Oak Bay High’s alumni association has a new president after 16 years. Jan Hemming (class of 1966) is taking over from John Falkins (class of 1979) who has been president of the association since it was founded in 2005.
The association formed around the school’s 75th anniversary where they raised a tidy $75,000 endowment. Interest alone has funded three separate scholarships and two grants. Perhaps the most noticeable contribution from the former graduates is a beautiful Steinway classic grand piano that the alumni raised more than $100,000 for and contributed another $30,000.
“Some of the best years of my life were at high school. The friendships I created and the environment that was Oak Bay High allowed me to have a solid footing for the rest of my life,” Falkins said.
Over their 16 years, the association has invested more than $70,000 into the high school with such recognizable alumni as Oak Bay’s current mayor Kevin Murdoch (class of 1988) and the former MLA and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver (class of 1979). Oak Bay High also has an impressive list of athletes who went on to earn national and world titles in their sports, including recent graduate Lachlan Kratz who just joined the pro ranks in rugby.
The association has a membership of 1,700 former students, and they deliberately include current students in projects — such as their website that was designed by a student who went on to study computer science.
As Hemming takes over, she will be leading a fundraising group to resurface the athletic track in partnership with the Oak Bay Rotary Club, the District of Oak Bay and School District 61. She’s also looking forward to developing an archival room at the school to display memorabilia from the nearly 100 years of history.
She’s impressed by the passion and diverse interests Oak Bay’s current students have, and is committed to helping them reach their life goals through the scholarships and meeting other needs in the school.