I would like to take this opportunity to thank Crestwood Preparatory College for developing and supporting your extraordinary Oral History project, which Mr. Scott Masters so capably directs. Your students interviewed my father, Frank Haley, in November and December of 2021 for his contributions as a Canadian armed forces veteran. Your program allowed my father to tell the story of his service to Canada, making his life accessible and relatable to many people.
Frank Haley’s life spans a 1930s Depression-era childhood in southern Alberta to global social and military events through the subsequent decades. His life came to the attention of the Crestwood project through the daughter of Mr. Min Yatabe, who was interviewed by Mr. Masters’ students in 2009. The Haley and Yatabe connection goes back to 1944 and each of their families is delighted that Crestwood students have been encouraged to reflect on the remarkable lives of ordinary Canadians who went on to contribute to Canada in diverse ways. Mr. Masters’ skill in interviewing both Mr. Yatabe and Mr. Haley drew out many near-forgotten memories that remain highly relevant to the nation that Canada has become. The students of Crestwood Preparatory College are lucky to have a teacher with the phenomenal skills and insight of Mr. Masters in weaving together so many threads of our recent history.
After completing the interviews with my father, the letters of thanks he received from Crestwood students were a touching and much appreciated gift to an elderly veteran. One student remarked on his new understanding of the different paths to success that are possible, and others remarked on the connection my father made between Remembrance Day and a desire to remember and express gratitude to the First Responders of today’s COVID crisis. Clearly, Mr. Masters has encouraged a degree of thoughtfulness in his students that will prepare them well for their future.
The Crestwood Oral History project also highlights an impressive series of examples of how Canadians come together across our history. My family lives in western Canada, and we are grateful that we can read about other families on the Crestwood website. This has opened our eyes to the incredible stories of people in Toronto and across North America. Mr. Masters’ excellent editing has made these stories accessible to people from a multitude of backgrounds.
The Crestwood Oral History project under the leadership of Mr. Masters is an exceptionally bright example of how Canadian history relates to everyone. Thank you for supporting the work of such an inspirational teacher.
Janet Sperling, daughter of Frank Haley