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Gal pals in Grade 9 and still friends today – 60 years later

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Tara Jeffrey

When Jerrie Desgroseilliers and her former classmates get together each year, it feels like they’re right back in the halls of Northern Collegiate.

“Oh my heavens, it’s so much fun,” she said with a chuckle. “We don’t act like we’re 74, we act like we’re still in high school, all loud and boisterous.”

The Sarnia woman is a member of the school’s Class of ’58 girls’ club, which is still going strong 60 years later.

Jerrie Desgroseilliers

“We had a close bond, all of us girls,” she said of the group of 24 in the Grade 9 Commercial Class at Northern, just two years after it opened in 1956.

“Our class never changed; our lockers were all in a row,” said Desgroseilliers (nee Smith). “The whole group of us would get up together and go to English, then History and Home Ec.

“And the boys would go to ‘tech-alley’— they had their own section of the school.”

Following the school’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2006, fellow classmate Barb Ellwood decided to get a few of the gals together.

“It started with just four of us, then six the next year; it reached more and more girls and kept snowballing,” said Ellwood. “Someone who knows someone, who knows someone.”

On Aug. 3, they’re expecting about a dozen or more of the group to meet up again at 5 p.m. for a 60th anniversary reunion at Match Eatery.

Many still live in Sarnia while others are travelling from London, Windsor and the Barrie area.

“As my girlfriend said, we knew each other in high school, but now we’re really getting to know each other,” said Ellwood. “It’s something to look forward to, and find out how different people are doing. It’s just nice to catch up.”

Of the 24 original members, Desgroseilliers believes two are deceased.

“We’ve been very, very lucky,” she said. “I think it’s just amazing that girls can still be friends and still get together for 60 years.”


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