• James Armstrong

Hudson High and Westwood Senior celebrating 100 years


PHOTO COURTESY TANIA ELLERBECK

Members of Hudson High School’s Centennial Celebration Planning Committee have plenty of fun and surprises in store for returning alumni. Seen here are some committee members (left to right, standing): Arianne Thifault, Steve Dubinsky, Chloe Thifault, Nancy Simpson, and Larry Grey and (left to right, seated): Tania Ellerbeck, Tammy Brule and Pam Pinchuk.

Plans for the event marking the Centennial Anniversary of Hudson High School, now known as Westwood High School Senior Campus (HHS/WSS), are well underway according to co-chair of the planning committee Tania Ellerbeck.

It promises to be a weekend packed with activities starting on Friday, October 4 with a ‘Taste of Hudson’ cocktail party at the school featuring the specialties of six local restaurants; The Main Kitchen, Cunninghams, Que de Bonnes Choses, Le Cozy Café, LeBaron Bites and Carambola. “It’s not only about the school. It’s a town-wide event,” said Ellerbeck who is co-chairing the planning committee with Arianne Thifault.

Although the celebrations focus on the high school, Hudson community organizations and businesses are also involved.

“Le Nichoir Wild Bird Conservation Centre is offering guided bird watching tours,” said Ellerbeck. In addition Le Verger, Hudson’s organic apple orchard, will be available for apple picking.

Tickets required

Ticket sales are going well and are limited in number.

“We had 1400 people for the 1988 reunion,” said Ellerbeck noting that was capacity for the school based on the fire code. Tickets are required for entrance to all events throughout the weekend at the school and off-site locations. A shuttlebus will be available to transport alumni from the car park near the centre of town located on Wharf Road.

Illustrious alumni

There are many notable alumni who have graduated from Hudson High and Westwood High School Senior Campus over the years. Among them are the late New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton and Senator Larry Smith who also played in the Canadian Football League as a running back with the Montreal Alouettes. E! Canada and Etalk reporter Chloe Wilde is also an alumnus. Some of the musicians involved in providing music for the celebrations are graduates of the school. Perhaps the oldest living alumnus, Juanita Jackson Snelgrove will be attending the festivities. Currently a resident of Ottawa, Snelgrove is 103 years young. “She started at HHS in 1922 in Grade 1,” said Ellerbeck. “That was when they had primary grades, as well.”

Original building still standing

“The original building is still there,” said Ellerbeck. “It’s part of the central core with several additions over the years. In honour of the 100th year, they are currently renovating the school.” The change of name from Hudson High School to Westwood High School Senior Campus happened in 1998 when the Westwood High School Junior Campus was built in the neighboring Town of Saint-Lazare.

Gala event

Saturday evening promises a truly memorable gala in the New Gym featuring musician Jeff Smallwood at 7:30 p.m. and the Black Cadillacs at 9:45 p.m. Meanwhile, the same evening, Oliver Forest followed by Chadwicks will be performing in the Old Gym.

“There will be five different food trucks on site with a variety of treats,” said Ellerbeck adding with a laugh, “There will be lots of surprises throughout the evening. You will have to be there to find out what they are.” There will also be a display of artwork by past graduates from the school.

Band concert

Preceding the Gala, on Saturday afternoon, from 12:30 to 2:30, alumni musicians who were band members during their years at the school will have the opportunity to play in a band directed by Steve Dubinsky, the school’s internationally acclaimed Music Director. The unveiling of a plaque commemorating the school’s centennial will take place following the band concert. John Torunian, who began teaching at HHS/WWHS in the mid-1970s, will be the Master of Ceremonies.

“He was a super popular teacher with the students, well loved. He taught Grade 10 History when I as there,” Ellerbeck recalled.

Magic and picnic

The festivities conclude on Sunday afternoon with two events: Hudson Village Theatre will be hosting alumni Lawrence Larouche and Bea Martin with their Majinx magic show and the Town of Hudson will be hosting a Picnic Party at Jack Layton Park with fun and games for the whole family.

For detailed information and tickets, visit www.hudsoncentennialreunion.com .

“We will also have a tickets available at the Hudson Street Fair, August 3 and 4, at a table in front of the Royal LePage building,” said Ellerbeck.

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