Activities

Perusing yearbooks spanning 85 years, it would be hard to imagine a co-­‐curricular activity that has not been offered at Central at one time or another. Dedicated Yearbook and Newspaper staffs produced excellent publications. The early yearbook was entitled “Rarebits” whereas the longstanding name for the volume chronicling each school year is the “Via Trita”.

Some clubs supported a wide variety of areas of the curriculum. There is evidence of Art, Computer, French, Geography, German, Math, Science, and Sociology clubs and a Literary Society being active at various times. The recent popularity and success of the FIRST Robotics Team has attracted students with interests in Math, Science and Technology. Volunteer members of the Library Club have supported the staff librarians. Academic competitions such as Reach for the Top, School Reach, Debating, Think Bowl and Battle of the Books have flourished while clubs catering to a wide variety of interest have attracted chess, Monopoly, camera, film, radio and anime enthusiasts. Groups such at the Foster Parent Society of the 1950s engaged in charitable efforts and an Inter-­‐Faith Christian Fellowship has been active at various times. Organizations like the Multicultural Council, the Environmental and Eco clubs, Gay-­‐Straight Alliance and Model UN have addressed social and global issues.

Certain activities merit a more detailed mention. Burlington High School’s Cadet Corps was founded in 1929 and was active for thirty years. A major event of the school year was the Cadet inspection held in the spring. Preparations for the 1955 inspection were described in this way. Boys and girls participated in equal part. Platoons were created and drilled separately. Students were selected as Officers and NCOs. As they became more efficient, the teachers allowed them to take charge. Finally the various units were brought together and the last week before the event was devoted to dress rehearsals for the inspection and the March Past. On the day of the inspection, 700 students spread out the full length of the football field made an impressive sight. The school band played in the March Past and many parents attended this event.

Over the years, students have been involved in a variety of musical endeavors at Central. Burlington High School choirs and individuals singers were recognized at the Halton Music Festival in the 1930s and 1940s. Yearbooks from the 1960s and 1970s when the school was at its peak enrolment show large 40+-­‐member concert bands and smaller dance bands. These bands played at many assemblies, supported school functions and travelled outside the school to perform concerts and participate in music festivals. Even when the school became smaller in enrolment, both secondary and Grade 7 & 8 bands, choirs and vocal groups continued to entertain.

Central has a long history of drama and theatrical activities that have benefitted from the school having an auditorium throughout most of its existence. The first play produced at Burlington High School was “The Merchant of Venice” in 1925. The fifties were the era of Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas. Under the able direction of Mr. Vince Patrick, the Operatic Society produced at total of seven operettas. Plays presented in the 1960s included “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.” During that era, one-­‐act play festivals were also held organized by homeroom and later by house. In 1966, class 12A was noted for its precedent-­‐setting presentation of a French play. That year also saw Central enter a one-­‐act play in the Simpson-­‐Sears Drama Festival in Hamilton for the first time. Central Company, which debuted in 1972, cemented Burlington Central’s outstanding reputation for dramatic and musical theater productions. Led by Helen Zdriluk, Central Company treated the school and community to a yearly Broadway style musical. Most years a play was also entered in the Sears Drama festival. At the time of Central’s 75th Anniversary in 1997, Central Company celebrated its 25th year with a show entitled “Something Familiar” presented several times over the Anniversary Reunion weekend. This show reunited Central Company alumni from the preceding quarter century. All the Central Company productions were supported by excellent technical crews and the Technical Theatre classes that later grew out of interest in this side of the theatre. When Burlington Central became a 7-­‐Graduation school, the interest in musicals led to an outstanding Grade 7 & 8 production of “Oliver” directed by Karen Page in 2003.

In the fall late fall and winter of the 1960-­‐61 school year, students had been rehearsing with Mr. Patrick and Mr. Vogt for a variety-­‐type program. At the same time the Physical Education teachers had been preparing students for a gymnastics display. It was decided to have a combined presentation night with both shows going on simultaneously and then being repeated to allow each audience to see both presentations. This configuration, known as “Family Night”, became an annual event for many years. It involved so many students in different capacities and proved to be very popular.