Past Board Chair
Recorded as one of the most damaging storms in recent history, Hurricane Juan devastated parts of Halifax on September 29, 2003.
Like many others, Brian MacLellan stepped out of his front door the following morning unsure what to expect. Relieved to find only a few fallen trees, he and his kids, Aleka’08 (then in grade 8) and Niko’10 (then in grade 6), decided to check on the Grammar school, located only one block away.
They were met by then Headmaster John Messenger who quickly informed them the roof had blown off, and the inside was badly damaged by water. With no businesses opened and limited power, many believed the school would never recover.
Then word got out.
Within hours, parents, students, teachers and neighbours arrived with trucks and tools to remove debris. They lugged branches across the parking lot and used mops to push water down the stairs and out the door. Someone found and donated roofing tar, and a group of teachers and parents began to carry heavy strips of rubber roofing membrane up several flights of stairs to patch the roof. To this day, those memories trigger feelings of pride and excitement for Brian, whose wife, Martha, and kids didn’t hesitate to roll up their sleeves for “their school.”
"They thrived at Grammar, and our donation to the capital campaign is our family's way of giving back to the school that gave us so much."
“It was absolutely incredible to see everyone come together - just like Grammar’s first parents who bought and set up the original Grammar School in 1958,” said Brian. I’ll never forget that day, and my kids will never forget it because everyone showed up, pitched in and we saved the school together. Grammar re-opened four months later, after considerable repairs, something no one thought would happen when we first showed up that morning.”
Both Brian’s kids have since graduated, Aleka’08 just completed her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Saint Mary’s University and Niko’10 is studying medicine at Dalhousie University. Brian credits Grammar for instilling a sense of community and service in both of them. The storm and its aftermath had made the school’s motto, ‘Enter to learn, go forth to serve’ personal and tangible for the MacLellan family.
“While Grammar was demanding at times, it prepared my kids for real life,” said Brian. “They are hardworking and resourceful. They also get involved. They thrived at Grammar, and our donation to the capital campaign is our family's way of giving back to the school that gave us so much.”