The Day "Sex" Paid a Visit to BCI

During my grade 12 year we had a public speaking competition, I only remember it taking place the once but don't know who the sponsor was, or what the prizes were, but I think the winner advanced to a higher level. We were all crowded together in one of the classrooms (the Grade 10 room?), the whole school, teachers students, judges were all packed together like sardines. I know I never participated, back then I was so self conscious about so many things I would have rather cut off my arm than have to stand up in front of that gang and say something. But we had some brave souls who one by one were called to the front, did there thing, received some applause, took a bow and sat down again. I am sure there was a lot of effort that went into all the speeches, but I only remember two. Ed Scotton who was a good friend and who lived out by me decided he was going to enlighten us about the virtues of the Liberal party and he did a pretty good job, misguided as he was.

When he was finished the last speaker was called and we settled down to listen to Shirley Sheppard. When she was in grade 12 there wasn't much to her, about 5 feet tall maybe, but somehow she always seemed older and more sophisticated about things, I seem to remember having a terrible crush on her but was far to intimidated to have ever called her up for a date.

I'll never forget, as she started and introduced her topic. Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow students, honoured guests, judges, the topic I have chosen to talk about today is "sexual perverts".

The words rolled off her tongue and she didn't bat an eye......... have you ever had one of those moments when time stands still, well this was it in spades.

When I think of the information available on TV and in magazines today about sexual topics it is such a contrast to what was available to us when we were in school. As I remember it we were pretty naive about most things. Coming from farms we all knew what to do but not much about the "warming up." My Grandchildren in Grade 6 know as much about the details of intimate relationships as we did in Grade 12, probably more. I guess we did lots of talking, boys bragging to boys and I suppose the girls did the same, but in mixed company, aside from joking around it wasn't a topic that anyone was very comfortable with.

Anyway she had said it, and the room went so quiet you could hear a pin drop, there were a few thoughts that went through every persons head as we all shifted our eyes towards the teachers. I think we fully expected Mrs. Sternig or the other teachers to stop the proceedings on the spot, but they were also taken by surprise as evidenced by the blood draining from their faces and their momentarily forgetting to breathe.

The second thought that spread through the room was more restricted and took root in the minds of every male student and teacher " My God I've been found out, and she's going to tell the world about me". She spoke with passion and conviction about the failings of the court system and the evils of the adult world. When she finished there was silence for a second and then thunderous applause, led by the girls of the school anxious to show their support for one of there own and joined by the guys, each one thanking God that she hadn't exposed them. I can't remember who the winner was but I don't think it was her.

I guess we had our own form of political correctness even back in 1963.