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Former Thorold High cheerleaders celebrate five decades of friendship

It might have been 50 years since they attended Thorold High, but these women still get together to reminisce; 'It was like the best years of my life'
The women of Thorold High recently celebrated their 70th birthdays with a reunion at Stonewall Estates in Vineland.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A version of article was originally published by ThoroldToday on November 5.

It’s a bond that has lasted a lifetime.

This group of women graduated from Thorold High School over five decades ago, but they still get together every year to reminisce on the good times.

“Getting back together is like we are all 18 again and laughing the whole time — just absolutely laughing,” Thorold High alumnus Debi McMillan tells ThoroldToday

All of the women in the group met while attending Thorold High School in the 1970s.

“A lot of us were cheerleaders,” McMillan says. “After school we would go up to The Spot, which was the restaurant on the corner. We would grab a pop and some french fries. We would throw some money in the jukebox, which was sitting right by the table and play some music. We’d hang out on the weekends and go to Sherkston [Shores]. We’d just all hang out together all the time.”

Through the years the women lost touch, until a little over five years ago a friend of McMillan told her how much fun her own high school reunion had been.

“That got the wheels turning,” says McMillan. “I thought: ‘That’s what I have to do.’”

Once McMillan got all of her old pals back together, it was like they never skipped a beat.

“As soon as we saw each other, we all started talking about how we played Rummoli with pennies together,” she says. “Somebody brought a Rummoli game to show us, somebody brought their yearbook to show us pictures. Automatically we went right back to who we were and we still are like that.”

Now, the group tries to get together at least once a year.

“This year we’ve done it now twice because we were all turning 70 so we knew we had to have a party,” says McMillan.

Throughout the years the group has shared many joys, as well as certain heartbreaks. A few years ago they had to say goodbye to one of their own, but throughout it all they’ve been there to support each other.

“We’ve outlived most of the guys we knew,” McMillan says. “We’re hangers-ons. We don’t know why. Most of the time we’re thinking how we’re still alive for all of the stuff that we did and went through.”

Did McMillan ever expect that the women she came of age with would still be there for her today?

“I don’t think there was ever a time where I thought I would never see them again,” she says. “We never thought beyond Thorold at that point. There was no internet. The world was a lot smaller then.”

It is no wonder then that the women still love to get together to reminisce.

“It was like the best years of my life,” McMillan says. “I guess being innocent and having friends that just care about you and you can look at them and laugh all the time — there’s just no going back to that kind of feeling of freedom and just loving it.”

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About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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