(Dan Rosenburg) What exactly does Howard S. Billings High School represent in its 50th anniversary year of 2018 and what is its envision of the future? Who else could better respond to those questions than the school’s 14th and current principal Collin Thomas?
“Well, it’s very different compared to 1968, that’s for sure,” he replied during a rare break in the action following the school’s Saturday afternoon open house and barbecue on May 19. “Nowadays we have students spending half of the school year with the French board (Grands Seigneuries) and half with the English Board (New Frontiers) in an exchange through the Option Etudes program. We never had anything like that in 1968. Anglophone and francophone students are sharing the same experiences now, and that type of interaction will shape HSB moving forward.
“We also have a Native resource program to support our Aboriginal students in their acquisition of language skills, and we never had that before. The idea of HSB moving forward shows that the school is embracing the inclusion of our communities, and that’s what it’s all about. We service Chateauguay, Lery, Ste. Martine, Beauharois, Mercier and Kahnawake. One thing they all have in common is sharing the HSB community.
“Increasing demands on education are becoming more and more challenging. Expectations are higher for staff and students alike. Complications exist dealing with issues of misuse of social media and from society’s expectations of what the school should teach and how it should be run. Having those influences is increasingly challenging. The way to overcome that is by the school, families and community working together to meet our shared goal: the growth of happy and successful kids.
“But we can’t do it alone. It can only be achieved by working together and relying on our sense of community. That’s HSB moving forward after 2018 as a true and necessary community. Events such as our 50th anniversary remind us of the family and the influence of power it may have.”
Thomas noted that he is “absolutely satisfied with the open house. It was a fantastic event,” he added. “I don’t think it could have gone better. The organizing committee, consisting of parents and teachers alike, did a great job.”
Collin Thomas, HSB Principal
Donna Kiernan Blasi, HSB staff
Caren Macbeth, HSB staff, Class of 1985
Marcia Turbide, HSB staff
Katrina Smith Valade, HSB teacher
Cheryl Ann Gundry-White, HSB teacher
Janet Reid, HSB teacher, Class of 1969
Anthony Spadaccino, NFSB staff, Class of 2003
Lori Biernat, NFSB staff
Anne Fradette, Class of 1983
Grant Ross, Class of 1977
Shelley McGowan, Nova teacher