Alumni & Friends
Founded in 1905, RJC is celebrating 115 years!
Reflecting on the past 115 years of transformative education at RJC, the staff & board have come together to plan for the future. The RJC 115 Turnaround Strategy for Renewal & Growth is a plan that outlines strategies to grow student enrolment and increase fundraising.
Part of the legacy
RJC 115 Stories
The below reflections are stories of 115 words or less shared by RJC alumni to mark the milestone of 115 years of education, and to celebrate the legacy of the school.
“For my Grade 11, I was at the “Roost”, a dorm north of town on a farm. We walked at least 1/2 a mile for meals in the girls’ dorm. For showers we had to carry and heat the water. There was some horseplay but we studied on study nights. Henry Friesen was our supervisor who showed up at “lights out” and slept there, too. There were 15 of us from 1943-44.
For Grade 12, I roomed upstairs with Abe Unrau, Art Penner, and Dick Epp in what was then the red brick school house (now the Mennonite Mesuem). We were four to a room and all ate in the girls dorm. There was no plumbing. We carried wter from the girls dorm.”
Jake Born (RJC ’45)
“Of special significance for me was the surprise to be chosen as a member of the debating team. Both pros and cons of each controversial topic were thoroughly examined. First we had to present our points for the positive side and at halftime we switched to argue for the congrary (negative) side. It forced us to look intently at both sides of each topic. This taught me to carefully look at both sides of any issue in life; especially when our children’s ideas ar every different from our own.”
Hilda Klassen Born (RJC ’48)
“I suspect that most people will have long forgotten that at one time the plan was that RJC would teach university classes. In 1948 the Board had arranged with the University of Saskatchewan that university classes would be taught at RJC by RJC teachers. Successful students would be given credit by the U of S. Final exams would be set by, and marked by, the university. That first year there were only two students. I was one of them.
After Christmas my classmate dropped several of his classes. That meant that I was the only one to write all the final exams. The next year when I enrolled at the U of S I was given credit for a full year of university. The following year there were no applicants for the program and it was dropped. That means I am the only RJC alumnus to take a whole year of university classes at RJC – and I don’t see anyone joining me in this exclusive club anytime soon.”
Ralph Dahl (RJC ’48)
“RJC for me was an epiphany. Growing up in small town Mennoville left me with a mindset thta a son of Russian immigrants should have limited career aspirations. However the stories of past RJC grads, even in 1950, illustrated that a RJC grad could do anything he/she set their minds to [. . .] our generation became a significant force in broadening the Mennonite view of who we are as people, and how, by becoming part of the mainstream, our effectiveness in mission and service might be enhanced.”
Henry Dick (RJC ’50)
“After my two years at RJC and a year of work, in 1952 I left to enroll at Bethel College, a 4-year Mennonite college in North Newton, Kansas. After looking at my transcript from RJC, the Registrar announced that I would be given full credit for a whole year of college – I would only have to do three years. Wow! What a gift RJC had given me!
The span of three years would seem to be inconsequential in a span of over eighty years, but the support, guidance, and instruction I received at RJC are far from inconsequential.”
Joyce Loewen Franz (RJC ’51)
“I only attended for my last year of high school, Grade 12. I am thankful for that year, though. I feel blessed that I obtained the best education possible with the excellent teachers to learn from.“
Margaret Starchuck (RJC ’57)
“RJC was a special place for me, even though I wasn’t fully awware of it at the time. It changed so much for me, my world-view, how I live my life, express my faith and who my friends are. I always enjoy reading the RJC CONNECT, keep up the good work.”
Dave Toews (RJC ’64)
“I vivdly remember singing on the stage when we flew out east to perform the songs we won Nationals with that year. And I remember singing the newly revised national anthem to start the evening off. I recalled how it felt like blessing and a privilege to sing the newly added phrase ‘God keep our land, glorious and free!’ Felt fitting that a school who had the freedom to pray, study religious history, and have Christian education classes would sing this new version of our anthem to open the evening.“
Sandra Kowalski (RJC ’80)
“My first year in [RJC] Chorale was stellar. That year has been the measuring stick of most musical experiences since and we set the bar pretty high. It wasn’t just winning the Nationals, we were the first Canadian Assocation of Mennonite Schools (CAMS) Festival, singing in a 425-voice choir in Winnipeg’s concert hall.
[. . .] I took all of this for granted, but now realize what a treat and an honour it was to be part of a performing group that gelled so quickly and performed so beautifully. The tours to all the churches, the bus ride to Toronto, our bus being vandalized in Winnipeg and camping out in that church for two or three days. It was a very interesting year – one of accomplishment.“
Allen Klaassen (RJC ’81)
“I knew about RJC from the community that I grew up in for lots of the families had someone attend this school. This school brought out the good talents in lots of us who kept them a hidden secret. It taught me that I am a strong person and I can get through difficult times by holding my head up high.
I enjoyed our choir tour to BC [. . .] it was a strong bonding moment. The ski trip to Whitefish Montana where I was able to help others learn to ski and have a good time.”