The other night, the SRSS turned 50 so I went to check it out.
For readers who don’t live in Southeast Manitoba, I’ll explain: SRSS stands for Steinbach Regional Secondary School. Being regional, the school serves a fairly large area, and it’s apparently the second largest high school in Manitoba. (I thought it was the largest by now but I was corrected at the event.)
I graduated from the SRSS in 1996. Andrew never attended the school as a student but has spent his career teaching English there, and by now I feel like I’ve interacted more with the school in adulthood than I did as a teenager. More about that later.
First, I want to tell you about the SRSS’s 50th birthday party.
It was a come-and-go event, but the program would be at 6:00. Andrew was involved in the planning so between 4 and 6 he was busy setting stuff up for the SRSS open house, which meant I was alone to do what I please. It seemed a great time to check out the most storied walking route to the SRSS. Just to make my visit to my former high school a little more comprehensive, or all-encompassing.
I gave myself enough time to amble slowly and really take in my surroundings.
Once inside the school, I followed the crowd to the new gym for the program, and enjoyed hearing from former SRSS student and current triple-threat Michelle Sawatzky-Koop (she’s exceptionally great at music, volleyball, and being a vivacious radio personality) and legendary former SRSS principal Elbert Toews (he retired the year I graduated; I think Mr. Toews was even principal when my dad was in high school).
The students treated us to a song (Wells Fargo Wagon) from the musical they performed this past December (The Music Man), and gosh that performance was fun! There were also tours offered and treats from the school’s culinary arts program. But a highlight for me was a quiz by Andrew Unger from The Unger Review (formerly the Daily Bonnet) aka my husband aka one of the school’s amazing English teachers. That was very fun and I nearly won but thankfully did not because I don’t think that would’ve looked very good. (I didn’t need to worry about accidentally winning because honestly Sarah Mahi wins at everything.)
Then I figured Andrew might be busy giving tours so I began loitering. Just hanging around, peering down hallways…
Many memories were shared that night. At one point I found myself explaining my own relationship with the SRSS. You see, I only attended the school for one and a half years.
I attended the little private Steinbach Christian High School for all of grade 10 and the first semester of grade 11, at which point I obtained my driver’s license, took the car to school, and when my lunch hour arrived I simply drove myself on over the gigantic public school, marched to the office and asked how I would go about transferring. I was referred to guidance counseller Ed Neufeld who helped me with the necessary paperwork, choosing a major, etc. (Choosing from the long list of possible electives was very fun for me; that school is remarkable!)
And that is how I came to attend the SRSS for only three semesters even though I lived here the whole time.
Kinda weird to think that I ended up married to an SRSS teacher. When I was a kid I obviously had no idea that would happen. But by now I’ve probably spent more time in the SRSS as a teacher’s wife than I did when I was a student.