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JWC2By  MYRON LOVE

Over the May long weekend, 25 former classmates of the 1991 graduating class of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their graduation – with a prominent role in the gathering being honouring the memory of former classmate Adam Anhang (z”l).

Shane Ian AdamAdam Anhang (for those readers who may not recall) was the victim of a murder for hire plot orchestrated by his wife in Puerto Rico just over ten years ago.
“In planning our reunion,” notes Lori Binder, “we made it a priority to celebrate Adam’s life. At our brunch at the school on Sunday morning (which also included several former teachers and some of the parents of the graduates), we all shared our favourite memories of Adam.”
Jerry Cohen, who was principal of Joseph Wolinsky for 17 years, in a video (he was away and unable to attend), recalled greeting the class of ’91 on their first day of school at the then-north end school. “I was greeting the south end kids who were getting off the bus,” he recalled. “This one 12-year- old gets off the bus, walks up to me full of confidence, shakes my hand and introduces himself as Adam Anhang.”
Binder (who, after graduation, went on to a career as an educator at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, subsequently renamed the  Gray Academy, was appointed last June as Head of School and CEO of the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education) remembers Anhang playing the stock market from a young age.
She also recounts the class’s Israel trip after Grade 12 graduation. “We were in Israel during the time Operation Solomon (the Israeli government airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel) was taking place,” she says. “We were staying at a hotel in Tiberius and a number of the newly arrived Ethiopians were being housed at a hotel next door, having just been airlifted to Israel less than 24 hours earlier. We all went to the hotel and one of our friends played guitar as we all sang ‘David Melech Yisrael’ and other familiar Hebrew songs. Adam got up and started dancing with an Ethiopian elder. I know that he knew better than any of us the Jewish history we were witnessing first hand at that very moment. It was amazing to see and a memory that many of us share.”
As was traditional at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate (and still today at  the Gray Academy), every member of the Grade 12 class creates a video of their ethical will. During the reunion, the Class of ’91 (and guests) viewed clips of their own ethical wills as well as Adam Anhang’s ethical will. “Adam’s ethical will was the most articulate,” Binder says. “As part of it, he gave a Dvar Torah on Torah U’Madah (a discourse on the relationship between Judaism and secularism).”
In memory of Adam, Binder reports, the Class of ’91 has created an endowment fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba within the existing Gray Academy Endowment Fund. The new \endowment fund is intended to support co-curricular programming in the areas of Torah U Madah, which may include Jewish experiential learning, or experiential learning in the areas of business, ethics, and entrepreneurship. Binder notes that Anhang’s classmates thus far have contributed $6,000. She adds that Anhang’s parents, Abe and Barbara, have pledged to match the classmates’ donations dollar for dollar. Donations will also be matched by the Jewish the Foundation of Manitoba  as Gray Academy is part of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba’s Fund Matching Initiative.JWC1
The reunion organizing committee was co-chaired by Ian Schnoor (who is a business owner in Toronto) and Dr. Shane Silver (who is a dermatologist in Winnipeg). “Ian spoke at the reunion about the impact that our education at Joseph Wolinksy Collegiate had on us and who we are today,” Binder says.
JWC3She notes that the Class of ’91 numbered 38. “Twelve flew in from cities throughout North America,” she says. “At the end of the day, being part of a small graduating class, most of us feel that we are part of a community and that is a real gift.”
One of the attendees, Les Harasymek, a former Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate biology teacher, went from one high school reunion (at Gray Academy) to a second reunion just a few days later. That would be the 50th anniversary of the Garden City Collegiate graduating class of 1966 – of which Harasymek was a member.
About 130 students graduated from Garden City Collegiate in 1966. Forty-five of them came for the reunion over the last weekend in May. Home base for the activities was the Fort Garry Hotel, reports Hugh Arklie, one of the reunion organizers.
“It was an outstanding few days,” says Sharon (Beloff) Freed, who was also part of the organizing committee. “It was delightful seeing people some of whom I haven’t seen in 50 years.”
She estimates that more than 50% of the graduating class in 1966 was Jewish. “But it didn’t matter if we were Jewish, Polish or Ukrainian or anything else,” she recalls. “We were just kids who valued a good education and what Garden City offered us. We had a great time over the weekend remembering our school days and our youth.”
Freed incidentally also has a connection to the Joseph Wolinsky graduating class of ’91. She would have been one of their teachers in the early grades. Last June, she retired after 47 years teaching in the Jewish school system in Winnipeg.
Jack Solomon is another GCCI ’66 graduate with ties to the Gray Academy (although not the ’91 class). A long time teacher and administrator in Winnipeg School Division No. 1, Solomon also served as Director of Education for the Gray Academy from just before the school was rechristened in 1997 until 2001.
Of the ’66 reunion, he says that the event turned out much better than he was expecting. “We shared one story after another,” he says. “Our cohort was a group of kids who really liked each other. I had heard afterwards that while many of the teachers found us hard to handle, they missed us after we were gone. There was a certain spirit about our group. Those were really good times.”
One of the weekend’s events was a memoriam for the 19 graduates of the Class of ’66 who have passed away over the years (including one student who died fighting for the American army in Vietnam shortly after graduating).
The weekend also included a supper at Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria on Bannatyne, a Friday morning breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel, a supper at Cibo Waterfront Cafe and two anniversary cakes.Garden City reunion
“We are thinking of doing this again, maybe in five years,” Freed says.