By SHREYA VISWANATHAN
R.H. McGregor Elementary School in East York recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
One of the oldest elementary schools in Toronto, R.H. McGregor first opened in 1922, and has since remained in the same location on Mortimer Avenue just west of Coxwell Avenue.
Over the past 100 years, the school has created lasting impacts on generations of students and teachers.
One teacher, Mrs.Diane McKinlay, who re-visited R.H. McGregor for its 100th anniversary open house and celebration on May 27, was a long-time Kindergarten teacher at the school from 1991-2016.
“I’ve seen quite a few [students] today, and have been giving them big hugs,” she said at the open house.
“I’m still in touch with a lot of them, and a lot of their families.”
In her 25 years, McKinlay impacted countless youth in the community of East York.
The longevity of these student-teacher bonds symbolizes the value R.H. McGregor Elementary School brings to the community of East York.
Many of the school’s alumni remain connected to it.
Camille is a mother who went to the 100th anniversary celebrations, and also attended the school from 1989 to 1993. She lived just a couple blocks away from the school at the time, and remembered having a positive experience with the friends and teachers that she met.
Camille still lives in East York today, and her daughter is now starting school at R.H. McGregor.
The continuity of attending R.H. McGregor for Camille and her daughter, demonstrates the loyalty that generations of students feel towards the school.
I attended R.H. McGregor as a student living in East York, and met friends and teachers that I have kept in touch with throughout my life.
At the 100th anniversary, I was excited to see past teachers, coaches and classmates of mine. My excitement was mirrored in the faces of all those I met. It was a joyful reunion for former students and staff alike.
At the celebration the school had “quarter-century rooms” that showcased memorabilia from different generations of students and staff. There were exclamations of surprise and pleasure in these rooms when former students recognized a painting or a photograph, which had been carefully preserved.
Outside the school, there were performances by current students of R.H. McGregor.
The intermingling of generations of students, parents, grandparents, teachers, retirees and young students at the 100th year celebration is a reflection of how R.H. McGregor brings the community together, and is a living beacon for new generations of students.
— Shreya Viswanathan is a student at Monarch Park Collegiate Institute. Before attending high school, she was a student at R.H. McGregor Elementary School.