Kelowna Capital News, Sunday, February 10, 2002
Marshall Jones


The final bell has rung out the old KSS, and in the new.

I never attended school there and I don't cover education. I was simply tagging along with a photographer who was assigned to get a shot of movers cleaning out Kelowna Secondary School.

But a half-hour later, I would be moved by sorrow at the loss of this beat-up, decrepit building and the life it once had.

While I waited I walked through the building and saw trophy cases emptied; the brass plaques and figurines dropped into boxes. Empty locker doors swung open and water dripped from the ceiling.

I visited an old gymnasium, a classic design that cost-cutting school boards would sadly never build again. You could almost hear the rowdy crowds shaking the building as they cheered their teams. Players came surging out from underneath the bleachers willing to sacrifice all they had for their team, buoyed by the pride of their friends and family.

The locker rooms underneath, now dark, once gathered warriors. Here, they planned their strategies and mustered their courage to try harder, try again, pull one out. Leaders found the perfect words to rally their troops in here and for moments insignificant to everyone else, they would return here either as heroes or with confidences shattered.

No more.

A mural is the only sign of what was once home to beautiful music formed by teams of musicians who practiced endlessly in isolation so their sound would make their mates better.

No more.

The industrial arts rooms were home to engineers and builders and skilled craftsmen creating with their own hands. The English and science and social studies rooms introduced entire worlds for exploration and appreciation.

No more.

Generations of memories dripped from the walls and washed over every corner of the building. They weren't my memories, I shouldn't care. But I guess, like that proverb of the rich and powerful giving all for regained youth, I am not immune. Who is?

High school was a special time owing only slightly to the exterior influences of learning and exploring, friends and sports and teachers. High school was special because of what happens inside everyone at 16, 17, 18. The most simple and insignificant happenings are elevated to dire status. Nothing is unimportant and all things happen to you, for you. It was a place for hopes and dreams, idealism and blissful naivete; the last stop on the train to the Real World.

For some, that made high school great. For others it was catastrophic, but who forgets it?
Who really forgets it?

Marshall Jones, Kelowna Capital News, February 10, 2002