Welcome Carlton Alumni Where in the world are you?  What have you been doing? Our students can learn so much from your journey to where you are now!  If you are willing to share your story, what would you tell your 15 year old self?


I was a member Class of ’83. Hard to believe 33 years since I roamed the halls of Carlton. Before I go on to where I’ve come to, I’d like to reminisce a little. I remember when Carlton was Prince Albert Technical HS and the massive addition which is now Carlton was under construction. that would have been around 1976-77. Me and my best friends Greg Bell and David Engen use to sneak into the construction site at night and play cat and mouse with the on-site security guard. We thought it was so cool, felt like being in a action movie.

Back then a lot of kids quit school after Jr. High, I decided I would at least finish HS. I really enjoyed Carlton. I fondly remember my favorite teacher, Mr. (Dick) Spencer, who eventually went on to become mayor of Prince Albert. Students either loved him or hated him. I do remember that he really made an effort to connect with us. He had a profound influence on the course of my life. Ms. Kuhn, and Mrs. St Amand taught me a love of literature. There were many great teachers back then, unfortunately I forget most of their names.

When I graduated in 1983, Canada was in the midst of an economic recession and being that I chose the technical route through school rather than the academic, there were few options available for me. I stuck around PA for another year or so, doing whatever work I could find. Realizing that my life was either going to lead me to jail or worse I decide it was time for a change. So I enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. Figured I spend 3-yrs there see a little of the world and then come back to PA and settle down. After about 6 months into my basic training I came to realize there is a whole vast world to be explored. In the end I spent 20-yrs in the military. I had many adventures and seen a lot of the world. I was posted in Germany for 3 yrs, spent about a year in the Middle East, worked in nearly every province and territory in Canada. The Forces were really good to me.

I have been out of the military for nearly 11 years. Had a couple of careers in construction and the Public Service. If you would have told me when I graduated from Carlton that I would end up living on Vancouver Island, working as a barber I would have laughed at you. But there is where I am today. I occasionally keep in touch with my friends from Carlton, but life has a way of always changing and the things that meant the world to you in HS seem trivial when looking back 30 + years.

I don’t regret where my life has taken me, I have had some bad times, many good times. If I could say anything to those who are graduating Carlton today, it would be, “Don’t put yourself in a box, you are just beginning your life. Do what you’ve dreamed of. Live the life you have always wanted. If you desire it enough, refuse to give up and work hard enough you can achieve anything”. ~ Craig Ferchuk

Reeda Mae’s Story

I went to university and finished my degree, and I owe it all to Carlton Comprehensive High School. I went there in 1997 and kept going back only because Bob Lawton, the school counsellor, believed in me. I am now an Indian social worker and want to go back and work in the high school to empower and mentor our students and youth. I gained many lifelong friends in this school 🙂 ~ Tala Tootoosis


cat8I went to Carlton in 1993 and graduated in 1996. Upon graduation I attended Carlton (again) in the morning to take Biology 30 and Automotive Mechanics, while attending the U of S in the afternoon via the Woodland campus. You see my plan at the time was to attend the U of S and major in Kinesiology with the ultimate goal of becoming a phys Ed teacher. Well even the best laid plans sometimes do not materialize as you first envisioned. After that first year of university study it was clear university was not my path for that time. I changed course and registered at SIAST in the Truck and Transport Mechanical Repair program. I love working with my hands and seeing the practical application of my learning. The SIAST program offered this opportunity. I graduated from SIAST and began my apprenticeship becoming a Journeyman Truck and Transport Technician, with Red Seal designation, in 2001. During my career as a technician my passion for being an educator never faded and in 2007 I became a truck engine instructor for the largest Caterpillar dealer in the world. I continued to supplement my technical education with formal education and graduated from the University of Alberta with a Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education. Then in 2009 I felt the need to give back to my roots, apprenticeship, and I became the Academic Chair for the Heavy Equipment Technician program at SAIT which is the same position I hold today. Through my journey I have remained a life long learner and am pursuing my M.Ed from the University of Calgary, from which I will graduate in June 2014. I owe a lot of my success today to influential people I had in my life while attending CCHS. Namely my football coach Jim ‘Mac’ Maclachlan and mechanics instructor Henry ‘Hank’ Osowski. Mac taught me the work ethic required to succeed and Hank taught me how to become a life long learner. Neither of these objectives were part of the formal learning outcomes in the formal curriculum, however their rich lessons still resonate with me today. My message to students today is three fold: follow your passions, work hard and never stop learning. To Mac and Hank my message is very simple, thank you! ~ Jim Szautner

Here’s a good one for you: I was given an aptitude test in grade 12 (1978) and was told the best I could be was a Tugboat captain or a grave digger. She told me I would never amount to anything I was too slow. I failed to graduate, missing 3 classes. 10 years later I got my GED (Happy day for me), I returned to College, and my teacher discovered I was dyslexic and helped me with some techniques to help overcome this. I am now 53.  My husband and I have bought and sold 3 hotels and 2 liquor stores and now have a construction company. I do all the accounting for these places. So don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are slow or not able to have a great life.  Maybe you also have a learning disability; don’t wait 10 years to find out. See I was smart all along.   Have a wonderful life, I have. ~ Kelly

I graduated from Carlton in 2003. Since then I moved around a lot. From province to province trying to find a place to call home. Eventually I left the great country of Canada to seek out a home elsewhere. I toured across many different states in the US. Eventually coming to Billings, Montana. This is where my girlfriend and I call home now. As I manage a local store down here. I often wonder about Carlton, how’s it doing, or how much it has changed since I went to the school. I was part of the first time Grade 9 scene there. Played on the basketball team and volleyball team. Made some good life long friends that till this day I stay in touch with. ~ Josh Elford