Kornelson School and Steinbach Collegiate Host Their 60th Class Reunion – SteinbachOnline.com


You don’t need a DeLorean to go back in time, just show up to your 60th class reunion.

That’s what about two dozen students and teachers from the Class of 1962 did last weekend, including Jake Epp.

Epp, a household name in our community for many years. He was our deputy, and Steinbach has a library named after him.

Epp began his teaching career in 1961, in a 9th grade class at Steinbach Collegiate Church. “It was the first year of the new high school (on Lumber Ave). School wasn’t ready in September, so they put us in what they called portable teaching huts. I taught 9th grade history in one of them. I was supposed to start the physical education program, but we didn’t have a gym until January of the following year. And that’s where I started, I think one of the legacies, if you don’t mind me saying it.

Epp brought volleyball to Steinbach. “I had played volleyball in college. Never done before that. So, yeah, I started volleyball, and I think Steinbach has been a hotbed of the sport ever since.

He says there were no gyms back then, so he got creative. “Well, we went out, played ball, played baseball until winter came. Then we played soccer in the snow and did calisthenics. And of course a lot of people at the time thought gymnastics should be calisthenics and I said ‘No.’ You have to give these kids life skills in sport, which they can continue and well, I guess the rest is history.

Epp remembers being a very young teacher: “I was teaching ninth grade. I didn’t teach the upper grades the first year. My tallest students, many of them were three years younger than me, but it was a good start. Steinbach, of course, was home to me all my life, until I moved to Calgary. But among the first 18 families who founded Steinbach, my grandfather was one of them. So my roots are quite deep.

Epp says he will attend two meetings in a few days. The second is his promotion from Steinbach Collegiate. He says they meet every year on the 3rd Friday in September. “It’ll be our 65. It’s the class of 1957.”

Steinbach Collegiate Church 1962

Another attendee at the 60-year-old class reunion was Ron Kornelson, well known in the Southeast as an auctioneer.

Kornelson says he noticed there were participants from all over Canada, including 3 teachers since he went to school. “Mr. Tony Rempel and Mr. Henry Toews and Mr. Jake Epp.

Kornelson notes that the event was a great time to reminisce about his former teacher, Jake Epp, and hear how Epp remembers school life, and then what life was like from the students’ perspective, especially in terms of has to do with things like “how long are the shorts and the fact that there was no hand in hand walking down the sidewalk. In fact, here we have a stick that was used. Instead of getting hold hands, guy and girl were walking and holding stick.

According to Kornelson, these were the rules of the administration at the time.

He says there were 53 students in the Class of 1962. “Sadly 18 have passed away but if you are not in a condition to come and be with us here today many have sent their regards. But everyone here is having a good time.

Kornelson says the school he attended at the time was the building that is now the Steinbach Arts Center. “Singing Oh Canada was different. We were reading the Bible, the King James Version. We had creaky floors, we had no air conditioning. We had a library that served as a typing room. It was packed and there were two floors of students. They had an auditorium downstairs that was used, we didn’t have a gym.

Kornelson notes that many of his former classmates became businessmen, teachers, and politicians. “I think of the 53, ten of them were teachers. We have two doctors, both couldn’t come. We had a lawyer in the group.

Kornelson School in Steinbach Steinbach Kornelson School

He expressed his gratitude to the city of Steinbach for letting the group of former students and teachers use their facilities for this celebration of the 60th Reunion. They were also able to visit the Steinbach Cultural Arts Center – formerly Kornelson School and Stony Brook Middle School – formerly Steinbach Collegiate.


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