BROOKSWOOD SECONDARY SCHOOL

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Brookswood Junior Secondary School, named after the area in which it is located at 20902-37A Avenue, found its origins in something akin to chaos. The school itself began seven months before the building was completed, with students taking the afternoon shift from 12:30 pm until 5:30 pm at H. D. Stafford Junior Secondary. There were no extracurricular activities to speak of because no facilities were available.

 In the spring of 1973, Brookswood was at last open to receive its first school population of approximately 400 students and 22 staff under the principalship of Don Neumann. Many weekends, staff members helped lay carpet, set up shelving, and move furniture, etc., in order to get the school ready for occupancy. The school was given one day and one moving van to make the switch from H. D. Stafford. Dale Halcrow, who would later become principal, thinks the high level of school spirit at Brookswood started from the trying conditions of attending school on shifts and from the eager occupation of the school building on April 1,1973. 

The modular design of pre-cast concrete was the same as that of D. W. Poppy and R. E. Mountain, with an "L" shape consisting of two main hallways that met at the main foyer and gymnasium. There was a small staff room and a small library with 1500 books, a T.V., and 4 overhead projectors. The rest of the school was constructed in phases during subsequent years. The present student parking lot was initially a large forested hill that was removed and held back with retaining walls. 

In 1973 Brookswood Junior Secondary was a small school in a rural setting with grades 8,9, and 10 attending. The older students of the catchment area attended Langley Secondary for grades 11 and 12. One year the school covered grades 7 to 10, and later grades 8 and 9 only. The staff was young and enthusiastic, and because of the small student population, the administrators knew the names of every student in the school. The small size seemed to lend itself to student participation in many extracurricular events, including pillow fights between teachers. Intramural activities between the Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow teams were run by Eric Sandstrom for many years. The students and staff enjoyed pranks and jokes by such teachers as Jack Turpin, Maurice Tremblay, Diane Smillie, Gary Enns, and Harold Krische. Christmas assemblies were also a wonderful tradition, as were Christmas dinners for the staff. 

As the population of the school grew, it was decided that Brookswood would evolve into a Junior/Senior Secondary School. Every year after 1983 teachers had to create and prep new courses as the senior class of the school moved into grade 10, then 11, and then finally grade 12. The first grade 12 graduation occurred at Brookswood in 1986. 

Don Neumann, the first principal of Brookswood, is credited by veteran staff members with establishing its philosophical foundation and tone. He hired the first staff and believed strongly in mutual support between the community and the school. 

Under Principal Dale Halcrow (1979-1987), who succeeded Don Neumann and was principal for 8 years, there were two periods of intensive upgrading. Dale Halcrow was known as Brookswood's great innovator and builder who used all the angles to get Brookswood what was needed. In 1978 the courtyard was boxed in by the addition of the two remaining wings. From 1983-1985 the library, theatre, music, and industrial education areas were also added. Everyone lived with the noise, dust and disruptions for years. Blueprints were put up in the staff room and everyone was encouraged to be aware of what was going on and to provide input. The head secretary, Mrs. Margaret Mountain, is remembered for observing that the bricklayers were bricking over the outside doorway to the staff room, and she was able to stop further work because of her knowledge of these plans. Staff was involved in the design of the areas in which they worked. The unusual layout of the desks in the science labs, the sliding glass doors in the counselling area, the split level layout and high ceilings in the library were all recommendations of the teachers involved. A new wing running adjacent to the student parking lot and a small gym were added. The large forested area became the present rugby/soccer field. Tennis courts were added and moved several times. In 1995 the west wing addition was built and numerous cosmetic changes made to the entrance. 

By 2002 Brookswood had 28 standard classrooms, 7 science rooms, 3 home economics rooms, 5 shops, a regular and a small gym, and a library. Other specialized rooms include a theatre, an electrical/ drafting room, 2 resource rooms, a TMH classroom, a counselling centre, a film studio, 2 art rooms, 2 business education rooms, 3 computer rooms, a band room, cafeteria, drama room, staff room, and an office. On the 17.46 acre site there are both student and a teacher parking lots, 6 tennis courts, an irrigated grass field, a small grass field, an all-weather field with lights, a jogging trail, and a 100 m straight-a-way. The water supply comes through a 3-inch copper main which runs through a 3-inch Neptune meter. The school has a septic system with 50,000 gallon capacity and 4 pump stations. 

Principal Gene Macdonald (1987-1995) developed the international students' program with Mr. Whitley, promoted the purchase of a school bus, and encouraged the building of the TV and video production program with Dawne Tomlinson. 

Other principals since Macdonald have been Cam Gesy (1995-1998), Peter Beckett (1998-2000), and Don McBeath (2000-present). Vice principals have included Dale Halcrow, Al Maclean, Tom Turner, Peter Harrower, Kiyo Hamade, Dave Michel, Paul Howes, Harold Krische, Bob Goertz, Diane Smillie, Gordon Stewart, Paul Carriere, Diane Calderwood, Mary Krische, Don McBeath, Grant Fahlman, and Jeff McClellan. 

Brookswood sports teams have been very successful over the years, especially in basketball where they have achieved high ranking in the province. The cross country teams and the rugby teams have had outstanding results. 

There were many teachers over the years who laid the foundation for programs that are still very successful today. Mr. Di Filuk spent many years building up the library media centre. Bev Saumier and Keith Watson worked for years to create a successful Special Education Program. Mr. Bruce Barnes started the LAC program which was continued by Marjorie Glass. Gary Enns was considered the mathematical and technological wizard even before computers became popular. Drama and TV/film productions have won many awards for excellence. Other successful programs developed over the years include French Immersion, computer programs, a large industrial education department (electronics, auto, and woodwork), and a strong academic program.  

Brookswood has also developed a Leadership Program run in after-school hours where 40 students are involved in student council and liaison with elementary students to ease their entry into high school. The students meet once a week to work on this volunteer program. 

In 2004 Brookswood is a successful comprehensive school with 1,174 students plus 45 International fee students. Don McBeath is the principal, and Mark Rempel and Bob Panasiuk are the vice principals. 

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