Carleton Place High School – Enter To Learn, Go Forth To Serve
In July 2016, I returned to the ‘hallowed halls’ of Carleton Place High School with my father, Tom Marshall, former Head of the CPHS Physical Education Department for my entire life until I left to teach in China at age 27.
He was also my Coach for many years in many different sports, including basketball, badminton, weight-lifting, downhill racing, track and field, golfing, gymnastics, figure skating and many other sports.
This post is for him and for the CPHS athletes I’m still in touch with today that I was competing with in high school. I hope he smiles when he sees this trip down memory lane.
Last summer, I asked my dad to take me to CPHS for a tour. I hadn’t been to the school in over 20 years and I was interested in seeing how much things had changed.
My dad called Coach Brian Dickie, who sits in my Dad’s chair now in the CPHS Physical Education Department.
Brian was happy to meet us and take us for a tour of the school. He is also a former athlete of my dad’s, so these two men share a special bond. Any time our family has been in need, Brian has always been there to offer a word of comfort or to lend assistance.
That’s just how things go with small town folks who take care of each other.
It seems that Brian’s affinity for coaching has continued on throughout his life because he is now one of the most respected coaches in Carleton Place and in Lanark County.
I know that Brian’s students and athletes adore him as much as my Dad’s students and athletes loved him.
Not a bad view, right? CPHS is right next to the Mississippi River and the Carleton Place Rowing Club. The day we visited, we could see teams out on the water.
Starting our tour out at CPHS – more than twenty years after I left its halls – I could see that things hadn’t changed. In many ways, it was very different, but some relics from my past are still there.
For example, this gymnasium is where I spent almost all of my free time if I wasn’t in the library.
I spent many early morning practices, lunch times, after school practices, and weekends at this gym with my dad, my brother and my sister.
Back then we had full run of the school and we thought it was enormous. At one point, we were convinced we had found a secret passageway leading up to the second floor, but alas, those were just dreams of young children. All the big kids already knew about it.
Back in the day, CPHS hosted students from Grades 9 through 13. Today, CPHS serves students from Grades 7 through 12.
My dad used to have me come up to practice with the high school teams after my classes at Caldwell Public School throughout Grade 7 and 8.
I remember enjoying the practices with the basketball teams, a luxury that I had because I was the coach’s daughter and I was as eager to learn as he was to coach me.
I didn’t enjoy track practices as much until I entered Grade Nine. My dad made me run a lot, and I really hated long distance running, but over time, I learned to enjoy those runs with my dad on the back roads of RR#1 Mississippi Mills and I really liked learning how to get a jump on those sprinting blocks early.
I eventually learned to love running and then I never stopped running until I took my last run in May 2012. If you’d like to know why I had to stop running, you can visit this my section in this site on chronic illness.
On the other hand, I loved the repetitiveness of throwing a basketball. I can’t tell you how many times I’d stand at the free throw line or the three-point line and shoot over and over and over again to get that ball in the basket.
My dad taught me that practice makes perfect. He never stopped teaching me or pushing me to be my best.
I also remember many summer afternoons in the gym chasing a birdie around the court because my dad was a master badminton player. It didn’t take long for me to catch on to his important lesson with badminton.
The key to winning your match: Make your opponent run as long and as much as you can while you remain stationary.
That meant serving the birdie to every corner of the court and making sure my opponent was jumping from back to front court as much as possible. I had it nailed down within a few summers before I entered high school. I played singles and doubles badminton, but the best partner I ever had was my dad.
Here we are at the CPHS Wall of Fame.
What a trip it was to see his face and relive all those memories. And look at all the photos that are still there. We couldn’t believe that 20 years have passed and we’re all still there like it was yesterday. All photos below have been lined up by the years I was at CPHS.
November 1989 Junior Girls Basketball – LCIAA Champs!
Our first year together as a Junior girls basketball team. I skipped the midget team and went right into running point guard for the team. I was wearing my original number 15 at this championship game.
That changed a few years later, but in my mind, 15 will always be my number.
Our official LCIAA team photo – (Lanark County Interschool Athletic Association)
My dad is on the left in gold. I’m in the front row with Andrea Brunton sitting on my right.
1989-1990 Badminton Team
Front row again. My dad isn’t in this photo because he was taking it.
1989-1990 Track and Field Team
1989-1990 Junior Girls Basketball Team
1989-1990 Alpine Racing Team
CPHS Outstanding Athletes of 1989-1990
I’m wearing my OFSAA shirt, so this was likely after I competed in the All Ontario championship games in track and field for the 200m dash and 4×100 girls relay. Judging from the look on my face, I was probably really glad that year was at an end. It was a busy year for me.
I’m standing next to Kim Sheppard. We were co-winners of the Outstanding Junior Girl award. Kim played basketball, volleyball and ran track with me. In 1989/1990, I was on the basketball, volleyball, badminton, downhill racing team and track and field team. Kim and I were teammates in basketball and we ran relay together. I went to OFSAA that year for track – Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations.
OFSAA is a federation of 18 regional school athletic associations geographically spread across the province. In other words, I competed at the provincial levels for running that year. Speedy. 200 meter dash and 4×100 girls relay.
That year, I was asked to choose between music and sports. My dad wouldn’t hear any of it. He agreed with me that I could pursue both and excel at both if I wanted to.
The word ‘CAN’T’ was not in our vocabulary growing up. (Certainly Are Not Trying). So I dropped band practice and focused on developing my singing chops further.
I wanted to do both and my parents supported me, so I continued with my vocal lessons and that eventually led to me moonlighting as a nightclub singer in China for three years. (Thank you, Grace Armstrong! You’re the reason why I’m still singing today. I’ve never had a better vocal coach!)
I also entered school athletics the next year full-time and started on my own music lessons.
The decision ended up being a good one because so far, I’ve sung professionally in Canada, China and Taiwan and I owe that to my parents.
1990-1991 Junior Girls Basketball Team
First row with Stacie Garret on my right. Stacie and I were in Grade One together. We’re still in touch. It’s amazing to see how many years have passed by and we still know what’s going on with each other.
1990-1991 Track and Field Team
I’m in the third row. My dad is standing to the far right wearing our school colors, garnet and gold. That year, I raced 100m, 200m, 400m, Girl’s Relay in 100m and 200m, long jump, and shot put.
1990-1991 Alpine Ski Team
We spent A LOT of time up at Mount Pakenham which was about 20 minutes from my home. My dad started teaching us how to ski when we were around 4 or 5 years of age.
By the time we entered high school, my sister and I were racing competitively.
We spent a lot of after school practices at Mount Pakenham racing Slalom and Giant Slalom in the dark. By the end of my senior year of high school, I’d learned a few nifty tricks. I loved skiing. I also learned that I could kill myself with some of those tricks I was trying.
I recognized my own mortality that year in a bad accident. It didn’t stop me from competing, but I was awful wary of those giant slalom bamboo poles on freezing night practices after that year.
Believe me, you do not want to smack yourself hard in the face with a piece of frozen bamboo at 40 to 60 miles per hour. I can’t even believe I finished that course, but the giant black bruise covering half my face was a great reminder for several weeks after that.
That’s Canadians for you. -40 with wind chill. We don’t care. Get us there! My dad is in the back row on the right.
Senior Girls Basketball Team 1991-1992
By this time, I had been playing with these girls for years. We’re still in touch. I’m in the front row with my hand on the ball. The girl to my right, Shannon, was a good friend of mine. We also worked together and got into all sorts of mischief.
She was in Taiwan a few years ago and it was like no time had passed since those days playing ball together.
That same year, my sister was playing on the Junior Girls Basketball team. I’m allowed to post this photo of her because her hair looks ‘good’. When she saw that I had taken a photo of her graduation yearbook photo, she told me I couldn’t post it, so I’m posting this one instead. She’s in the front row, third from the right.
Shauna is every bit as talented as my brother and I were at sports. She is a better athlete than me now. She is a heck of a hockey player now and she is only 21 months younger than me, so I can’t really call her my little sister unless I’m trying to tick her off.
I try not to do that anymore. I teased her enough growing up.
Sorry, Shauna. I promise this is the only photo I’ll post of you from high school. Ermahgawd, Shaunzie, I LOVE your hair. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. At least I didn’t post ‘that’ photo.
I wrote this post today for a few reasons:
1. My dad is the first reason I wrote this post because I don’t think he ever saw these photos and I won’t have a chance to show them to him this summer (2017) in Canada.
2. The second is because my high school principal, Mr. Kilpatrick, passed away in late June 2017. He was my favorite principal and I have never met a man since who could whip a group of high school students into a frenzy for football rallies and other school performances.
We would all gather in the Bear’s Lair and he would stand on stage and boom out,
WHO ARE WE?
We would all scream back,
He also coined our school phrase, ‘Be there, be positive’, which is still there in the school today.
We lost a great man when we lost him in June. Mr. Kilpatrick is second to the left.
Mr. Church, who was also my high school principal, was also a very kind man. He passed away a few years ago. I think the students of CPHS really benefitted from these two incredible men’s leadership abilities.
I can’t imagine a worse job in the world than to be principal to a bunch of snotty high school kids, but these two gentlemen did their jobs with style and grace… and more than a few hard-nosed punishments for some of our more unruly students.
Recently, a few of them got in touch and I thought I’d let them know that our athletic photos and awards are still in the hall of fame at CPHS.
We’re still there. Still unbeatable. Still holding our records. Still ‘being there and being positive‘ for each other.
Now you know where I got my “Be there, Be positive” attitude. I got it from my my dad and my mom, but I also went to a high school that insisted we always do our best and do it with strength and perseverance, and I played sports with teams that literally embodied the Be there, be positive attitude that was rampant at our high school.
Speaking of strength, this is the new weight room that Brian established.
Back when I was in school, our weight room was tiny and it was always filled with the boys football and basketball teams. That didn’t matter. My dad insisted I go in there and learn how to lift properly.
No exceptions. He didn’t treat me any differently because I was a girl and insisted I could do what the guys were doing.
That is why I know my way around a weight room better than most women I know. He taught me that if I was spending more than an hour lifting weights, I wasn’t doing enough with my circuit training.
I also learned how to kick people off the universal weight systems when they needed a break between reps. “Dude, if you need a break, go sit in a corner and catch your breath while I bust out my reps now.”
Our weight room was small; no one had time to wait for someone to catch their breath. It doesn’t look like Brian has that problem with this weight room now.
When I was in school, this used to be the Home Ec classroom!
Oh, how things have changed! I didn’t spend much time in the Home Ec room. I preferred the library and gym, so I’ll admit straight up that I never learned to sew really well or learn how to cook really well or take care of a baby.
Thank goodness no one every made me look after an egg or a doll. Even in high school, I knew I didn’t want kids, much to my parents’ dismay.
Brian and my dad hanging out.
Of course we had to get a father/daughter photo in the new CPHS athletic wear. I wear this shirt here in Taiwan all the time, especially when I’m at the hospital. It’s soft and warm and it’s easy to get at my arms with this shirt on.
Everyone always asks me what DicFit means. If you don’t know, you need to ask Brian Dickie at CPHS.
It was a pleasure for both of us to revisit our past and see how much things have changed and how some things have remained the same.
Gosh, I used to spend so much time in this office waiting for my dad to finish work, especially if he’d locked up all the basketballs for the day.
That dart board is a new addition. Hmm… Wonder who added that?
Brian and my dad in his old office, which is now Brian’s office.
Here’s my dad looking through his old filing cabinet. I bet there are some fond memories in there.
As a child, I often wondered if I’d have my own filing cabinet. I do, but it’s not this tall and it isn’t filled with any memories of the students he worked with or the dedicated athletes that he coached.
Actually, it’s filled with a lot of junk that I should just toss out, including the cabinets. (It got tossed in 2017.)
Brian has just told him his original workouts for his teams from the 70s-90s are still in that filing cabinet.
Joy! He found them. Coach Marshall’s legacy lives on.
He found all his original workout sessions for everyone he coached. The smile on his face was such a nice thing to see.
My dad standing in front of the CPHS Bears logo.
I remember when the gym was half this size and he worked on having a dividing door installed in the gym that divided it into two courts.
I also can’t tell you how many times I performed on that school stage, but it was many, many times. This is where I honed my public speaking chops.
I had no idea that the school’s history dated back to 1959, so I snapped this photo because I was also on the cheerleading team during my first year in high school. Thankfully, there are no photos of that period of my life.
Soon afterwards, I found out that CPHS was established in 1922 and it has a long and varied history.
CPHS currently educates over 800 students from Carleton Place and the surrounding Lanark County area. It offers a positive and energetic academic curriculum, a wide range of co-curricular activities, and to this day, it is still producing some of the best athletes in Eastern Ontario.
Thank you, Brian Dickie, for making this happen for us last summer. Thanks, Dad. You’re still the best coach in the world.