The Milne’s Landing High School tumbling team.

SOOKE HISTORY: Tumbling teens at MLHS

These lithe, agile young fellows would be hard put to make the same pose today, I’m sure.

By Elida Peers

Sixty years does make a difference.

These lithe, agile young fellows would be hard put to make the same pose today, I’m sure.  The year was 1956, and the young guys made up the tumbling team at Milne’s Landing High School.

Perhaps it’s because of changing times, but there may have been more emphasis on individual skills in those years, as opposed to competitive team sports. Anyway, these young guys had fun in the gym of the old Milne’s Landing High school.

Though the classes were still housed in army huts, a gymnasium had been built, probably the first for Sooke, and tumbling mats were regularly hauled out for after school activities.

Two of the fellows in the photo, both called Ron, are stalwarts in our community today.  Perched at top right, Ron (Fuzzy) Fedosenko is grinning at his partner. He has retained his grin and his lankiness today, though probably not the agility.  He served in the Armed Forces before going into business in Sooke, first in electronics and then in real estate and development. The Legion and coaching of championship softball teams, have also kept him in the thick of the community.

The shoulders that Fuzzy is perched upon belong to another Ron, this time Ron Dumont. A bit stockier in build, Ron Dumont formed the underpinning here, and in fact, throughout his lifetime in our region, he is one of those that has provided the underpinning of our town.

He served as regional director for the Sooke Electoral Area of the Capital Regional District in 1974-75 and later served three terms as an elected councillor of the District of Sooke.

Top left is John Baskerville, who grew up on Kirby Road. His dad was a cook at the fishtraps, Sooke Harbour Fishing and Packing Company.  Far left is Michael Atterbury, and standing on his hands next is Norman Essery, who also grew up on Kirby Road, and whose dad drove an Island Freight truck.  Standing facing Ron Dumont, centre, is Delbert Cyr, whose parents ran an early motel on Kaltasin Road, calling it Anglesea Auto Court.

Teacher Norman Rogers, coach of the group, is also standing on his hands, and supporting Fuzzy’s back.  Student Jim Willis, who lived in Otter Point, is the last figure in the formation.

Ron Dumont recalls that on his class graduation night in 1960, his contribution to the ceremony included a challenging onstage tumbling feat.

Edward Milne Community School would be pretty surprised to see Ron repeat his performance today – I wonder if he could!

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Elida Peersi s the historian of Sooke Region Museu m.