We owe thanks to many people for the organizing of the MCHS 2015 ’60s Reunion

The following are an early draft of my speaking notes for a few words – the text that follows will be cut down to remarks no more than five minutes in length – at the beginning of the MCHS ’60s Reunion, on Oct. 17, 2015 in the Humber Room at Old Mill Toronto.

Directions to Humber Room

The best way to find the Humber Room is by entering by the Old Mill Restaurant entrance. Instead of going into the restaurant, you walk down the hallways on your right. There’s a Coat Check room alone the way, where you can check your coat if you wish. You pass an ATM machine and come to an opening. On your left you will see a short flight of stairs. You go up the stairs and you will be at the Humber Room.

We are planning to have some red balloons in place, in the hallways leading from the entrance to the Humber Room, to help you find your way. In keeping with instructions from our budget person, to keep all of our costs to a minimum, we – or more specifically, Noreen McMillan – bought the balloons at a Dollar Store, at a fraction of what they would otherwise have cost. We were even able to get them filled up with helium, at a very moderate cost.

Speaking notes

I want to welcome you to our ’60s reunion. We are pleased that we have a good turnout, and that we have found a great place to hold the event.

What are we here for? We are here to mix and mingle. There is no assigned seating. We can sit wherever we want to. Feel free to play musical chairs. Feel free to wander in the hallways with your conversation partners.

Feel free to touch base with your graduation year partners. Feel free to get to know alumni from other graduation years as well.

Please reach out, as well, to the Spouses and Guests who have joined us this evening. The Spouses and Guests are among the stars of the show this evening. Their own stories, and their own reminiscences of the years that have come and gone, bring much of value to our shared experiences this evening.

I want to thank each of us for turning up today – that means registering; finding a place to stay; arranging for transportation; and finding your free parking pass. These are all significant achievements!

Organizing team

We also want to thank a great organizing team – Howard Hight, Diana (McLagan) Redden, Scott Munro, Peter Mearns, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge, and Gina (Davis) Cayer.

Howard Hight and Diana Redden are not able to be with us today for reasons dealing with personal or family health issues.  Both Howard and Diana are key members of the organizing team. Howard came up with the idea of the Database. Diana joined Howard in creation of the Database and they both developed the Newsletter concept, which became our primary means of communications about the reunion.

Howard also prompted us to make an early decision regarding the date of the event, so that people could plan their schedules as far ahead as possible.

Scott Munro and I have met for lunch at least once a year for the past 20 years. For the past 10 years we’ve been saying, “Let’s organize a ’60s reunion.” Finally, a couple of years ago, we decided to have a meeting in Toronto focusing on the launch of the planning process. Peter Mearns joined us at the meeting, which took place at a restaurant not very far from Old Mill Toronto.

If you want to know anything about bagpipes, or about geography, or about Scottish heritage, speak to Scott Munro.

Old Mill Toronto

After our first meeting, Peter Mearns took on the task of finding a great venue for our reunion. Peter Mearns soon decided that the Old Mill would be worth looking at. It’s turned out to be a great venue. The staff at the Old Mill have been great to work with. They have been of tremendous assistance to us, in every possible way, during the planning of the event.

Business Card Game

Peter Mearns told us, at an early stage of planning, that we absolutely had to get Lynn (Hennebury) Legge involved with the organizing of the event. She came on board at an early stage. She has helped us with evert stage of the planning – from helping us to make good decisions our regular meetings in Kitchener, to serving as the budget person for the reunion, to introducing us to the concept of the Business Card Game, and to playing a key role along with Gina (Davis) Cayer in ensuring that we have a great turnout for this event.

No loud background music during the Humber Dinner Buffet

Whenever we posted information about our planning meetings in Kitchener, we mentioned that any MCHS grad who would like to join us, at the meetings, would be welcome to attend. Gina took us up on that offer, and became a key member of the organizing team. One of the first things that she said was that we need to make sure that, when people are mixing and mingling, they will not have loud music playing in the background. That was a great suggestion. We have followed her advice on this topic and a wide range of other topics.

Able Disc Jockeys

As well, Gina (Davis) Cayer was the person who took on the responsibility of finding a great DJ for us – that is, James McDonough of Able Disc Jockeys – for the event. She also worked with a large number of graduates to put together a great playlist for the DJ to refer to. We would note that we will not have time to play every song on the list, but the list is available online, so that you will know what the full list of songs is, that we have put together.

I would also note that James McDonough has people, at reunions such as ours, sometimes also like to hear some tunes that are more like from 2015, that is from the current era of music that teenagers like to listen to, and so you will likely hear some contemporary music as well.


Walter Psotka Photography is providing photographic and video documentation of today’s event. We will be having a group photo, that he will arrange. Please note that if you do not wish to have a photo of yourself appearing online, then it’s a good idea to avoid being in the group photo.

Walter Psotka will also share a brief anecdote with us this evening – about the value of documentation when you are dealing with one of our favourite Canadian organizations, namely the Canada Revenue Service. Talking about taxes is a great way to get conversations going!

Entertainment subcommittee

As well, we owe thanks to the Entertainment Subcommittee which was created at Howard Hight’s great suggestion, many months ago.

The members of the latter committee include Barbara Sayfy, Heather Anne Liddell, Noreen McMillan, and Mary Lynne Dewhurst.

Klaas Vander Baaren

As well some of our additional volunteers have played significant roles in bringing us together today. They include Klaas Vander Baaren who set up the MCHS 60s Reunion Facebook Group for us and who also did a large part of the very labor-intensive work of scanning the yearbooks.

As well, Gerry Garnett also helped with the scanning of the yearbooks. We owe thanks to Barbara Sayfy and John Masselos for lending us some of the yearbooks. Peter Mearns, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge, and Gina (Davis) Cayer also lent us yearbooks, so that we could scan them.

Beautiful centrepieces that Nancy Renz has sent to us by FedEx, and has subsequently organized into four cartons, ready for placement at the round tables at the Humber Room on Oct. 16, 2015. Nancy Renz photo

Beautiful centrepieces that Nancy Renz has sent to us by FedEx, and has subsequently organized into four cartons, ready for placement at the round tables at the Humber Room on Oct. 17, 2015. Nancy Renz photo

Nancy Renz

As well, Nancy Renz has organized the creation of the MCHS embroidered crests that each of us has received, in our grab bag, and she has also provided the delightful centrepieces that you see on our tables. She also brought the cougar that has been hanging out at the registration desk.

Students and teachers who have passed away

The grab bag also has a list of staff and students who have passed away, today, when we gather together, we keep in our thoughts and memories those of our classmates and teachers who have passed away.

Privacy of information

1) Please also note, with regard to privacy of information, that if you do NOT wish to have a photo or video or audio recording of yourself online, please let me know. A number of people have already contacted me, in that regard.

2) Please note that if you want contact information, for any person that you meet, you will need to write that information down yourself. Or you can contact me after the reunion, and I will ask the other person if it’s okay for me to share their contact information with you. You can pick up a business card at the registration desk, on which my own cost details are listed.

3)  I may decide to do brief interviews with people, to ask where they are from, and what a high school reunion means for them. If you do not wish to be recorded, please just let me know.

Stars of the show

Each  of us is the star of the show with the exception of anybody who does NOT want to be a star.

1968 graduation year

You will note that some graduation years have many people attending, whereas some such as 1968 have a few less people.  I want to introduce to you Hannah Reim and her husband Ron Reim. They are from the 1968 graduation year. They are keen to speak with other people, from other graduation years.

Similarly, Brenda (McLagan) Grier, sister of Diana (McLagan) Redden, is the sole person from the 1965 graduation year. She is married to Wayne Grier, one of the many graduates from 1963 who are with us today. I’m sure that Brenda Grier will have many people to speak with, from other graduation years.

In addition, the 1972 graduation year is represented by one person, John Masselos. John has played a key role in ensuring that we have enough yearbooks to scan, for the DVD that we have put together for you.

Copies of the yearbooks came from many sources

Klaas Vander Baaren, a 1964 graduate, played a key role in scanning a large number of the yearbooks. Gerry Garnett helped us with scanning as well – as did Diana Kouri. The scanning of a yearbook is not an easy task, as I know from personal experience.

I also want to mention that Peter Mearns and Gina (Davis) Cayer lent us copies of the yearbooks, to help us with the DVD project.

We trust you will enjoy seeing the PDF files of the yearbooks. Please let me know, in the event you have a problem opening any of the files. To my knowledge, all of the files are in good shape.

Please let me know if I have forgotten to mention the work of any volunteer

In the event I’ve forgotten to mention anyone, who has done great volunteer work on behalf of the reunion, please remind me which person I have forgotten to mention. We owe thanks to each person who has helped us, to get the show on the road.

We are here to mix and mingle

We trust that you will enjoy this opportunity to mix and mingle. Please feel free to move around. Don’t just stay seated at the same place for hours on end. As you may know, sitting is the new smoking. Feel free to wander the hallways with your conversation partners. If you have any questions, about any topic, please speak with me or with any other member of the organizing team.



2 replies
  1. Nancy Renz
    Nancy Renz says:

    Jaan, we owe you a standing ovation for all of your hard work. For some of us this will be a once in a lifetime event/opportunity.

    Thank you sincerely for everything.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Nancy, I much appreciate your comments. Usually, I try to run and hide when praise comes my way but I am learning to take it all in. And I am pleased to add that the work that you are doing as a volunteer is a source of tremendous inspiration for me. Those centrepieces are amazing. Plus we have those MCHS embroidered crests that you put in a special order for. The reunion is miles ahead of where it would be, had it not been for your great contributions to a great shared effort. And it is so true – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity/event for some of us; I’m pleased that we have all worked together to make it occur.


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