It was out with the ancient—as Alan Clegg says—and in with the new at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School Dec. 7.
Clegg, the second president of the Lord Tweedsmuir Alumni Association, was passing the gavel of leadership to Rachel McCallum after more than two decades at the helm. (Jack Brown, a former tweedy teacher, was the first president.)
“I’ve been in that chair for more than 20 years,” says Clegg, who graduated from LTSS in 1960. “The timing was right to get someone newer and younger in there. There is so much done on Facebook now and on all that other stuff, that it was just time for a fresh face in there.”
He leaves with great memories and a huge smile. He says he’s proud of how the association has grown after their nascence in the early ’90s.
“We’ve given out more than $117,000 in scholarships over the years.” That money goes to Tweedy grads who enter post-secondary education.
Clegg, now 78, helped start the LTAA in 1992. The Alumni Association was born after Clegg and some others heard their school building was going to be knocked down.
“The old Lord Tweedsmuir was next door to where the school is now,” says Clegg. “The school board decided the school was unsafe, as it wouldn’t do well in an earthquake, so they decided to tear it down and build a new one.”
Clegg said when word got out the old school—the third iteration of Lord Tweedsmuir (the first was a small building in downtown Cloverdale, the second still exists, down on Hwy 10 and now houses Cloverdale Traditional School)—was going to be demolished, Clegg and some others had the idea to hold a reunion.
“That way all the old grads could come back and see the school one last time. We had a big reunion in the summer of 1993. A last walk through the school. Thousands of people were here for it. Thousands.”
Clegg says they had another reunion in 2000 and another one in 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the school.
For that 100th anniversary reunion, Clegg invited Deborah Buchan, Lady Stewartby. She is the granddaughter of the school’s namesake, John Buchan, Canada’s 15th GG and Lord Tweedsmuir. (See story link below.)
“You have to remember something about Lord Tweedsmuir. Back in the day, it was the only high school in Surrey. Kids would come from all over. They’d ride horses to school, ride bikes, take the old interurban rail line. It was quite something.”
Clegg said he’s happy with the work he’s done, but also happy to be stepping down.
“I care about the cause. I care about the tradition. And I care that it carries on,” says Clegg. “The Alumni Association will be in great hands with Rachel.”
McCallum hopes to connect with more alumni during her tenure as president. She said COVID is actually going to tighten the timeline on rolling out other measures, like an increased presence on social media and reaching out online to grads.
“After conversations with some of our members, there is a real sense that by connecting virtually during this particularly difficult time, we may be helping some individuals who are feeling isolated and lonely,” McCallum says. “While I realize high school wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine for some, for many it has good memories.”
McCallum graduated from Lord Tweedsmuir in 1986 (Rachel Gardiner) and decided, along with her best buddy Jamie Brown, to join the LTAA after Clegg persuaded them to get involved a few years ago.
McCallum now plans to engage more alumni online.
“We currently have a Facebook account,” she says, and “the Alumni (Association) is going to make efforts to become more social media accessible.”
More info on the LTAA can be found by visiting their Facebook page: Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary Alumni.