Home Education Westshore - SD62 Vintage car show to celebrate 35 years teaching

Vintage car show to celebrate 35 years teaching

Dunsmuir Middle School students enjoyed a 1960s-style event.

Tuesday May 31, 2022 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated June 1, 2022]

by Molly Pearce | Island Social Trends

If you didn’t know otherwise, walking onto Dunsmuir Middle School’s back field in Colwood on Thursday you’d think you had walked straight onto the pages of S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders. That’s exactly how Ms. Duvall wanted it to feel.

Grade 8 teacher Susan Duvall hosted a vintage car show on last week, on May 26, as a celebration of her class finishing their study of The Outsiders, but the event also served as a final farewell from the teacher to her students.

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Grade 8 teacher Susan Duvall poses for a group photo with her students at Dunsmuir Middle School celebration, May 26, 2022. [Molly Pearce / Island Social Trends]

Duvall will be retiring this year after 35 years of teaching, with a focus on English, Socials and PE.

The event was held over a couple hours in the school afternoon and only a few drops of rain fell on the otherwise cool and overcast spring day. The middle school’s back field was crowded with over 25 vintage cars, a display attended by a large crowd of students, teachers, car owners, and various community members.

The colourful event saw students dressed up in vintage clothing to recreate the setting of the classic novel commonly studied at the Grade 8 level in BC schools. Students posed in their attire in front of and inside the dozens of vintage cars across the school’s field. The students then had the chance to vote for the best “soc” car and the best “greaser” car, the rival groups in The Outsiders, as well as their overall favourite car.

To make the event even more special, Duvall’s students donated the money they raised by selling glass bottles of Coke. The students chose to donate to Wild ARC, the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre on south Vancouver Island.

Susan Duvall has been planning this event for months. From contacting local vintage car owners, to collecting clothing for assembling 50s-style outfits, Duvall truly went above and beyond for her students. At the event she said, “I always like to make what I teach come alive, so we dress up like historical characters. I just think kids find that more engaging.”

“All 60 of my students are all dressed up,” Duvall added proudly, “every single one.”

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Susan Duvall posing with her shared class of 60 students all dressed in 1960s vintage clothing. [Molly Pearce / Island Social Trends]

Duvall explained that after teaching for more than three decades — and with just 25 teaching days to go — that she doesn’t mind going to the extreme for her students. “I just think,” she said, “these kids have had nothing in three years, and this is a big deal for them. So, if it costs me some money and some time, it’s worth it.”

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A group of Dunsmuir students pose in their 1960’s costumes at the year-end celebration featuring antique cars, May 26, 2022. [Molly Pearce / Island Social Trends]

It has been the COVID pandemic restrictions, of course, that interrupted the lives of everyone in society for the past few years. School year-end and graduation events in 2020 and 2021 were altered somewhat, or a lot, for reasons of public health safety. This event being held outdoors was step back to normal for student activities.

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Two of Susan Duvall’s students pose in poodle skirts and wigs in front of one of their favourite cars. [Molly Pearce / Island Social Trends]

Members of the local antique car community stood proudly beside their vehicles to share their joy in the hobby with the Dunsmuir Middle School students. Several cars kept their hoods up to allow students a peek at the engines.

“The car community is fabulous,” Duvall said when speaking to the time she spent contacting the owners. “Some have even invited me to look at their collections!”

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Duvall said at the end of the event, “I want them to have an immersed experience, something they won’t forget.”

Dunsmuir students won’t likely forget this incredible event, or the teacher who brought their studies to life so vividly.

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Molly Pearce, writer
Molly Pearce is the Assistant Editor at Island Social Trends.

Molly Pearce attended schools in SD61, and will be returning to McGill University this fall for her fourth year of post-secondary studies toward a BA in English Literature. Molly freelanced for Island Social Trends in 2021, and is now the Assistant Editor in summer 2022.

Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends (IST) has published news insights about the south Vancouver Island region since 2008 (formerly as MapleLine Magazine, then Sooke Voice News, then West Shore Voice News), becoming a full daily online news service at IslandSocialTrends.ca in mid-2020. This series of news publications by Brookeline Publishing House Inc over the years has been founded, developed and edited by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR, to explore the region through a socioeconomic news lens.