Elida Peers | Contributed
One thing that never changes is young folk wanting to hang out together.
Milnes Landing High School opened in 1946, the first school west of Victoria to graduate students, and besides classes, youth found opportunities to congregate together as well.
Though there were only five students in the grad class of 1947, it was a busy postwar period, and it was only to be expected that a development boom would begin. With more significant employment opportunities in the district and more families moving in, classes soon began to expand.
By 1952, as this class shows, groups enjoyed hanging out together. Jerry Fillipo, who gave this photo, was a young fellow with a gregarious nature whose family lived at the Gordon Farmwest of Sooke – this would now be in Otter Point – and had even then a yen for documentation, as demonstrated by this photo.
Next to teacher Mr. Gracie in the back row stands John Elliott, Jim Baker, Les Poirier, and Jerry Fillipo. Bob George, Frank Carosella and Gary Jones. In the centre stands Sidney Morton. Across the front, we see Lorraine McClimon (now Brooks). Barbara Lewis, Kay Welsh, Irene Hansen, Gloria Millikin, Kate Hodges (we think?), Gordie Eve and Ross Hamilton.
Jim Baker, now living at Boston Bar, may be recognized as the nephew of Bill Baker, whose early movie camera recorded the Sooke fishtraps operations for posterity.
Sadly, several losses have taken place. They include Barbara Lewis, sister of Hilly Lewis and Lenore Lewis (Blight) and Kay Welsh, who both passed away before their time, while Bob George, who served as elected chief of the T’Sou-ke Nation in 1979-83, and became a realtor, is now gone as well.
Lorraine McClimon is a sister of David McClimon Sr. and Gordie Eve is a brother to Les Eve and Elinor McClimon. Gary Jones is the third of the locally-famous Jones brothers, Stan and Len. Irene Hansen was the sister of Arnie and Gerhart Hansen, both of whom still make their homes in Sooke.
The school’s name changed to Edward Milne Secondary in the 1960s, and in 1987 changed to Edward Milne Community School. Whether these young folks travelled far afield or continued to make Sooke their headquarters, we know that a little bit of their hearts has always remained here with the friends they grew up with.
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.