red and Black Society, decided to expand the yearly reunion to include all former students. Normally, each year sees a reunion for one particular decade, such as grads from the 1950s or 1960s.
According to Red and Black Society president Adele Ashby, the response 10 years ago “astonished everybody. We had people come from Europe, England, California – we were just bowled over by all of this.”
Although the last group had a year and a half to plan their celebration, many of those involved have returned with that planning experience. Part of the celebration will include a fairly extensive historical display, featuring ‘decade rooms’ where memorabilia will be displayed in separate rooms for each decade of the school’s history. Helping with this process is a new archives room and storage facility at Malvern, operated by an “extremely active” archives committee.
The school’s new archives room replaces a dark, dusty elevator shaft for an elevator that was never installed. Considering the extent of the school’s archives – which include materials from former students such as Glenn Gould, including music he wrote during his high school years – the improved facilities couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We were concerned about the possibility that some of it might disappear, since we have some really valuable stuff,” said Ashby.
The reunion will also feature an opening ceremony, with performances from the school’s alumni band; dancing to music from the jazz band, possibly outdoors; pub nights for each decade; displays at the Main Street and Beaches library branches; historical walks from Gene Domagala; and a ceremony to commemorate the restoration of the school’s war memorial.
“We’ve got a lot happening, but we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of nailing everything down. We think it’s going to be a lot of fun. We already have a whole slew of people that have registered,” she said.
Ashby got involved in the Red and Black Society after the 2003 reunion. At the time, she had thought her high school pal Vandra Maseman was living in the U.S., but she reconnected with her after realizing they lived only minutes apart in Toronto’s west end. Maseman is the current Vice President of the Society, and previously served as President. “She is the dynamo behind the Malvern Red and Black,” said Ashby.
Despite a lack of steady income, the Society has recently launched a redesigned website, where the archive materials are slowly but steadily being scanned and added. The Society’s newsletters are also available for download.
For the latest information on the 110th reunion, visit malverncollegiate.com, search the Red and Black Society on Facebook, find @MRBSAlum on Twitter, or register at malvern110.eventbrite.ca.