Our School

Port Perry High School is a community school of approximately 1000 students nestled in the heart of historic downtown Port Perry.

History of Port Perry High School 

Some accounts suggest the intent to establish a high school in Port Perry dates to January 1868, when James R. Youmans corresponded with the Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada, Edgerton Ryerson, regarding the appropriate textbooks required to conduct instruction of grammar school students. In September 1868, Port Perry Grammar School opened in the second-floor room of the Common School located on Ottawa Street in Port Perry, with an enrollment of 24 boys and 2 girls. Between 1868 and 1873, enrollment fluctuated between 23 and 64 students, with a maximum of 6 girls during that period.

In 1871, as a result of "An Act to Improve the Common and Grammar Schools of Ontario", the name of the Grammar School was changed to Port Perry High School. In 1873, construction began on the Port Perry Union School, a facility that would house the Public and the High School in a single location. When the new building opened at the corner of Queen and Rosa Streets, 64 students were enrolled in the Classical and the English programs offered at the High School.

From 1874 to 1926, the population of the High School varied substantially, with a high of 127 students in 1880. Several Port Perry High School students fought in the Great War of 1914-18; ten students died in action during the war. A plaque was erected to honour them by the staff and students of PPHS in June, 1919. It was recently restored and is located at the south parking lot entrance of the school, outside the Library-Resource Centre. In April 1926, a massive fired destroyed the 50 year-old structure. Lost in the flames were the entire archives of school records dating to the opening of the Grammar School in 1868 and the Common School of 1858. As well, generations of school photographs were not only lost, but probably stoked the fire that completely engulfed the school. The site of the building is commemorated by a plaque located on High School Hill, the park located at the corner of Queen and Rosa streets in Port Perry.

In May 1927, a new facility for Port Perry Public and High School opened on Rosa Street, a few steps north of the Union School site. The new school featured 11 classrooms, six for the High School and five for the Public School. The building also featured a gymnasium (the Senior Developmental classroom is now located in this space), and an assembly hall (the Drama Room currently occupies this space). The cost of construction for the "New School" was $100,000.

Eight Port Perry High School students sacrificed their lives during the Second World War. A commemorative plaque in recognition of their valiant efforts also sits outside the school's Library-Resource Centre. Many of the High School's students contributed at home as well, working tirelessly on farms across Scugog and Reach Townships to contribute to the war effort.

By 1952, the cornerstone to a new Public School in Port Perry was laid on Queen Street, just west of Ottawa Street. The movement of public school students to what is now R.H. Cornish Public School opened several classrooms to students enrolled in the High School's programs. However, the existing school facility did not meet the needs of the community or of the growing enrollment Port Perry High School was experiencing. Under Principal Grant MacDonald's leadership, an aggressive expansion program brought a new wing north of the existing building (with a combined gymnasium/auditorium) in 1961 and a second addition which included a second smaller gymnasium, central offices, a cafeteria, classrooms and a full technical facility in 1967.

In 1998, a third phase of expansion brought a modern music education facility to PPHS (located in the old 1967 Library), and a brand-new Library/Resource Centre was erected south of the 1927 building. 

 Notable graduates of Port Perry High School

Several distinguished individuals have graduated from Port Perry High School since its inception in 1868. Herbert Alexander Bruce, who graduated in 1885, was a World War I surgeon to the British Armies in France, a founder of Wellesley Hospital in Toronto, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1932-1937, and the MP for the riding of Toronto-Parkdale from 1940-1946. John Ross Roach, who attended the High School during World War I, was an NHL goaltender with the Toronto St. Pats (Maple Leafs), the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers from 1921 to 1934. The "Port Perry Cucumber" led the St. Pats to the Stanley Cup in 1922.

Several Port Perry High School Graduates are leaders in Canadian business and industry. These include George Cope, 1981 (President and CEO, Bell Canada Enterprises); Wade Oostermann, 1981 (President, Bell Mobility and Residential); Tye Burt, 1975 (President and CEO, Kinross Gold); and Keith Calder, 1981 (President and CEO, Walter Energy).

Some former students have distinguished themselves in the world of athletics.  Jim Zoet, 1973, played NCAA basketball at Kent State University and in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons. Jim played with the Canadian National team as well as professionally in Europe and South America. George Burnett has had a notable coaching career in the AHL (Binghampton; Cape Breton, Calder Cup Champions- 1993), the NHL (Edmonton Oilers; Anaheim Ducks) and the OHL (Niagara Falls, Oshawa, Guelph, Belleville).

In the world of science, the neurologist Vladimir Hachinski, 1968, is an international authority on stroke prevention. He was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2008 "for his contributions to the field of neurology, notably as a clinician and researcher in the field of stroke and dementia."

In the world of entertainment, several PPHS Graduates have made a mark. Musicians such as Pete Smith, 1985 (Jazz saxophonist), Leslie Ann Bradley, 1996 (Opera), and Melinda Delorme, 1998 (Opera) are graduates of Port Perry High School's Music Program. In fashion design, Tracy Doyle, 1996, is a leading fashion photographer and marketing executive, while Brad Goreski, 1995 is one of Hollywood's leading fashion stylists and will host his own reality television program "It's a Brad, Brad World" on Bravo during the 2011-2012 season. In broadcasting, Kate Beirness, 2003 is an anchor with TSN, one of Canada's top television sports broadcasters.

Kent (Gerrow) Farndale, graduated from Port Perry High School in 1951. Mrs. Farndale is well-known for her fundraising efforts for Lakeridge Health Corporation-Port Perry (the local hospital) and the gallery that bears her name at the Scugog Memorial Public Library. But those are two of the many instances of community volunteerism that Mrs. Farndale has engaged in locally. She has been chair of the official board of the Port Perry United Church, past president of the Community Memorial Hospital Foundation, past chair of the hospital board, on the fund-raising committee for Town Hall 1873 (a community performing arts centre in Port Perry), and a founding member of the Scugog Choral Society and the Scugog Council for the Arts. She was the founder, Director and Curator of the Kent Farndale Gallery, 1982-1992. At the regional and provincial level, Mrs. Farndale was heavily involved with the building of the Durham Regional Cancer Centre at the Lakeridge Health Corporation-Oshawa Hospital site, and has had a long involvement with theOntario Crafts Council as a member of the Board of Directors, chair of the Patrons' Dinner, and member of the fund-raising and regional regeneration committees. She is the co-author of "Stitches in Time", a book about the history of Port Perry's Community Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Farndale has been the recipient of many awards: the Ontario Crafts Council John Mather award for Lifetime Achievement; a 10-year volunteer service award winner from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Communications; the Paul Harris Fellow Award winner from the Rotary International Club of Port Perry; a 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and an International Year of the Volunteer Certificate of Honour recipient from Lakeridge Health Corporation. The Kent Farndale Bursary for the Arts, an annual award for emerging artists and performers in the Scugog community, was named in her honour in 1992. Over the past four decades, Mrs. Farndale has continued her association with PPHS as a patron of the Arts at the High School. 

Gary Edgar is a graduate of Port Perry High School and a former DDSB teacher.   After retiring, he worked for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and was elected chief of the First Nation in 1993, serving two terms.   As chief he negotiated hunting and fishing rights, played a lead role in developing the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino and Baagwating Community Association and co-founded the First Nation Literacy project.   Mr. Edgar has served on many local committees and has been honoured with awards that include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a Lifetime Achievement award in 2012 from the First Nations Gaming Association. and the Governor General’s Award for contributions to Canada.   Mr. Edgar is also an honourary doctor of laws from UOIT and was inducted in the Scugog Sports Hall of Fame.  

Finally, Kelly LaRocca proudly serves as the elected Chief of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. Kelly was first elected as Chief in July 2013, and was acclaimed as Chief in 2015. Prior to her election as Chief, Kelly began her career in public service as a full-time elected Councillor to Scugog First Nation in 2008. Kelly attended Conant Public School and G.L. Roberts, C.V.I. In 1992, Kelly moved to Port Perry High School, where she graduated with honours​ in 1994. Kelly began her post-secondary education at the University Western Ontario, from which she graduated with an Honours Degree in Philosophy. Kelly went on to the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, where she graduated with her LL.B. in 2000. Kelly also attended the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law for Masters course work in Aboriginal Law. 

Academics and Extra-Curricular Programs 

Port Perry High School has provided strong and diverse academic and extra-curricular programs for much of its existence as a secondary school.   The school is a hub for French Immersion students from Scugog and Brock Townships.   Port Perry High School also provides a variety of Special Education programs, including Gifted, Practical Learning Program, Developmental and School Support Program classes.

The Scugog community has recognized some outstanding academic and co-curricular programs offered at the High School. These include programming in Mathematics, Science and Technology, Canadian and World Studies, Co-operative Education and the Fine Arts. Mathematics students have fared well in the Pascal, Cayley and Fermat contests sponsored by the University of Waterloo's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. Since the mid-1960's, PPHS has offered a wide variety of Technology programs, including Communications Technology , Horticulture, Automotive, Electrical, Manufacturing, Hospitality and Cosmetology, Health Care, and Carpentry. The Canadian and World Studies program offers an innovative, double-credit Outdoor Education program that combines in-class certification and training in canoe/kayak, cycling and first aid with practical experiences in the field completing wilderness hiking, winter camping and canoe trips.

The school has been internationally-recognized for a strong Music program. Many of the school's ensembles have achieved Gold Medal standards at music festivals across Canada. Performance ensembles include a range of guitar, vocal and instrumental groups. Port Perry High School's Music Program has traveled extensively over the past three decades, including tours to Austria/Hungary and Germany, Chicago, Washington, Cleveland, Banff, Vancouver/Victoria, Ottawa/Kingston, Boston, and Montreal. The Visual Arts Program offers studies in studio art and photography, and shows student artworks at several community events, including an annual exhibit of student works at the Kent Farndale Gallery at Scugog Memorial Library in Port Perry.  The Port Perry High School Drama program performs several times per year. 

Port Perry High School has a long record of student leadership. The school's Student Council is active with annual fund-raising activities benefiting children and youth in Canada and around the World. The school also has a Gay-Straight Alliance, an Ambassadors Program, a Me to We Chapter, an Environmental Club, a Christian Youth group, a Gaming Club, Stomping out Stigma and a Reach for the Top Team. Students who are active with these groups are encouraged to attend PPHS's annual Leadership Camp, which takes place in May each year.


Port Perry High School 'Rebels' Athletics 

The school offers a number of different sports including badminton, basketball, swimming, tennis volleyball and mountain biking.  The Rebels Boys' and Girls' rugby teams are often contenders at the provincial level.  The Junior Girls' rugby team won a LOSSA Gold Medal in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017.   The Senior Girls' team was an OFSAA participant in 2005 and LOSSA finalist in 2014, 2016, 2017.   The Senior Girls 7’s won the provincial championship in 2018.    The Senior Boys' team won an OFFSA Championship in 1999 and an OFSAA Bronze Medal in 2006. The Junior Boys' team earned a Barbarian Silver Medal in 1996, 1997 and 2018. The Boys' and Girls' wrestling teams have won several individual OFSAA medals in the past decade.   Recently, the school's track team has also received special attention - particularly its middle distance and cross-country runners, and its field event participants. Several have been OFSAA Track and Field finalists over the past decade.


Port Perry High School Army Cadet Corps

Port Perry High School is home to Army Cadet Corps #41. No significant records exist prior to a newspaper report about the Cadets in 1936. During the 1950's, the Cadet Corps became a compulsory program at PPHS, and each student was issued a uniform and expected to participate in formal drills and routines on Friday nights. The Cadets, which have counted up to 60 members during their most recent existence at the High School, are active at events in the Scugog community, particularly at Remembrance Day ceremonies, celebrations and parades. The Corps has also been recognized for their environmental initiatives around the Township.

Check out Port Perry/ Scugog Township Heritage Gallery website for some interesting facts about the school's history which started in 1873.http://www.scugogheritage.com/history/unionschool.htm


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