Walking the Halls: CHINESE FIRE DRILL

The ACS Inside Out blog is excited to present Walking the Halls, a summer blog series featuring eight stories, about eight alumni, written by eight current students. This project began out of the curiosity of students in our English 11 class, and a teacher who knew how to make the most of it.

Mrs. Dani deJong explains:

“I saw a post on the school Facebook page a while back that generated lots of traffic. It was a picture of a group of girls in the hall down in the science wing and people were invited to guess what year the picture was from in order to win a prize. People did guess and someone must have won a prize, but what my English 11 students noticed when I showed them the post, was the conversation that erupted around the picture. Comments about where time had gone, the crazy hair styles, who had last seen whom abounded. We then pulled out the entire yearbook stash from the library and spent a great period looking at the things the alumni did all those years ago.  It generated a lot of questions: What were they doing? Why was that happening? We decided that there were a lot of memories out there generated from the halls of this building. And, since the halls are soon going to be brought down in the renovation, we wondered how we could keep these stories in a more permanent way. We figured the best way was to ask the people in the photos to tell us their stories. We invited a news anchor/reporter in from CTV to tell us how to conduct a good interview and we set out to find our stories. Some are funny, some are sad, but they all have meaning to the people that walked the halls of ACS.”

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Part Seven: CHINESE FIRE DRILL

Alumni: Karen Thiessen (nee Venema)   |   Student Author: Ryan Thiessen

When I was in high school, the rules of the road were very different from today.

When you turned 16 you could get your learners license. But instead of waiting a full year to get your “N”, then another two years to get your full license, we were able to get our full license only 30 days after we got our “L”. Safer still, there was no limit to how many kids you could have in your car. So, at 16 years old we were driving around at lunch hours with as many friends as we wanted in the car with us. blog series Karen1

Just like students now, we also enjoyed going out for lunch. The only difference, obviously, was we could have as many friends as we wanted to go with us which was a lot of fun.

One lunch hour on our way to McDonald’s, we decided to do what we called a “Chinese fire drill.” What that meant was when the car came to a red light, someone would yell “Chinese fire drill! and everyone, including the driver, would get out, run around the car, and get back in before the light turned green again.

This particular lunch hour, we decided to attempt one. So someone yelled, “Chinese fire drill!” and we all got out and ran around the car. But when we got back in we noticed one of my friends was not in the car with us. We could see her standing beside the car with a panicked look on her face. We were wondering why she wasn’t coming back in.

When we went out to see what was up we noticed the car had rolled onto her foot! The driver had put the car into neutral instead of park and the car had moved while we were running around it. Laughing, we rolled the car back off her foot. Receiving a few honks, we got back into the car, almost forgetting that we were at a stop light, which had turned green a while ago.

Lunch hours at ACS were always some of my favourite times, because of all the good times I had with my friends, just like this story. It is because of the community that ACS has that I was able to experience these moments. Although the building that I experienced these stories in will be gone, the community of ACS will be closer than ever. 

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