GLACE BAY HIGH SCHOOL - A BRIEF HISTORY by Mr. Gus MacMullin

      Situated on a 15 acre site off Reserve Street, the current Glace Bay High School opened in the fall of 1989. It replaced St. Michael Senior High and Morrison Glace Bay High, both of which became junior high schools. Ironically Morrison and St. Michael's predecessor, St. Anne's High School, which had operated since the 1940's replaced the original Glace Bay High School,it having served from 1914 at the corner of May and MacLean Streets.

      A totally modern facility for the time, GBHS boasted a complete range of course offerings including Honors, Academic and Adjusted Programs, Business Education Certification, and an independent Special Education Program. In addition to a double sized gymnasium it enjoyed two Industrial Arts and two Home Economics Labs as well as three Science and two demonstration labs. The Library was staffed with a full time teacher-librarian; the two hundred seat cafeteria featured a totally independent kitchen capable of providing a hot meal program and the Art and Music departments were second to none.

      The original staff of 61 included a Principal, two Vice-Principals and two non-teaching counselors, a new administrative pattern for the Town. While one half of the staff came from the existing high schools, the remainder were recruited from 16 schools across the district, making it a truly eclectic group. In its first year the school had a student population of just under 900 and the first class of graduates numbered 250.

      From the outset, the staff embarked on a program of imaginative programming both curricularly and co-curricularly. The Circle of Friends provided a support group for students with difficulty in forming social relationships; Big Kids Little Kids brought Primary pupils to the high school for instruction by Home Economics and Physical Education students; Tales For Tots saw Grade Ten English students writing stories for primary students to read and critique.

      Arguably the best cooperative project ever undertaken in a Nova Scotia high school was the Caps For Kids Project. Funded by a Professional Assistance Development Fund grant from the Nova Scotia teachers Union, the projects aim was to provide caps for childhood cancer patients at the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax. In reaching the goal, the entire school was involved. The Home Economics Department made the caps; the Biology Department taught classes aimed at cancer awareness; the Art Department designed a chest to hold the caps and the Industrial Arts classes built it. Finally, the Physical Education students planned and executed a relay run to deliver the caps to the IWK, 450 kilometres away, much to the amazement of hospital staff.

      One of the most significant, and meaningful, events in the school history occurred in 1994 when Donkin-Morien and Reserve District High School were closed and their students absorbed into the GBHS population. These students were a welcome addition, their parents having attended Glace Bay High Schools a generation earlier. Facilities were pressured as population soared to 1258, staff grew to 72 and the graduating class peaked at 352. For the first time a staggered lunch hour was introduced. Steadily declining enrollments since then have seen the student body reduced to levels comparable to those at the school's opening.

      In the intervening years Glace Bay High has developed a reputation as a leader in Nova Scotia schools. Consistently, graduating students have won significant scholarships, both from maritime universities as well as the Ivy League schools of the United States. Year after year, athletic teams have won regional titles and gone on to provincial competition. The co-curricular program, so essential to the early years, has continued in the belief that the lessons of the classroom, while integral, are not the only lessons of the high school experience.

      In the early 1900's "the High School" occupied a room on the third floor of Central School. The current facility is a far cry from those humble beginnings but retains a belief in offering the absolute best to the students of Glace Bay and area. Over three thousand graduates are proud : to call Glace Bay High School their alma mater; to look to the future with confidence; never to forget their roots.