The Timmins High and Vocational School (TH & VS) reunion in Timmins, Ontario, Canada, was a tremendous success. The success was due to great organization by the reunion planners and a surprise visit by country artist Shania Twain, a 1983 TH & VS graduate.
Rumors circulated for weeks that Twain would make an appearance, creating a buzz throughout Timmins. In fact, some of the singer’s fans tried to purchase tickets with hopes of meeting her. But they were just rumors … she might or might not be there … no one knew what to expect reunion organizer, Ross Clausi reported. The day before the reunion, Twain’s representatives told the committee she wouldn’t be coming. She registered under a pseudonym. When she showed up, “it was wonderful, she’s a classy and terrific person,” Clausi added.
Twain made the trip from her home in Switzerland accompanied by her sister Carie-Ann Twain. Twain appeared at her reunion without bodyguards to blend in with classmates. She said she went to meet old friends and reminisce, just like everyone else.
Everyone wanted to meet one of Timmins’ most famous graduates. Twain obliged and posed for countless pictures. The only time she wasn’t greeting and posing was when she was allowed to eat her vegetarian dinner without interruption. In her two hours at the reunion, Twain met nearly all of the more than 2,000 people who attended.
Twain was known as Eilleen to her classmates. Her fondest high school memories were performing at a school dance and graduating. She said she wasn’t the best student because she concentrated on her music.
Twain is known to have great pride in the area where she grew up. She was raised poor outside Timmins and worked at McDonalds to help her family. Her parents died when she was 21 and she took responsibility for raising her brothers and sisters. She has donated time and effort to the community since becoming a star. Twain performed a benefit concert, to contribute to the TH&VS scholarship fund and donated $1 million to the Shania Interpretative Center.
Twain’s visit was the icing on the cake according to reunion-goer Jackie MacKenzie. Other attendees agreed with MacKenzie’s assessment that the reunion was wonderful. The response was positive not just for the celebrity visit.
Other notes from the Timmins reunion
The Timmins reunion was multi-class with representatives from classes dating back to the 1920s. Organizers developed magazine-like memory books with articles written by persons involved with the school. Topics ranged from the reunion to Timmins. They also sold photo albums featuring 50 pictures from each decade and photo CD-ROMs containing 2,500 pictures; separated by decades.
from the Timmins Times, The Daily Press (Timmins, Ontario) and the Star. With help from Ross Clausi.