Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Posted On Monday June 03, 2019
Keynote speaker and Sinclair Secondary School alumnus Neil Pasricha, author of Book of Awesome, reminisces with current and former Sinclair SS staff, families and classmates at the Sinclair SS 25th Anniversary.

By Marissa Campbell

Durham District School Board (DDSB) reflects on a quarter century of student success as Sinclair Secondary School celebrates its 25th birthday

On Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25, Sinclair SS invited past and present students, families and staff to help celebrate 25 years of excellence. The celebrations included alumni games, an art showcase, nostalgic decade rooms, live music and a BBQ. Friday night also included meetups at various locations throughout Whitby for former staff and classmates to reminisce.

Keynote presenter Neil Pasricha, author of Book of Awesome and proud alumnus, attended Sinclair SS in 1994 when the doors first opened. “Back then when you wanted a high school paper, you just started one,” explains Pasricha. “When you wanted a tennis team, you’d go to Canadian Tire and get some balls. You want to write a play? Great. The entire school was a blank canvas for creativity. There were no pennants on any of the walls. No one had ever won anything in the history of the entire school. Everyone was allowed to try whatever they wanted, even the teachers, and that’s what made this school super unique.”

Student Parliament representative and Grade 9 student De-Mario Knowles welcomed guests to the 1994-1999 Nostalgia Room during the 25th Anniversary celebrations. He particularly enjoyed looking at old photos and yearbooks, especially the ones depicting his current teachers. “I loved seeing photos of the teachers when they were younger. I never expected that my gym teacher had hair.”

More than a building

Sinclair SS was named after John Sinclair, a teacher and local trustee who donated the land for the first Sinclair Public School in 1874. Despite a fire to the one-room, red-brick school house in 1953, the school continued to grow until it closed its doors in 1979. The building was demolished in 1992. But 120 years after the first school opened its doors, in September 1994, Sinclair SS welcomed 800 students from Grades 9 – 11 and 53 teachers and support staff. Today, the school has over 1200 students and 77 teachers and support staff.

Although the construction finished 25 years ago, Pasricha reminded guests in attendance that a school isn’t just a physical place. “You think it’s just a building, a pile of floor tiles, concrete and lockers, but what we learned here, who we met here, what we strived for and who we became … that’s what made it special.”