Where they are now!

From the Campbellford High School Reunion newsletter 1998.

Successful author inspired at CDHS

Neil McKenty goes back to the early days at Campbellford High School from 1938 to 1942.

He was inspired about writing, he says, thanks to his marvellous English teacher, Kathleen Ferris. Before leaving CDHS he began reporting the news of Hastings for the Peterborough Examiner when Robertson Davies was editor.

‘ It was not too surprising that he was chosen as the guest speaker for the CDHS 75th Reunion’s ecumenical service on Sunday, June 28th.

After leaving CDHS Neil spent 26 years in the Jesuit Order and almost 20 years hosting his own radio and television talk show in Montreal.

During that time he had two books published: “Mitch
Hepburn, the Ontario Premier,” and “In The Stillness Dancing,” the biography of a Benedictine monk named John Main.

His latest book is a memoir entitled, “The Inside Story,” which has been on the best seller lists in Toronto and Montreal. It contains some memories from his happy years at CDHS.

McKenty said his life and travels during the past half century have taken him on a roller-coaster ride that is outlined in considerable detail in his new book.

“To my surprise and gratification, “The Inside Story,” dealing with my time at CDHS, was chosen by a survey of Globe and Mail readers as their favourite, book of 1997,” he says.

McKenty says he developed his interest in writing during his association with
the Jesuits for 25 years.

“Initially this interest had been whetted and encouraged by my English teacher Kate Ferris,” he recalls. “I will always be grateful to Miss Ferris for her steady support of my penchant for Writing. And I was fortunate, while still at CDHS, to become a stringer covering the Hastings area.”

His book about Mitch Hepburn won the University of British Columbia medal for best Canadian biography during Centennial Year of 1967.

“We led the first Canadian contingent to the Special Olympics in Chicago where the famous Canadian figure skater, Barbara Ann Scott, was an honoured guest,” says McKenty. “We convinced the Kennedy Foundation to include floor hockey in the Special Olympics program.. .and we convinced Prime Minister Trudeau to throw out the first puck…”

He hosted an open line program for CJAD in Montreal from 1972 to 1985. During that time he twice went to Washington to sit in on the Watergate hearings.

“Some years later I was fortunate to get into a press conference by President Reagan and was able to ask him a question. The question announced the president which pleased me.”

Later he researched and wrote the biography of John Main, “In Stillness Dancing” and hosted a television program called “McKenty Live” on CFCF television from 1987-1991.

Neil said he and his wife Catherine plan on being at the reunion “with bells on.”

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