High School Yearbooks Part 1: 1955 - 1957 Downsview Collegiate

I spent this morning skimming through old high school yearbooks looking for clues to myself, an emerging self, during my middle teen-age years. I’m searching for triggers for stories or turning points that illustrate the emotional development of my protagonist, i.e., me.


My high school life clearly reflected 1950s growth in North York, a suburb of  Toronto. My friend Sandy, one year ahead of me, went to Bathurst Heights where they had a split-shift system to accommodate everyone while another high school was being built. When I was ready for Grade 9, Downsview Collegiate opened, though construction was still going on for the gymnasium and pool. After Grade 10 we moved to another new school, Northview Heights, where I completed high school.

My Grade 9 profile in the first yearbook almost escaped my glance. I appear in a photo of the Grade 9 Volleyball Champion team, curly-haired, smiling and tallest, in my blue romper-style gym-suit, cutoff sleeves the only hint of rebellion. I see the red-haired object of my silent crush in a photo of the Midget Basketball team. I seem to recall being in the Junior Choir but don't recognize myself in the photo until after I find my name listed in an old programme for Variety Night, held April 27-28, 1956.

My Grade 10 profile didn’t change much. Junior Basketball Champions photo very similar to grade 9’s. Still smiling nervously. Though I remember going, no mention of my name on the Junior Volleyball Jamboree team that went to George Harvey and lost. I see pictures of boys that liked me but I had no interest in. I do remember going to school dances but never had a boyfriend and never went to the proms. Not many Grade 9 and 10ers did.

By Grade 11, at a new school with an upbeat atmosphere, I believe I made a conscious resolve to be less shy and more involved in school life. I joined the Drama Club!

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