When Mayfield Secondary School came into existence in 1969 I was chosen to be a member of the History Department by John Potts, a uniquely gifted teacher, leader, and department head until his retirement in 1993. I then served as head of History and Geography until 1999, when I retired. Mayfield actually began instruction in September 1969 at Central Peel Secondary on the afternoon shift, and physically moved into our new Mayfield location on March 2, 1970. It still was a construction site with unfinished terrazzo hallway floors, partial heating, and muddy parking areas. Everyone was impressed with the spacious, theatre-auditorium with its luxurious purple stage curtain. William McKenzie, Superintendent of Education in the original Central Peel District School Board was determined to get Mayfield Secondary School built for the families in Caledon. William McKenzie conceived Mayfield as a community school with gyms, library, theatre auditorium, and an adjacent recreation centre as facilities that would be shared by the community.
One of the best kept secrets of Mayfield Secondary School is that the school was built on a 50 acre parcel of farm land donated by the Archdekin family for one dollar to the Central Peel District School Board on September 8, 1967, according to land transfer records. This amazingly generous gift laid the framework for the construction of Mayfield Secondary School. One major issue that needed to be resolved was sewage disposal for the school, but the proposed septic lagoon system would be costly and occupy most of the school property. A more practical option was chosen to sever a 10 acre parcel to Chinguacousy Township for the future Mayfield Recreation Complex, and then the Peel Board of Education and the Township of Chinguacousy would share the cost of building a sewer line from 17th Sideroad to Highway 7, solving two issues at the same time. Mayfield Secondary School was built and equipped for just over 4.8 million dollars in 1970 [$32 million adjusted for inflation], a fraction of the commercial value of the land on the northeast corner of Mayfield Road and Bramalea Road in 2020
Over my 30 year career at Mayfield I was fortunate to be staff advisor for: SAC; Prefects; Yearbook; Formal Committee; Commencement Co-ordinator; Tennis Coach; and Senior Social Co-ordinator. Probably the school event that benefited the community and the school the most was the creation of the Senior Citizens Social in 1982, which I co-ordinated until 1999, with the assistance of my friend and colleague, Peggy O’Donoghue, who looked after the food. Many students and staff members know that Peggy has been the ‘master of culinary creations’ for staff and student functions for many years. Every December the students and staff invited the senior citizens from the Mayfield community to an afternoon of entertainment, food, gifts, and social interaction. The Senior Citizens Social continues and has grown to host around 400 guests each year, as a result of the efforts of many students and staff. It seems to have a magical quality for all participants, and it has become the cornerstone of the caring and sharing philosophy of Mayfield Secondary School. From Mayfield’s beginning the primary goal of the staff was to focus on academic excellence in line with the high expectations of the students and parents of the school community. Later in the 1980’s when Dave Craig became Principal of Mayfield his vision was to broaden the focus to excellence in the arts and athletics. As a result Mayfield soon developed an enviable reputation for high achievement in academics, arts, and athletics. This positive image of Mayfield Secondary School continues to resonate in the community today under Principal, Jim Kardash.
Since my retirement I continued my contact with Mayfield as a supply teacher, and my annual Economics and Politics Award. I also joined the Brampton Probus Club serving in a variety of functions, including Club President in 2009, and co-ordinator of the walking club. My wife, Elizabeth and I are keen cottagers, gardeners, hikers, and travellers. I still manage to do a little skiing, golfing, and tennis. When I retired in 1999 I sent a letter to the editor of the local newspaper (Bolton Enterprise November 3/99) and said in part: “I consider myself very fortunate to have had the responsibility of helping develop the talents of the students in the Mayfield community for almost 30 years”. That viewpoint hasn’t changed. Best wishes to all the people involved in planning and organizing the Mayfield 50 Reunion. I look forward to meeting former alumni and staff in May 2020.