Jim Brownell’s First Class Reunites After 54 Years

Jim Brownell’s First Class Reunites After 54 Years
Reunion Photo. Front row: David Secord, Dick Van Maanen, Brent Hyatt, Cameron Matheson. Second row: Theresa Rupert, Heather Stothard, Megan Clarke, Rosemary O'Hara, Deta Clark, Brenda Cullen, Darlene McMaster, Cindy Sherwood. Third row: Roy Clarke, Leif Frostad, Klaus Zorn, Rick Shaver, Jim Brownell (Teacher), Abigail LaRue. Fourth row: Kyle Hamilton, Jackie Rupert, Karen Staunton, Astrid Kamenz, Patricia Smith (Photo : submitted photo)

The reunion of the Class of 1969-70, Jim Brownell’s first class at Viscount Alexander Public School, was a heartwarming and nostalgic event. Jim Brownell, a retired school teacher, former SDSG MPP, and President of the Lost Villages Historical Society, was deeply moved by the gathering.

“The reunion of the students from the first class of my teaching career was an incredible experience. My heart was full from the experiences of the weekend. The personal conversations I had with each student filled my heart with pride. Most are retired now, but it was incredible to hear of their life experiences,” said Brownell.

The reunion spanned three days, starting with a gathering at the Best Western Hops and Barley Bar on Friday evening. On Saturday, the group revisited Viscount Alexander Public School, where they reminisced over coffee and home-baked goodies. The day continued with a visit to the Lost Villages, where Brownell hosted a BBQ lunch and led a tour, followed by an afternoon at the Lost Village Brewery. The evening concluded with a reunion dinner, complete with a Zoom call for those who couldn’t attend in person.

Reflecting on the event, Brownell said, “After 54 years, it is fair to say that those early contacts between students and their teacher are important. Their heartfelt words meant so much to me. A beautiful ‘friendship’ quilt was crafted, and messages were expressed on it, then presented to me. What a keepsake!”

The reunion underscored the enduring bond between Brownell and his former students. “This class is remembered for their kindness and intelligence. They were a compassionate bunch and loved my ‘new’ way of teaching. Their love was apparent this weekend,” Brownell added. The students’ generous financial contribution to the Lost Villages Historical Society will fund a new project at the museum in honor of their generosity.

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