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Calendar of Events
May 14, 2004
12 Noon Golf Tournament
5-9 PM *Reception, Old Arena Wine and Cheese
7-11 PM *Informal Gathering at Pubs and Eateries
May 15, 2004
9 AM Activities Begin at 89 Church Street, Breakfast, Registration and Sign-in
9 AM Nostalgia Rooms open
10 AM Basketball, Volleyball in Boys Gym
10 AM Staff Brunch
1 PM Opening Ceremonies/ Variety Show
2:30 PM Old School at 55 Albert open for tours
4 PM School Closes
6 PM *Reception at Building #1 Markham Fair Grounds - Cash Bar Opens
6:30 PM *Buffet Dinner(served t'ill 9:30), DJ music
8 PM *Much Music Retro video Dance at Building #2
May 16, 2004
11 AM Ecumenical Ceremony St Andrews Presbyterian
*Evening events are licenced, must be 19+ to attend.
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News Articles

Select from the following article published in local papers.

January 27, 2004 - Golf, dance part of MDHS reunion

May 20, 2004 - Proud weekend for MDHS grad

May 22, 2004 - Great job by reunion organizers

May 25, 2004 - Reunion overflowed with good times


January 27, 2004 – The Markham Economist & Sun

Golf, dance part of MDHS reunion

Frank King

I'm so old.

I'm so old that, during my teenaged years in Markham, there was exactly one high school east of Hwy. 404.

That was Markham District High School, from which I graduated 25 years ago.

I'd like to think that's the reason the school is holding a giant reunion in May. You know, celebrating a quarter century without me there. But it's not.

By sheer coincidence, 2004 is also the 50th anniversary of MDHS's Church Street home.

It was this anniversary that sparked longtime teacher David Harris, who retired in June, to start the ball rolling on a weekend of events May 14 to 16.

He brought an enthusiastic Linda Patterson (an MDHS grad and now a teacher there) on board and since September 2002 they have been planning the reunion.

"It's been a lot of fun," he reports. "I like getting these people together from this school I spent so much time at."

The process has been remarkably smooth, thanks in part to a committee of 10 or so committed volunteers. They came up with most of the ideas for the itinerary, which includes:

A Friday golf tournament at Bushwood on Ninth line (cost: $60 including green fee, cart and prizes);

Open house at the school with sports events and an alumni variety show (free);

A Saturday night dance at Markham Fairgrounds ($25);

A reception for past and present staff members ($15);

A Sunday morning ecumenical service at St.Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Main Street.

Along the organizing way, Mr. Harris and Ms Patterson have had help from grads who are in positions where they can make a difference.

For example, Deputy Mayor Frank Scarpitti - he's almost as old as me because he was one of my student council presidents - is serving as honourary reunion chairperson.

Another grad, John Leadbetter of Goodley's Fine Meats, is doing much of the catering.

And Douglas van Wolde, founder of website developer, created and maintains a spiffy website ( that includes articles on the history of MDHS, an e-mail directory, yearbook photos (yes, grads, prepare to be embarrassed!), a virtual tour of today's school and a heck of a lot more.

Almost every grad I've spoken to knows about the reunion and has wandered through the website. Mr.Harris, who taught science and coached girl’s rugby, confirms plenty of interest. But that's not quite good enough.

"We're anxious to have people register for the weekend," he says. "That means printing out the form on the website and mailing it in (with a cheque or money order, if necessary). We need people to register as far in advance as possible."

What's peculiar about this is MDHS is a whole lot older than 50. It dates back to 1858 to a site now occupied by the Markham lawn Bowling Club.

Even today's MDHS is mostly NOT 50 years old. Only the first hall (where the principal's office is, if I'm not mistaken) was around in 1954.

Current principal Kelly McLeod tells me four or five additions finally made the school what it is today.

This hasn't escaped Mr.Harris's notice; he emphasizes the reunion includes pre-1954 students and there's a section on the website for them (

But what about today's students? Is all this reunion stuff just something for old folks like me?

"The students know it's coming and they play a critical part," Ms McLeod says,” The celebration is for grads, but it's important for today's students to understand why those old pictures are on the walls."

So am I going? You bet, if for no other reason than to compare receding hairlines and expanding stomachs.

Frank King, assistant editor of the Economist & Sun, welcomes comments at .


May 20, 2004 – The Markham Economist & Sun

Proud weekend for MDHS grad

I'm sure I speak for all alumni of Markham District High School when I say how proud I felt to be an MDHS graduate during last weekend's 50th anniversary celebrations. The tradition of excellence clearly lives on in the school's academic, athletic and music programs. I felt like enrolling in high school all over again. (Well, almost.)

Congratulations to all the reunion organizers and volunteers. And go Marauders!



May 22, 2004 - Stouffville Sun-Tribune & Markham Economist & Sun

A Metroland community newspaper 34 Civic Ave., Stouffville, ON L4A 7Z5

PUBLISHER Ian Proudfoot


Great job by reunion organizers

I would like to publicly thank and congratulate the organizers of last weekend's Markham District High School 50th anniversary reunion.

The organization of this mammoth event was superb, making the entire weekend a complete joy for the thousands of former students.

This was particularly evident at the Saturday evening dinner and dance. Even though there were lineups to enter the building and get dinner, they moved quickly and that's a tribute to the organization.

If the organizers did not predict such a large turnout, they were indeed prepared to handle it anyhow.

I will not forget this event. It allowed me to re-establish friendships with people I hadn't seen since the 25th anniversary reunion in 1978. And I am sure I won't lose contact with some of those old friends again, especially now in this computer age.



May 25, 2004 – The Markham Economist & Sun

Reunion overflowed with good times

Frank King

Dave Harris and Linda Sine-Patterson are in recovery mode. But it's a happy recovery mode.

They're the folks who spent 18 months creating and preparing the slam-bang success of the Markham District High School 5Oth anniversary reunion May 14 to 16.

How successful was it? Friday night's meet-and-greet at Markham pubs went over so well, folks were overflowing into the street. Col. Mustard's pub ran out of wine glasses and the Fox & Fiddle came up short on bottled beer. One pub was so packed many people simply wandered up the street to another one and continued socializing.

I stupidly missed these parties 'cause I figured they would be poorly attended. D'oh!

Then there was Saturday's school tour, variety show and dinner-video dance. Regional Councillor Frank Scarpitti, who was once my Markham High student council president, was at his, um, loquacious best as emcee of the variety show.

He actually had the nerve to amble through the audience in the girl's gym warbling Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak tree. Later, at the dance, I told him the performance brought on emotions I hope to never experience again.

The variety show was definitely a mixed bag, ranging from grad Jackie Short's breathtaking operatic performance to the less-than-thrilling sound system hampering the performance of two rock bands.

Saturday's dinner-video dance featured a long lineup just to get into the Markham Fairgrounds building and another lengthy line to get food. But as Ms Patterson (a class of '72 grad and now a Markham High business teacher) notes, "Have you ever seen that many people in a room without a fight or a nasty word?"

Indeed, patience and good humour were the hallmarks, especially considering there were more than 2,000 people attending.

What made that night so enjoyable was the rare chance to get on the dance floor and twirl to tunes we middle-aged folks can actually stand hearing. What passes for danceable music these days is unspeakably wretched, often misogynistic or laced with filthy language.

Other than a Britney Spears video (who on Earth requested that?) , we were treated to Meat Loaf, Mellencamp and AC/DC. Indeed, it went over so well Mr. Harris and Ms Patterson kept things going well past the 11 p.m. finishing time.

The folks who attended all these events weren't just from southern Ontario. Jeannie McKay, who accompanied Ms. Short at the variety show, flew in Saturday morning from Vancouver. Janice Wright came from England and Viki Kennedy Skerman arrived from Australia.

Frank (class of '79) King is an assistant editor with the York Region Newspaper Group. He welcomes comments at .


MDHS History

 Secondary school education officially began in Markham Village 1858...

 What was it like at MDHS in 1954? Answered by Ralph Pyle...

Comments about MDHS in 1954 by Lorne Smith

Life at MDHS in 1958 by Marian Mackworth

 What was life like at Markham High in 1896? History as told by Dr. E. C. Reynolds...


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