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During the early 1970s, I attended high school in my hometown of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. The school was Orchard Park Secondary School. We all called it OP, or sometimes OPSS.

As far as schools go in that era, it was pretty good. The building was just five years old when I started and it had some excellent facilities – a couple of good gymnasiums, an over-sized swimming pool, a busy cafeteria with reasonable food, a small school store, and a variety of technical trade shops to compliment the academic studies. The packed classrooms had lots of large windows to brighten the spirits for the 1300+ students. We had three distinct academic streams – two year technical shop program, four year standard program for college or departure from education, and a five year advanced program for those who dreamed of university pursuits.

The teachers were all superior educators working hard to fill the void between our ears. They supported the students with a variety of top notch sports teams, clubs, and extracurricular activities to entertain us and keep us all active, healthy, and engaged. We even had a cooking class as a part of the home economics stream, and of course, typing classes on IBM Selectric typewriters, the dream machine of the day, whereby you could backspace to correct just the last letter keyed. They were state of the art way back then. There were no consumer computers, nor cellular phones in the early 70s. We used rotary dial land-lines and wrote reports with pen and paper. Our source of knowledge reference were hard-covered encyclopedias – actual books.

Here is a video created to remember the past and more importantly to look towards the future. It is a mash-up of pictures taken in those days, a few from later year gatherings, and some even in black and white. All of the football and cheerleader photos I took were with a Minox James Bond 007 miniature camera that was all the rage at the time. However, as far as spy cameras go, the Minox image quality was terribly poor compared to the amazing resolution and colourimetry seen today on even the least expensive cameras or smartphone devices.

A Commemorative Montage of Clips and Images

The Poet’s Life

As young grade 12 students, we all tried to be creative by writing poems. My poem was likely my first and last effort at this form of expression. Since I was never gifted with music abilities, writing prose was not a strong point to be cultivated as accompanying lyrics. Teenagers today can access an abundance of computerized tools to help with their own creativity and to properly express themselves. I am so jealous. But, I share this work from my classmates as a gesture for you to remember where we all came from, and to measure exactly how far we all have evolved since we were 17, 18, or 19 years old.

Please do not laugh too hard. Everyone must start someplace.

The Press

The review of media can be a fun and interesting window into the past. Did you know that Orchard Park was in the news? Most often it was in the Hamilton Spectator or the Stoney Creek News, but it received a lot of positive press.

For example, OP received press for its innovative programs of the day, such as “Cooking can be Fun”. I took this class, did you? I took it in grade 10 to meet girls. But, I actually had success in this coursework, it was just Gary Chappell and myself that year and perhaps 25+ beautiful belles, so the strategy was brilliant for us. Today, I am comfortable in the kitchen as a result, sadly, I am still awkward around the fairer sex. But, I am working on it.

There were science fairs and Corrie Gicante’s Cable TV show on Norm Currie’s Stoney Creek Cable TV that drew up to 8,000 in the audience. Mrs. Gicante was a certified local “rock-star” with her weekly cable television show. There are a number of advertisements attached to let you know about the hot topics of the day.

One of the highlights was when famed poet, Irving Layton was a guest. He also made the press when he spoke to OPSS students. Yes, it was a honour to have him speak to our assembly. But, he made the news for his inappropriate use of some of the bad, evil foul words that he used in front of us sweet, naive students. Oops. Did Mr. Layton damage our collective minds for life? Hardly. But, it is a reflection of the times that someone who uses a cuss words in front of students catches the attention of the media of the day. It seems like such a silly idea in today’s society. You can read all about it in this collection of PDF scans, circa 1972 / 1973.


————————–MJM ————————–

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He offers his services on a contracting basis. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).  He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 20 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.