The Meaford Museum, in collaboration with author Garry McEachern and his family, recently donated more than 200 books to the Georgian Bay Community School (GBCS) graduating Class of 2021.
McEachern’s book, Upwards to the Stars: A Social History of Secondary Education in Meaford, is available for sale at the Meaford Museum as well as on online platforms. When GBCS Canadian and World Studies teacher John Flynn approached the Museum in early 2021 about donating the books to graduates, along with Garry McEachern’s family, they put together a plan to distribute them.
McEachern, an avid historian and retired teacher at Georgian Bay Secondary School, wrote several historical books about Meaford but this was his most popular volume. Upward to the Stars traces the first century of secondary school education in Meaford, documenting how the educational process was taken out of the classroom and into the community. The personalities who made Meaford High School come to life appear in cameo sketches and classroom anecdotes. It includes classroom antics, student achievements, and the supreme sacrifices made by local students in the two World Wars.
“My Dad combined his two passions: education and community when writing this book. He has a keen sense of humour as well which comes through in the written anecdotes and memories,” said Laura McEachern Burton. “It was my family’s wish, with Georgian Bay Community School closing this June, to provide the students and faculty with something tangible to remind them of the Meaford high school and commemorate all the achievements that students have made over the years.”
GBCS Canadian and World Studies teacher John Flynn was instrumental in providing the link between the Museum and the students. With COVID restrictions in place and online learning, Flynn had to figure out a way to get the books into the students’ hands. “Graduation seemed to be the ideal opportunity to distribute the books to the students,” said Flynn. “We will also be offering the books to current and former teachers and other interested community members depending upon availability.”
To reserve a copy of the Upwards to the Stars hardcover please contact John Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.