Cal Groening

Cal Groening

Mission’s class of 1956 ready to celebrate 60 year reunion

More than 50 Mission Secondary grads coming to share fond memories.

It’s been six decades since Cal Groening graduated from Mission Secondary, but he still remembers those days fondly.

The Mission man is helping to organize a 60th class reunion this weekend for the class of 1956. Former classmates will converge on Mission for a dinner at Martin’s Downtown on April 30 from 4 to 8 p.m.

“I should mention that Rex Cox menswear is going to dress up a mannequin with the same bright sports coat and dark pants with a pink carnation, that’s what the guys from school wear,” said Groening.

He is expecting 50 people to come out to the event on Saturday.

“We held our 50th class reunion in Abbotsford,” said Groening. “We had 105 attend that one.”

He said sadly, many former classmates have passed on since then, but everyone else is excited to get back together.

“This might be out last hurrah.”

Groening grew up in Mission, on Cherry Street.  After high school, he moved to Port Alberni. He moved back to Mission 10 years ago. In that time, he’s noticed plenty of changes.

“Mission, at that time (1956) probably had a population of under 10,000 people. So much has changed. It’s grown.”

One memory he has is when his school went to the provincial basketball finals in 1954.

The local school was led by John Kootnekoff and Fred Kabatoff and took on Gladstone in the provincial final.

“They (Gladstone players) thought it was quite funny. ‘Mission? Who the heck is Mission?’ they said. They quit laughing when we beat them.”

Mission won 40-39 to bring the Fraser Valley its first provincial crown.

He’s sure that story, and many others will be shared on Saturday. Reliving past glories and rekindling friendships are what class reunions are all about.