Bittersweet Farewell to Minitonas Early Years School

ValleyBiz Story | Minitonas Early Years School (MEYS) held a small farewell ceremony for the school in conjunction with their final family picnic on June 8, 2018. Approximately 75 community members attended the ceremony along with the students to bid farewell to the facility. The MEYS school will be closing and students will be joining the middle years students at the Minitonas Middle Years School (MMYS) this fall.

Pictured above: Attendees with the final year of MEYS students & staff.

Class photos from 1963 to present day were displayed on the wall.

Many people took time to locate themselves, their children and their grandchildren in the pictures.

Mark Simpson, Principal of both schools began by thanking the students and teachers for their patience during this time of transition and change. While the closing of the school is a sad occasion, Simpson likened the event to a celebration of life, for what the school has provided to the community and for the Valley.

“Now that this school is closing, we move over to the other school, but what we don’t really talk about that much is how big a family we will be over at the other school.” Simpson said, setting a positive tone for the students, “It will be great to be all together in one big building, enjoying each other’s company all the time.”

Change is constant and guest speakers shared memories of changes throughout the years; the initial building of the MEYS, renovation and addition, the building of the Minitonas Collegiate, high school students moving to Swan River, grade 9 students moving to the high school and the current changes ahead.

Guest speakers included Ed Hart (former Chair and long time serving board member of the School Board), Henry Barkowski, former teacher and principal, and Dennis Kalinuk, former teacher and Principal who worked in the Minitonas schools for over 40 years.

As each speaker reflected on former teachers, staff, and the special memories, a picture unfolded of the family culture at MEYS. Here are some of their most memorable programs and events: annual Christmas Concerts, Red Cross program, special needs program, school choir, grade 3 campout, grade 3 junk sale and pizza making, annual bicycle rodeo (which ran for 30 years), intramural sports, fiddling program, skipping program, monthly family picnics, the playground and the sliding hill.

“Yes, there is sadness here,” said Kalinuk, “but there are many memories that will stay with us and an exciting new chapter awaits our students and staff – a new beginning is on the horizon.”

Pictured above: Students and staff from both MEYS and MMYS on their combined tabloid day.