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 One: THE TEST
Alumni: Vince Van Dyk | Student Author: Matthew Marginson
For Vince Van Dyk, grade 11 biology will always bring back special memories. Although biology is widely regarded as a sober topic that tends not to be super stimulating, in that year, it certainly had its moments due to the teacher they had. The atmosphere was great and lively because Mr. Bakker could so easily be lead off track, especially by bringing up the topic of the Montreal Canadiens. Mr. Bakker also often enjoyed playing fun jokes on his students and vice versa. Some of the pranks were priceless and poked unrelenting fun at the expense of the unsuspecting.
One incident that has forever embedded itself into Vince’s memories took place in this notorious classroom. It involved two young men who had missed the big biology test due to extra-curricular commitments. As per usual, upon their return to school, they would have to sit down and write the test they had missed.
However, for these two students, Mr. Bakker along with the rest of class, had a special surprise awaiting.
During their absence, Mr. Bakker, and the class, had concocted a prank to play on the two unwitting students. They plotted to give them a “special” biology test. This test would have questions that had no real answers, designed to stump and worry the naive grade 11 students. The plan was to deliver these tests to the absentees immediately upon their arrival in class, and then, to sit back and enjoy their reactions. In order to not arouse suspicion, the rest of the class were to “work diligently” and keep their heads down on projects, trying their absolute best not to give anything away.
The two students prepared for the makeup test in their usual ways. One of the students, a more academically gifted student, studied hard and vigorously prepared. The other, a happy-go-lucky type, put some preparation in, but, as usual, not enough.
On the day of the test, the classmates awaited the arrival of the students, like an audience waiting for the curtain to be raised and the show to start. The victims arrived promptly, scattered themselves among the crowded room, and anxiously waited to receive their tests. Their fellow classmates, all of whom had already written the test, appeared to be eagerly at work. The oblivious students should have found a clue in that. Little did the two young test takers know, their classmates were really all holding back giggles, and sneaking quick peeks.
Upon receiving the test, the less studious student struggled. He thought that he had studied as much as usual, but, the test did not make any sense to him. He sweated away, trying his best to complete it, but to no avail.
The other test taker, the studious one, rapidly figured it out and immediately approached the teacher. Saying that he had studied strenuously, he claimed the test did not make any sense at all. Mr. Bakker accepted this. However, the less scholastic student was so absorbed in the test that he hadn’t noticed what had transpired. He continued sweating away at the test, worrying about how his dismal failure would affect his grade, much to the muffled amusement of his classmates and teacher.
If you hadn’t guessed it already, that struggling student was a young Vince Van Dyk. Vince learned a valuable lesson that day, always expect the unexpected with Mr. Bakker and don’t trust your friends not to make fun of you.