Crozier inducted to SCCHS Alumni Wall of Honour

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Scott Anderson
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Swift Current born Lorna Crozier was joined by life-long friend Lynda Haverstock during Crozier's induction ceremony into the Swift Current Comprehensive High School's Alumni Wall of Honour on May 1.

Lorna Crozier had a day of memories and emotions on May 1 when she was inducted to the Swift Current Comprehensive High School's Alumni Wall of Honour.

Crozier was the fourth individual extended this distinction in recognition of former Swift Current High School students who have gone on to achieve greater things in their professional careers. Award-winning journalist Eric Malling was the inaugural individual to be recognized in 2001, followed by former Saskatchewan Lieutenant-Governor Lynda Haverstock and Premier Brad Wall in 2011.

In fact, Crozier was joined by life-long friend Haverstock at Thursday's emotional induction ceremony.

"I have so many feelings boiling up inside me, coming back to this place," said Crozier, who graduated from W.A. Beatty Collegiate Institute in 1966.

As one of Canada's most renown poets, Crozier has earned multiple awards and accolades over a prolific writing career which has resulted in the publishing of 17 books including 1992's Inventing the Hawk which won a Governor General's Award for poetry. In 2011 she was selected to receive the Order of Canada.

Crozier spent her childhood in Swift Current and after getting her teaching degree she returned to teach at SCCHS for five years from 1972 to 1977. She has resided on Vancouver Island for over two decades, living in Saanich with her husband, two cats, and a wonderful garden.

"I love coming back to Saskatchewan whenever I'm invited, no matter what it's for I say yes," she admitted. "It's in my blood and my bones. Most of my writing is still set in Saskatchewan."

When informed that she was being honoured on the Wall of Honour, she was pleased to learn she would be included along with her life long friend Haverstock and Malling, who she dated when the two were in High School together. She pointed out that the three of them achieved their status from their humble beginnings in Swift Current.

"His dad was a butcher. Again, there was no reason for him to become a world famous journalist. Just as there was no reason for Lynda to become a Lieutenant Governor, or me to become a writer. But we did it."

"That's one of my big messages in my life that you don't have to have come from a family with a library in the house, or from parents who are intellectual, who are university professors or lawyers or teachers or whatever, to become what you want to be. You can come from absolutely anywhere."

Crozier told a packed SCCHS gymnasium that during her Grade 12 year she was selected as Senior Pin and had to present the graduation address. She shared the intensely personal poem, Dancing With My Father, written about the tradition of the Senior Pin having to lead the first dance during graduation night. She had to take to the dance floor with her father, whom she had a strained relationship with, during this important time in her young life.

And while she could not say the words during the ceremony, during an interview following the presentation, she notes she was attempting to conclude her remarks with the thought "If you had asked that girl dancing with her father if she thought one day her photograph would be on the wall of her High School, even if it was 50 years after that almost, there is no way I would have believed that. I would have said that's the stupidest, most outlandish thing I've ever heard anyone say to me."

Crozier had a busy few days in Swift Current during her trip, serving as the Keynote speaker at the Willow Awards, being featured at the Write Out Loud author reading series, plus appearing along with Haverstock at a Central School Centennial event.

She has had the privilege to have read her poetry on every Continent except Antarctica, but still finds herself rooted in Swift Current.

"But, no matter where I've been, I'm just this little kid from Swift Current - where you're from. And it's a great thing to be able to say."

At the Wall of Honour recognition event, Crozier was introduced by former SCCHS teaching colleague Phyllis Nakonechny. During her touching tribute, she invited to students to consider Crozier's accomplishments while highlighting the importance of poetry.

"In our country, the pedestal of fame is not reserved for poets. We do not pay million dollar salaries to poets, or hand out golden statues to them. We hardly know their names," Nakonechny said.

"After 30 years of working with High School students, I know that right now, for most of you, reading poetry is not one of your top priorities. And that is O.K. But I hope that you will remember this morning. And if in the future someone asks you to name a famous person, I hope you will say Lorna Crozier. She is a poet. She grew up in my hometown. She taught in the school that I graduated from, her picture hangs there still on the Wall of Honour. I invite you, one day, when you have learned the need for it, to turn to her poetry. Maybe you will find in her words that which your spirit wants. I hope so."

Organizations: Swift Current Comprehensive High School, W.A. Beatty Collegiate Institute, Central School

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada Vancouver Island

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