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Alumni Database

Alumni  Decades of Video



Westminster's first principal was Mr. Bert Beattie. In February 1962 while he was principal of London Junior High in the old Normal School on Elmwood Ave. at Wortley Road, Mr Beattie began hiring staff and organizing Westminster in preparation for it's opening.

The department heads were mature and caring (many having come from days with Mr.Beattie at South Secondary School) but many of the new staff were young and single. In fact, there were seven marriages of staff couples in the first several years. From the very start of this wonderful school, now celebrating 50 years of proud history, there was a great team feeling.

The close knit, enthusiastic group of students who attended London Junior High (because a high school was not yet built for them), became the senior students and leaders in Grade 11 at the new school. While at Junior High, the students fondly remember the third floor "attic" as their gym and the second floor staircase landings as their dressing rooms.

The new Westminster Secondary School building on Base Line Road was still incomplete in September of 1962, so the students (including a large number of Lucas area students) attended Wheable Secondary School while they waited for their new schools to be completed. The staff _ students of Wheable attended classes in the morning and the Westminster staff _ students attended afternoon shifts, ending at 5:45 pm each day. These original students recall not starting classes until noon hour and then boarding the buses in the dark and arriving at their country homes in the pitch black of a winter's night.

Westminster was opened officially in February of 1963. (The Lucas students left and moved into their new school in September of 1963). The building was impressive but many features weren't quite finished. Some of those wearing contact lenses wore only one at a time so the other eye could heal from the concrete and plaster dust constantly in the air. A few mice occupied the bottoms of lockers using the drain holes in each locker to enjoy meals from the lunch bags stored there.

The Westminster student body was now comprised of students who lived nearby in the Westminster school neighbourhood, as well as students bussed from the areas of Byron, Lambeth, Belmont, Delaware, Glendale, Glanworth, Muncey and Kilworth. There were around 1200 of them. The energy of this new student body was amazing and the mainly 15 and 16 year olds stepped up to lead the activities and set high academic standards for the balance of their years there.

When Westminster finally opened, there were about 40 grade 9 and 10 classes along with a few Grade 11 students. These Grade 11 students had started their high school days in Grade 9 at Junior High ...... moved on to Grade 10 at Junior High and then finally became the senior class of Grade 11's at Westminster (there were no 12's or 13's when the school opened). These Grade 11's had a very unique high school experience ........ they were always in a senior class ....... from Grade 9 right through to Grade 13.

In June of 1965, these students became the very first Grade 13 Westminster graduates.

And this was the beginning of Wildcat Pride!

Westminster today...

Westminster's current principal is Sheila Powell. She has maintained the great team feeling that was established in 1962 by her predecessor, Mr. Beattie. The staff continues to be a caring group of individuals and now includes five teachers who were former students! Obviously there is something special about a school that compels graduates to return as educators of the next generation.

The student body is still comprised of students who live nearby in the Westminster school neighbourhood, as well as students who are bussed to the school. However, rather than traveling from the villages outside the city of London, the students who are bussed come from the subdivision of White Oaks. Another big change is that thirty-one percent of current students originally called countries other than Canada home.

In 1991, the English as a Second Language Department was established at Westminster. As a result of this new department, students come from fifty different countries and speak twenty-one different languages. This unique student body reflects the changing face of our nation, and provides rich learning experiences for today's Wildcats.

When alumni return for the reunion, they will recognize their old haunts, because the building itself has not changed a great deal. Fortunately, there is one difference: there is no more chalk dust to bother students' eyesight. And that's a good thing, because they need those eyes to focus on the computer screens, data projectors, document cameras, clickers, and other types of technology that have become common in the classrooms.

There are now students from Grade 9 to 12. They continue to uphold high academic standards and excel in extra-curricular pursuits. They also embrace the diversity of their racial, cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Although it is celebrating fifty years of history, Westminster is, in many ways, the secondary school of the future.

In June of 2015, today's Grade 9 students will be the 50th class to graduate from the school. They will no doubt continue the tradition of Wildcat Pride that began in 1962.