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Play for Panet fundraiser this April

By Celina Ip

General Panet alumni are hoping to celebrate their school’s history in time to mark its 60th anniversary.


It was nearly four years ago, towards the end of the 2013-2014 school year, that Petawawa's first high school – General Panet – officially closed its doors as students prepared to move to the new Valour JK-12 School. By July 2015, wrecking crews demolished the historic General Panet and began clearing the debris to pave way for the Garrison’s new Canex Supermart. By April 2017, the new Canex Supermart opened its doors to the public, with no trace of the former General Panet to be found.

“General Panet had a very close-knit school community and even after graduating people would come back years later to wander the school as memories would start flashing through their minds,” said Panet alumnus Dan Shannon. “When they found out that it was being demolished it saddened a lot of people and bothered them.”

Wanting to preserve their school’s history and honour its legacy, Shannon and fellow Panet alumnus Bob King swiftly formed a committee and spearheaded the General Panet Mural Project.

The two friends got in touch with prolific painter and Panet alumnus John Ellenberger, with the goal to paint a mural of General Panet that could be installed on the exterior of the Canex building.

“John is a renowned artist and the beauty about it is he took his first art lesson at General Panet and then he turned out to be a professional artist for 45 years. There’s even a few murals in Pembroke that he’s known for,” said Shannon.

The mural would measure eight by 32 feet and would depict the former General Panet school, surrounded by a blue sky and with a Canadian flag and few trees in the foreground.

“We thought of doing a mural of the school as a way to resurrect it and keep it in the minds of all of the alumni,” said Shannon. “Even though the school is not there anymore, the picture is going to bring back a lot of memories that people cherish.”

By June 2017, once Ellenberger created a draft design and the committee discussed the project with the Garrison Petawawa base commander, Shannon launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to cover the cost of the materials and labour to create the historic mural.

The campaign raised more than $5,000 within a few months, but thereafter funding tapered off and Shannon had to find another means to reach the $18,000 goal.

With support from other General Panet alumni and the Petawawa Legion, Shannon and King have organized ‘Play for Panet’ to raise the remaining funds.

“The GoFundMe was going really good for three to four months and then the total just stayed the same and we thought 'well how can we raise some money?',” said Shannon. “So the idea of this Play for Panet fundraiser came to mind and the Legion was 100 per cent supportive of it.”

Taking place on April 14 at the Petawawa Legion, from 6:30 p.m. until midnight, Play for Panet will feature carnival-inspired games, a silent auction, a 50/50 draw, door prizes and a chili dinner. Prizes will include GoPro cameras, JBL speakers, Fit Bit watches, gift certificates, Bose Bluetooth speakers and NHL jerseys.

With 500 tickets available at $5 apiece, General Panet alumni are encouraged to welcome their friends and family to take part in the evening in support of the General Panet Mural Project. Tickets can be purchased at the door the night of the event, or by calling Bob King at 613-687-5229.

All proceeds will go towards the General Panet Mural Project to commemorate the Panet Community. Once the mural is complete, it will be installed on an exterior wall of Garrison Petawawa’s new Canex Supermart, where the former General Panet once stood. 

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