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.”
Part Three: FOR ME, ONCE AT ACS
Alumni: Andrea Bravo (nee Kingma) | As Told To: Jeremy Zhu
My four years of high school was the best time in my life. I met many good friends at ACS and they were with me all the time, no matter how bad things got. They laughed whenever I laughed, and they cried whenever I cried. Even now, I still can imagine that hallway, the place which contains lots of our precious memories.
During the breaks, we all liked to joke around. One day, while goofing around, a friend mooned me; however, the principal walked by at that moment. She did not realize this and kept laughing until she turned around and saw his face turning red with embarrassment. Luckily, we did not get into trouble, and the principal just asked us to be careful next time.
There were many fun things that happened to us like that. However, happiness and smiles are never our entire life; there is also sadness and pain.
There is one unforgettable memory for me. Even now, as I look back on my time at ACS, a beautiful face always appears in my mind; the face of one of my best friends.
One day, back in 2002, I looked around one of the classrooms, and I saw a girl, who looked very relaxed, enjoying reading a book. I was curious about her, so I came forward and asked her,”What is your name?” But there was no expression on her face and no reply. This really enhanced my will to get to know more about this mysterious girl, and I made up my mind to become friends with her.
Therefore, I always went to her and talked to her with some of my other friends. Although she seemed depressed at the beginning, after my efforts, she started to open up to us. We quickly became good friends very and had the most beautiful time together.
People often say that there will be a rainbow after the rain. However, it didn’t seem to work for me. After we enjoyed this rainbow for a very short time, the rainstorm came faster than anyone’s prediction. This friend committed suicide because of high depression. When I heard about this news, I could hardly believe that such a nice girl just disappeared from the world. That was a huge hit for me as well as her friends and teachers.
During that period, I always thought of her and wished to see and talk to her one more time. Even my piano and my love of music could not draw any attention from thinking of her. Every time when I closed my eyes or went to the place we had been together, her face became the only thing that I would think of.
All my friends, teachers and my parents were worried about me. They tried to stay where I was and comforted me. They were afraid that I might do the same thing like her. Tragedy should not be staged again.
Mr. DeJong sat right beside me and listened. The song I played is called, “Dancing with Jesus.” The whole process was so quiet except for the music that seemed to be heard by her as well.
After I finished playing he said, “Death is so close to us. Everyone has to experience it. She was a little special and came to heaven earlier than any of us. I believe that she is very happy in heaven. So why do you need to be sad about her?“
All that he said was so strong and supportive that more and more tears filled my eyes. I nodded my head and wiped the tears as soon as I could. I stood up and determined in my mind and heart that I would be strong; nothing else would defeat me.
I went outside and just enjoyed the sun breaking through the clouds. The rainbow which appeared after the rain also smiled at me.