Community members gathered at Annie L. Gaetz last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school as well as the modernization of the facility that has taken place.
Students, present and former staff and various members of the community were present to celebrate the occasion. Principal Kevin Robertson, new to the Annie L. Gaetz staff this year, was excited to be a part of the event.
“It’s been electric – the energy that I see and the smile on the faces that I’m seeing. We had some people from the community who have been around the school for 30 years and they are just in awe of the beauty of the school – the openness, the brightness and the warmth of it. It just feels so neat to be part of something so special, and so new,” Robertson said.
“We have an absolutely beautiful building here that supports learning. Being part of this community and this family of Annie L. Gaetz has been so good. The parents have really been supportive, our staff have been amazing and there is excitement and energy about being here, being back home in our school.
“It’s been such an amazing journey for us.”
Robertson explained the school had undergone major renovations that essentially rebuilt the school from the ground up. He said walls and classrooms have been moved, the library was relocated and the school is brighter and more open than before.
He said a tremendous amount of work had gone into the building, and that the Annie L. Gaetz staff and students appreciated all of the help that brought them a brand new school.
“The first three weeks have just been a whirlwind. We put in so much work just to get ready for the school year, we had a lot to get done and a lot of people pitched into it. We were so excited to have this many people show up to our celebration – we weren’t expecting it at all,” Robertson said.
“It’s been just great to see the turnout and the positive energy and thrill about being here. We’re really looking forward to a fantastic year.”
All indoor renovations are complete with a little work remaining on the outside of the facility. An outdoor classroom was designed within a courtyard and this part of the school is still under construction. Robertson said aside from that and some landscaping, the school is completely finished after a lengthy renovation process.
The school celebrated 50 years of being in the community by hosting previous staff members, community members and members of the Red Deer Public School Board in the new gymnasium. Students put together songs and presentations, and then offered the community tours around the new facility.
“With all of the people that came back to us today, everyone feels like they are a part of this and it’s great. Even though they’ve moved onto retirement or other positions, everyone feels that this is a big part of what they are and who they are. To see so many faces and to talk to them this morning makes us all so proud,” Robertson said.