History of Langley Secondary High School

1948 - 2004 

On January 15,1945, a report from Provincial High School Inspector J. E. DeLong was read to the new School Board. (There had been no School Board from 1940 to 1945, as it had been dismissed in 1940 and replaced by an Official Trustee). The report said, in part, "...the Municipality should be ashamed of its high school...The school does not have an auditorium or gymnasium. There is no science laboratory...The industrial equipment is very primitive... No provision has been made for cooking...The school grounds are a disgrace, small and partly covered by water in the winter.” 

This report was no exaggeration, and it may have been the spark which led the School Board to present a referendum in May, 1946, for a new high school. Although the referendum for $633,000 passed (half the cost to be shared by the provincial government), it was almost three years before the new school was advanced enough to relieve the old school of even half its students. It took almost two years after the referendum to draw plans and seek approvals. 

The first thing was to secure a site. The School Board tried without success to obtain part of the airport. The government offered the whole field to the Langley Municipality for $1, but the Municipality decided to keep the site for an airport. The Board finally purchased 30 acres, across from the airport, from the McLeod family, even though many thought the drainage would be a problem. The architect was Sharp, Thompson, Berwick & Pratt of Vancouver. 

In January, 1948, a contract to build the first wing of the school was let to R. A. Grimwood Construction of Vancouver. By this time the old school had been on double shift for the 1947-48 school year and would be on shift for the 1948-49 school year as well. The farm mechanics shop was in operation at the start of the 1948 school year, working 4 periods a day under the direction of Mr. W. A. Hanson to prepare the shop. The home economics and industrial education rooms opened in February, 1949. 

Finally, on Friday, March 11,1949, fourteen grade 10,11, and 12 classes moved from the old school to one wing of the new school. Meanwhile, construction continued on the other wings of the building. Work on the gymnasium commenced in May, 1949. The whole school was reunited on Friday, May 27,1949, when 20 classes picked up their books and walked in a long line from the old school to the new one, while the teachers drove over in their cars. 

In 1949 there were 956 students, 42 staff, 23 classrooms, a library, 4 labs, 3 shops, a cafeteria/kitchen, a gym with seating capacity for 1000, a staff room, student council room, projects room, a band room, medical room, and a school office. 

The first class to graduate from the new school was the class of June, 1949, even though they had only been in the school since March. Because the gym was not built yet, the graduates had to go the old Athletic Hall in Langley Prairie for their graduation ceremonies on May 27. 

The official opening of the school was November 18,1949. The first principal was R. R. Brunt, and the first vice principal was Roy E. Mountain. 

The school offered the traditional courses, plus home economics and industrial education courses, as well as art, drama, and music. In 1949, nearly 300 students attended the night school program at LHS. In the 60s, the first automotive class in BC was started in place of farm mechanics. The grade 7 to 12 students came from all over the municipality, mainly on the large fleet of school buses which the School Board owned and operated. 

A fire on April 30, 1951, destroyed the industrial education wing, which had to be replaced. 

Adding Grade 13 (senior matriculation) was contemplated in 1937 and 1938, but because there was not enough room, students had to go to other municipalities to obtain Grade 13. In 1949-50, Grade 13 was added to LHS (17 students are shown in the yearbook). 

As the population grew, the school was enlarged but could not keep up with the numbers. In 1957-8, the school was forced to go on shifts while a new school was constructed in Aldergrove. Langley High was on morning shift and Aldergrove on afternoons. When D. W. Poppy Secondary was built in 1973, Langley was again on morning shift until the Poppy students could move into their new school. 

In 1958 a new high school was opened at Aldergrove, with the eastern half of the municipality as its catchment area. Junior high schools were opened in 1964 at Fort Langley, and in the 70s at H. D. Stafford, Brookswood, and D. W. Poppy. Langley High School became the senior school for most district grade 11 and 12 pupils, except those at Aldergrove High. 

The following additions were built over the years at Langley: in 1959 a band room; in the late 60s most of the windows on the south side of the school were covered to prevent excessive heat from the southern exposure and to prevent water leakage during wind/rain storms; in 1963 a graphics room; in 1969 a library and commerce wing; 1974 saw a music room and three shops; in 1978 automotive and wood shops, and new offices; 1988 brought a new gym, change rooms, foyer, art and drama rooms; and in 1991, a new library replaced the free-standing building to the north of the school. After the old library was replaced, a "Saints' Haven" garden was constructed in the same area. 

In the late 80s the old gym, the site of so many theatre productions and musicals over the years, was changed into a dramnasium. The parking lot was paved and new playing fields were added, in conjunction with the community, when Neil McLeod Park was developed east of the school in the former swamp. New lighting, air conditioning, painting, and heating have modernized the school during the past few years. 

When the junior high schools were transformed into full high schools, Langley High was once again changed to a grade 8 to 12 secondary school. Grade 8 was added in 1983 and grade 9 in 1984. There were some problems associated with expanding the Langley Secondary configuration. Besides the difficulties that some teachers had in dealing with young pupils after so many years of senior classes, the facilities at the school were designed to meet the needs of senior grades, especially the large number of shops, business education areas, and home economics rooms. 

Programs which have been added to Langley Secondary since 1983 include French immersion, computer aided drafting, computer programming, ESL, EMR and TMR classes, work experience, journalism, tourism, advanced placement, an International Students' Program, and additional career preparation programs. Instead of a catchment area including the entire municipality, the students at Langley Secondary come from the nearby feeder elementary schools, namely: Murrayville, Nicomekl, Douglas Park, James Hill, and some from Langley Fundamental. 

Principals since R. Brunt have been Roy Mountain, Fred Turner, Gene McDonald, Graham Leask, Dan Peebles, Dave Michel, and Dave Coutu. 

In 2004, the school population is 764 plus 44 international students. The principal is Dave Coutu, and the two vice principals are Jeff McClellan and Grant Fahlman. The school site is 28.13 acres, with 6 tennis courts, 2 fields, 18 standard classrooms, 6 science rooms, 3 home economics rooms, 5 shops, 2 gyms, a library, a cafeteria and kitchen, 2 computer rooms, 2 art rooms, a band room 2 drama rooms, 3 business rooms, and a store.


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