Personal Memoirs: The Story of Earl Grey School (1952)
by J. D. McLeod
Editor’s Note: A copy of this document was obtained from Earl Grey School during its 100th anniversary celebrations, in May 2015.
The author of this history of Earl Grey School, James Dudley McLeod, is the only member of the staff in this year, 1952, who was a member of the staff in the pioneer days when the Junior High School was in process of organization. He took a leading part with the first Principal and other members of the staff in organizing this school as the first Junior High School in Canada.
Mr. McLeod was a pupil in Fort Rouge School in its early years and later attended the original Winnipeg Collegiate Institute and Manitoba College, graduating in 1910.
After teaching in the Aberdeen School he was called to the new Earl Grey Junior High School in January 1927. For twenty-five years he taught the Latin and shared the Mathematics teaching of the school, contributing wisely and in many ways to the lives of numerous prominent citizens of the local and the larger community.
Mr. McLeod now retires with his twenty-fifth Earl Grey graduating class, having made a further fine contribution to the future of the school by acting in his final year as its first Vice-Principal.
The Story of Earl Grey School
September 2nd, 1919, is a date worthy to be remembered in the history of Canadian education. It was on that date that the first Junior High School in Canada was opened in Earl Grey School, Winnipeg, with Mr. J. S. Little as its principal. Previous to that time the standard practices had been the eight-three or eight-four system, eight years elementary school and three or four years high school. Many educators felt that the transition from elementary to high school was too abrupt and that an intermediate period of exploration would be advisable. Accordingly several centres in the United States had recently been experimenting in a shortened six-year elementary period, following by three years of departmentalized schooling, offering a wide range of subjects and activities, in order to discover special aptitudes and interests. This procedure would prepare the student for a greater measure of specialization in the senior high school. The Winnipeg Public School Board decided to find out if this system would be suitable here, by making a three-year experiment, using Earl Grey as the proving ground. Circumstances prompted the selection of Earl Grey. The site had been purchased in 1914 for $39,500 and a building immediately erected at a total cost of $185,600. As only a part was needed to accommodate the children of elementary school age in the district, much of it stood empty ready to hand for this experiment.
The new school, named after Earl Grey, who was the Governor-General from 1904 to 1911, opened its door for the first time on August 23rd, 1915, for classes from grade 1 to grade 8. Miss Jean Ellis, later principal of Gladstone School, was the first principal and remained in that office until Mr. Little came in 1919. These were war years and the first uneasy months following the Armistice with its epidemic of “Spanish Flu.” The school, along with others in the city, was closed from October 11, 1918, until the end of the year, while its staff joined with others working in the soup kitchens and elsewhere to alleviate the suffering of that time. There were several teachers in this early elementary school who remained for several years, later entering the junior high department. Among these are Mrs. L. M. Graham, Miss Jean Irvine, Miss Ann Johnston, Miss Evelilne Hicks, and Miss Effie Thompson.
Four years after the school was first opened, everything was ready for the new experiment. Mr. Little and his staff immediately began the task of setting up a highly departmentalized junior high school. Mr. Little, true to his Old Country ideas, began building up a tradition that would deepen as the years went by: an emblem, a motto, and a song. There was to be a series of ritualistic spiritual ceremonies repeated from year to year. Pride in Earl Grey was fostered by an extensive extra-curricular programme including sports, operettas, and dramatics. Participation in the annual Musical Festival added more renown. The emblem chosen was a triangle with in the centre the all-seeing eye and the words “Nova Lux” and on the three sides the words “Honor, Truth, Duty”—the motto of the school. Within the first month Mr. C. T. Best had written the words of the school song, to be sung to the tune of the Anvil Chorus of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.”
Before describing in more detail the life and activities of these early years, may we record here, at the risk of wearying the reader, the names of those men and women who had a part in this historic experiment. To do so is worth while, for their devotion to the ideals of the junior high helped carry it through to success. From time to time throughout this story the narrative will give way to a catalogue of names. Four walls do not make a school, but rather the men, women, boys and girls who enter the doors and pass some years of their lives within these walls.
Two of this first junior high staff had been previously in the elementary school: Mrs. L. M. Graham and Miss Effie Thompson. The other members of this staff were: Miss M. H. Acheson, Mr. C. T. Best, Miss A. Black, Miss R. Buchanan, Mr. V. Davies, Miss Jean Duncan, Mr. George Florence, Mr. A. E. Floyd, Mr. Thomas Harper, Miss M. Kennedy, Miss Ethel Kinley, Mrs. M. Lindsay, Miss D. J. McManus, Miss M. E. McManus, Miss Celia Mitchell, Miss Anne Radcliffe, Miss Gertrude Shewell, and Miss Winnifred Warters. Within the three-year trial period Miss Black, Miss Kennedy, Mr. Best, Mr. Florence and Mr. Davies were transferred elsewhere and their places were taken by Miss A. V. Patrick, Miss Florence Irwin, Mrs. Laura Main, Miss Mary Muir, Mr. W. J. McNab, Mr. G. Pooke, and Mr. J. W. Young. Miss Jean Irvine, Miss Ann Johnson, and Miss Eveline Hicks, remained in the elementary school and new names were added there, among them Miss Valerie Moran, Miss Effie McDiarmid, Miss E. Duddles, Miss M. Forrest, Miss Lil Crawford, Miss Lily White, and Miss Hazel Benedict. Mention should be made here of two stalwarts on the service staff: Mr. J. W. L. Burden, head janitor and Mr. A. T. Crocket, engineer. Mr. Burden is well remembered as a gentleman, a former butler to an English family. His dignity and poise demanded the respect of the staff and study body alike.
May we digress to make mention of salaries and enrollment in those days. It will make us think when we are prone to grouse at conditions today. The junior high annual salaries ranged from $1300 to $1750. One indeed started here at $950. The elementary teachers received from $1000 to $1550. The class enrollment ranged from 41 to 56 with an average of about 48.
As mentioned above, the new junior high was a highly departmentalized school. Each room was a laboratory fitted for its chosen subject. The set-up was permanent. So was the Time Table, which like the Laws of the Medes and Persians was unchangeable. Because of this continuity, each teacher with her subject and her room a laboratory for that subject, it is fitting to record at some length the picture of the school and its personnel.
Two shops for boys were opened in Rooms 3 and 4, and remain so to this day. One was the woodworking shop where Mr. Tom Harper taught until 1928 when he was succeeded by Mr. Joe Murden. Mr. Harper died within a few years of leaving the school. The other, the metal shop with Mr. Best for one year and then Mr. J. W. Young, who on going to Kelvin handed over to Mr. Harold Potter. On the top floor were the practical arts rooms for girls. One was the domestic science room with Miss Florence Irwin and later Miss A. C. Thomson. The other was the large room, now the library. Here Mrs. L. M. Graham taught clothing and Miss Duncan, laundry and allied subjects. Two other rooms on this floor were fitted out completely as science rooms: Room 26 for physics with Miss G. M. Shewell in charge, and Room 27 for chemistry with Miss Winnie Warters. Miss Ethel Kinley with her music in Room 28 completed the junior high end of this floor. Miss Kinley left in 1925 and later became supervisor of music. She was succeeded by Miss Hazel Coleman, who remained until 1930. Miss Mary Mitchell was then transferred to music from the elementary school.
These were the rooms on the second floor. Room 22 was the English room with Miss Effie Thompson. Room 21, Latin with Mr. Floyd for two years, then Mr. Pooke for two years. Mr. Donald McLeod followed and in January 1927, Mr. J. D. McLeod. Room 20 was the art room with Mrs. Lindsay until 1928 and then Miss Florence E. MacIntyre. In Room 19 there was French with Miss M. E. McManus, Room 17, French conversation and grammar with Miss D. J. McManus until she was transferred to the elementary school in 1926. The room was then taken over by Miss Ann Johnston who came up from the elementary to teach physical training. Room 18 was occupied by Miss L. Main.
Next we descend to the main floor. In Room 13 Mr. Florence taught history, then followed by Miss Mary D. Muir and in 1927 Miss Ida Davidson. Room 12 was fitted for typing and shorthand with Mr. Davies in charge for two years succeeded by Mr. W. J. McNab to 1926. These courses were discontinued and in 1928 Miss Mabel Thoms took over the room. In Room 11 Miss Celia Mitchell taught geography and Miss Buchanan was in Room 10. In Room 9 there was mathematics under Miss Acheson until she retired in 1928, when Mr. F. W. Simms took over. Miss Anne Radcliffe taught physical training to the girls from Room 2. Other Junior High teachers were Miss Louell Crawford from 1923 to 1926, Miss Jean Irvine came from elementary school in 1926, and Miss Irene Johnstone from 1928. Miss Crawford returned to the school in later years.
There were three “spiritual” ceremonies, as Mr. Little called them, spaced throughout the year. The first of these was the Armistice Service on November 11th or, when that became a school holiday, on the preceding school day. This service was in two parts: the Memorial at the Cenotaph and a Round Table talk on the League of Nations. For the first part, the Memorial, the stage was set with a grave and cross to the right. After a service of song and reading and prayer, there filed past this Cenotaph ex-service men on the staff and a representative of each class, placing wreaths at the foot of the cross and taking their places behind it. There was then the silence followed by the “Last Post” and Rupert Brook’s “Blow Out, You Bugles, Over the Rich Dead,” read by one of the ex-service men. The second part revealed the League of Nations Council Hall with tables and seats ready. As Mr. Little called the name of each nation, a representative from the audience rose and took his place. The United States was called three times but no response. Its seat remained empty. Questions were then put and responses made. The idea of the Cenotaph used in this service was more than a year ahead of that at Westminster. Copies of this ceremony were sent on request to many parts of the English-speaking world and in 1931 to the Peace Conference in London.
The second ceremony was the Empire Day Service: a tableau with the white-robed Britannia on her throne and around her the nations of the Commonwealth. An ex-serviceman on the staff, while the school stood to attention, took the soldier’s pledge of allegiance to the Crown.
The other was the Graduation Service at the end of the school year. The significant feature of this service was the passing across the stage. The graduating students, in silence, nothing being heard but the tread of feet, filed past, took the Emblem from the Principal’s hand, and each with head bowed pledged allegiance to his school.
These three services were ritualistic and repeated unchanged from year to year. It was the tradition of the school and left an unforgettable memory with those participating in them. On the closing day, the whole junior high gathered in the auditorium for farewells in a more carefree mood. Here too there was tradition, the singing of “The End of the Road” by Harry Lauder and “Auld Lang Syne.”
All the sports year was, like Gaul, divided into three parts: soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter, and cricket in the spring. There was now an extensive inter-school soccer league. Earl Grey entered the Senior Public School League and began its sport’s history by straightaway winning the city championship for 1919 with Mr. V. L. Davies as coach and H. Allen, captain, and H. Silverthorne in goal. The other members of the team were: W. Alsip, H. Berger, J. Brockest, W. Brooking, T. Cupiss, R. Elleker, H. Malcolm, M. Matheson, and O. Schwab. This winning streak was repeated the second year, 1920, with Mr. Davies again as coach and H. Silverthorne in goal. J. Brockest was captain this time, with the following team: W. Alsip, C. Babbs, E. English, G. Lemon, B. Masters, F. Master, S. Mitchell, V. Pickersgill, and R. Phillips. Altogether Earl Grey won four city championships in soccer during the thirteen years of Mr. Little’s principalship.
The winter game was hockey, an inter-class league managed and arranged by the boys themselves. This was before the era of the community clubs. Ice was secured at the open-air Fort Garry rink, which was just south of the Old Fort Garry Gate on Main Street. The boys got valuable business training by making all arrangement and drawing up the schedules.
In the spring, there was the cricket league with four teams: Kelvin High School, St. John’s College Boys’ School, Ravenscourt Boys’ School and Earl Grey Junior High School. Most of the games were played on the cricket ground at Assiniboine Park, with the occasional game at St. John’s. The games usually were played as soon after four as the teams could arrive. As anyone who knows cricket will understand, the time the game would end was problematical. We took lunch with us prepared to stay till dark, if need be.
In June the annual athletic meet was held on the school grounds. This was an all-day affair with a mass drill review in the morning for which Mr. Crockett did most of the drilling and in the afternoon the regular field track events in charge of the men of the staff.
The Men’s Musical Club of Winnipeg has done Manitoba inestimable service by sponsoring the Manitoba Musical Festival. Not the least important entries in this festival are the school choruses and the class-room choirs. There are classes for choruses from various grade levels with a shield for the winner of each. For the junior high, the two principal shields are the Sir William van Horne for grades 7 to 9 and the James Tees for boys from grades 1 to 9. There are four shields for the elementary school: the Schumann for grades 1 and 2, the Premier Greenway for grades 1 to 4, the Premier Norquay for grades 1 to 6, and the Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner for boys from grades 1 to 6. The winners of all these shields compete for the Earl Grey trophy. An extensive set of shields was offered to winners of class-room choirs, but it was until 1934 that the Daniel McIntyre Trophy was donated for competition between these winners.
In 1923, the first year the Earl Grey Trophy was given, our school had two choruses competing: winners of the Sir William van Horne and the James Tees shields. The former won the Trophy with the remarkable scores of 98 for its first piece, “A Croon” by Howells, and 99 for its second, “Piper’s Song” by Broughton, a total of 197 marks. Miss Ethel Kinley conducted by these choruses. By 1932, Earl Grey won the Sir William van Horne shield seven times and the James Tees six times. In each of the years 1930, 1931, and 1932 the choruses from grades 1 and 2 and the boys choruses from grades 1 to 6 came home with the Schumann and the Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner shields as had also, in 1928, the grades 1 to 6 chorus with the Premier Norquay shield.
Between 1929 and 1932, various class-room choirs won their shields nine times in all: the Gustav Holst for grades 1, the Handel for grades 1 and 2, the Sullivan for grade 3, twice each and the Mendelssohn for grades 5 and 6, three times. The outstanding year was 1931, when six shields were brought to the school. There were five shields the previous year and four the following.
The outstanding project of these years was the operetta or dramatic presentation. Outstanding, as it required the joint effort of the whole staff and a large number of students. The Lady of the Lake was the first of these. Dickens’ Christmas Carol was given twice. Then there was a series of Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas, with Miss Ethel Kinley as director. These included: H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. During the later years of Mr. Little’s principalship, it became the custom to dramatize the Shakespearean play on the curriculum for the year under the direction of Miss Effie Thompson. Among these plays were As You Like It, given twice, The Tempest, Midsummer Night’s Dream, also given twice, and Julius Caesar. We remember in the Latin room especially this last play. It fell to our lot to design the togas and military uniforms. The shops, from our plans, made the shields and spears. Two of our boys, haunting the libraries, for ideas, made the standards and other equipment. Another tradition was the Grade 9 dinner in the house-hold arts room on the closing night of the operetta or play. It was a formal affair with Mr. Little, Miss Thompson and other members of the staff at the head table and the usual toasts and speeches. Still another tradition which the old boys thought up for themselves was the raid on their former rooms. As soon as the play was over, we teachers went directly to our rooms to receive them. If we were not there, woe betide the room.
The Honor Roll was begun in 1919 to record for the future the names of the boy and the girl obtaining highest marks in each grade. Here are the first names on this Roll: Grade 7, Harold Brodie and Florence Sayer, Grade 8, James Gowler and Nellie Grant, Grade 9, Joe Gottfred and Margaret Goodwin. Florence Sayer won the Honor Roll in Grades 8 and 9 as well. Some other three-time winners of those early days were: Robert Beattie, Jean Stewart, Margaret Thomson, Jessie Jackson, Beatrice Young, Mary Little, and Helen Freedman. Elswood (Doc) Guy and William Palk raced each other all the way through. Doc Guy won Grades 7 and 8, but was edged out by Bill Palk in Grade 9. Edward Lemon and Donald Ross were another pair of racers. Ed Lemon won Grade 7, Don Ross Grade 8 and the two tied for Honors in Grade 9. Charles Rittenhouse topped Grade 8 and Grade 9. Another boys should be mentioned here. Frank Pickersgill won honors in 1928 and 1929. His tragic war time experience as a prisoner of war and later in the French Underground will be told later when we review Earl Grey’s war record.
May we here record the names of some of the students of Earl Grey during the first three years: Harold Brodie, Jack Brockest, Robert Brown, Abram Class, Jack Cooke, Clifford Ellerby, Edgar English, Joe Gottfred, James Gowler, Alvah Hall, Murray Matheson, Douglas Munro, James Munro, Dennison Rooke, John Tees, Donald Williams, Edith Arnold, Lucy Cooper, Margaret Goodwin, Muriel Hamilton, Jennie Helston, Lily Hobbs, Evelyn Leslie, Katherine McGee, Ruth Milius, Jean Orde, Marion Paterson, Kathleen Planton, Florence Sayer, Maggie Talayco.
We remember the closing day in June 1932. Mr. Little called us together, as was his wont, in Room 9. As he began to speak to us there was a sob in his throat. This was farewell. He was to take over the principalship of Kelvin in September. His thoughts and ours went over the years we had been together. Seven of the staff who began with him in 1919 were still with us. The rest of us had imbibed something of his enthusiasm and idealism by working under him. Thirteen years before, Mr. Little and his staff had undertaken this new experiment. It had created widespread interest and there was a constant procession of educators and other visitors from many places across the land. The first three trial years had been successful. In the years that followed, the junior high principal, more firmly established, was being adopted throughout the province and indeed in many other provinces. Small wonder then we were thinking with pride on our school and were ready to maintain under new principals the same standards of scholarship, sportsmanship, leadership, the qualities that make good citizens.
In September 1932, we met to begin the second chapter of our history. For the next nine years under the capable leadership, first of Mr. J. W. Beckett and later of Mr. Ewart Morgan, Earl Grey was destined to add new and worthwhile experiences, while retaining much of the tradition of the past. Mr. Beckett remained for four years before retiring to a well-earned respite in his lovely garden, where he had entertained us on several occasions. Under him the school concentrated more on the regular academic work, cutting down somewhat on the extracurricular features. When Mr. Morgan came, in 1936, there was a rebirth of outside activities. Notable among these were the activity groups and the goodwill exchange visits with Grand Forks. There was also a series of lighter operettas and dramatic presentations. Under both these principals there continued the same emphasis on sport and the same participation in the Musical Festival. Mr. Morgan remained until 1941 when he succeeded to the principalship of Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and later became assistant superintendent of schools.
The year Mr. Beckett came there was only one change in the junior high staff. Mr. Simms was transferred to Gordon Bell and Mr. William Throp from Gordon Bell took his place. But several changes followed as the years went on. Miss Mary Mitchell left at Christmas to be married and the next fall Miss Eveline Hicks came up from the elementary to take over the music in junior high. Miss Shewell retired in 1933 and the same year Miss Effie Thompson went to Kelvin. The following year Miss Celia Mitchell was transferred and Miss M. E. McManus retired, her place in French being taken by Mrs. Florence Whittaker. Mr. George Whitlaw came for three years and was followed by Mr. T. G. Minshull. Both these men taught industrial or opportunity classes. Mr. Potter left the metal room in 1933 and was succeeded by Mr. J. C. Love. Mr. Potter remained for two years longer and was then transferred to Lord Roberts. Mrs. Graham also left for Kelvin and we find Miss H. B. Kay in her place. Others who came to the junior high staff during these years were Miss E. G. Brown, Miss M. E. Moir, Miss Aleta Whyte, and Mr. T. A. McMaster. Miss Ruth Mitchell had come in 1930 to remain for four years. She returned for one year in 1936. Owing to the frequent changes in the elementary staff, we fear that our record of them is far from complete. However, here are a few who entered the school at this time: Miss Marjorie Brown, Miss Marjorie McIntyre, Miss E. A. Halpenny, Miss M. E. McLeod and Miss C. Ormond.
Soon after the autumn term opened on Mr. Beckett’s first year, the staff planned a farewell for Mr. Little. We remember it as one of Earl Grey’s great nights. Everyone who had taught under Mr. Little during those thirteen years was invited and there was nearly a hundred percent attendance. It was a stunt night in the household arts room, present teachers vying with former teachers. Our stunt was a skit on Hamlet in which the Melancholy Dane appeared in plus-fours. Quadrilles followed with Miss McManus as mistress of ceremonies. The main event was, of course, the presentation to Mr. Little of a gold watch from his former teachers.
Our sports activities continued to include soccer and hockey, but baseball, or rather softball, supplanted the cricket of former years. In soccer, during Mr. Beckett’s four years, we captured the south division three times, seniors once and juniors twice, never quite winning the city championship. In baseball, grade 8 boys won their division in 1933 and succeeded in winning the city championship in 1936. The grade 6 boys won their division in 1935. In the skating races in 1934, the grade 8 girls’ and grade 9 boys’ relays each brought us a first. Each spring we continued to hold a local field day, an afternoon event without the massed drill. One year, however, we decided to vary this by moving over to Sargent Park to get the advantage of the officially marked courses. The afternoon began with a large and enthusiastic band of spectators, but as it was a warm day, the spectators soon disappeared into the neighboring swimming pool. This move was never tried again.
There were continued the ceremonies for Armistice Day, now called Remembrance Day, and for the graduation of grade 9 students. As much of the ritualistic pageantry was now discontinued, these services became simpler, yet they developed a new and impressive tradition of their own. The Remembrance Day service was held in the school auditorium and as World War Two broke upon us, it was destined to assume a new and deeper meaning. The graduation service, early in Mr. Morgan’s time, was moved to Crescent-Fort Rouge United Church in order to give it a more commodious and fitting setting.
The year after Mr. Morgan became Principal, a series of activity groups was organized for grades 8 and 9 students. These groups met at 11:00 o’clock every Tuesday. Membership was voluntary and those not desiring to enter any group were assigned to a study room. Needless to say there was but a corporal’s guard in this room. The dramatic club, sponsored by Miss Davidson, presented among others “Little Women” and “Alexander McKenzie” before junior high assemblies. By the way, Miss Davidson is a playwright in her own name, having had published several of her plays on incidents in Canadian history. This club and the choral club under Miss Hicks were responsible for several public entertainments. Further record of these activities will be given later. The dancing club under Miss Johnston, besides training in national and character dances, contributed the dancing sequences for the entertainments. The orchestra, conducted by Mr. P. G. Padwick and later by Miss Bernice King, took its part not only in the school ceremonies but also in our concerts and operettas. We owe a great deal to the time and the energy given by these two friends of the school. The broadcasters club under Mr. McLeod was not as some thought a radio program, but rather was charged with the production of the school magazine, The Broadcast. It put out two editions during the year and a special graduation number in June. The bookbinding club, with Mr. Love in charge, undertook to bind together issues of The National Geographic. These by the way had been the gift to the school library from Mr. Scott, a former Kelvin teacher. The art and sketch club under Miss MacIntyre carried on activities in fashion drawing, pen and ink sketches, and cartooning. The gas engine club, led by Mr. Minshull, had fun pulling down and putting together a one-cylinder verticel engine that occupied a prominent place in Room 11. Other clubs and their sponsors were: the short story club with Mr. McMaster, the woodcarving club with Mr. Murden, the pottery club with Miss Warters, the first aid club with Mr. Throp, and the home nursing club with Miss Irvine.
During these years, we held several public entertainments in the school auditorium, under the joint charge of the choral, dramatic, and dancing clubs, with the orchestra assisting. The first of these in February 1937 was “The Vagabond Prince,” for which Miss Davidson had written the dialogue around the music of Frantz Schubert. The part of the composer was played by Astley Cooper, the Vagabond Prince by Colin Blyth, Carl, The Proxy Prince, by Desmond Smith and Lady Sylvia by Margaret Pratt. “The Toymaker” following in December that year with Huntley Cameron and Jack McGillivary in the title role and Mina Woodhead and Lloyne Tweltridge as the Princess. In January 1939, the choral club presented also “The Blue Belt,” a fairy tale of Norway. King Gorumpus was played by Sidney Lecker and Lloyd Pennington, Princess Ellanore by Shirley Williams and Lloyne Tweltridge, and Prince Halvor by Clara Jones. The dramatic club also produce the “Acadian Tragedy,” written by Miss Davidson, as part of a popular entertainment given in May.
During the summer of 1938, Mr. Morgan, on a visit to Grand Forks and Fargo, made arrangements with the educational authorities in those cities for a series of exchanges to foster international goodwill. As a result of these arrangements, in November of that year a party of eight Grand Forks students and three teachers, Miss Marie Mynster, Miss Frances Owen, and Mr. Arthur Seith, arrived to share in our Remembrance Day services. Our students and teachers acted as hosts, taking them into their homes. On Thursday morning, the 10th, there was the Armistice Service and a Round Table discussion on Canadian-American relations. At this service, Mr. George Hopper, consul-general for the United States, spoke to the students. Visits were made in the afternoon to Kelvin, St. John’s, Machray, and Robert H. Smith schools, and there was a party in the evening. Friday afternoon Mrs. Morgan entertained in her home in honor of the visiting teachers. On May 18th following we sent to Grand Forks for a three-day visit, a chorus of thirty pupils with Mr. Morgan, Miss Hicks, Miss Davidson, Miss Irvine, and Mrs. Walter Luck as accompanist.
An outstanding event of that spring of general interest was the visit on May 24th of the late King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Although normally a holiday it was considered best, in order to keep the children from the downtown area, to hold school in the morning. We welcomed back several of our Grand Forks friends of last November. Their hosts had invited them to be their guests for the day. After lunch the students were taken down Cockburn St. to Wellington Crescent where they saw the King and Queen pass by.
The school opened in September 1939, under the shadow of a war that was destined to make tremendous changes in our lives and activities. But it was not until a year later that the full impact of the war economy was felt. During the session 1939 – 1940 the school carried on as before with the activity groups and other events. Perhaps the most notable of these were the second pair of goodwill exchanges with Grand Forks. On April 10, 1940 a party of eight students and three teachers, Miss Marie Mynster, Miss Frances Owen, and Mr. J. T. Haugen, arrived from the American city. The next morning they gave a series of talks on George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, while a group of our students spoke on Sir Wilfred Laurier, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, and Ralph Connor. In the afternoon they attended the contest for the Earl Grey Trophy at the Musical Festival. The return visit was made on April 26, 1940. The students this time were Priscilla Berry, Marie Bird, Russell McGillivray, and Fred Stroppel. Accompanying them were Mr. Morgan, Miss Ann Johnston, and Mr. and Mrs. McLeod. Mr. Morgan and Mr. McLeod drove the party down in their cars. We were royally received and entertained. There was keen rivalry between the Central High School and the South Junior High to see which could do the most for us. The business part of the outing included a repetition of the same series of talks as given earlier at Earl Grey. We left Grand Forks, feeling that we had made many good friends and had learned much of their educational system.
By the autumn of 1940 the Phony War had been long over and we were in the midst of the grim business of the real war. The casualty lists had begun to come in, including many of our own former students. The first War Services Honor Roll was set up by Mr. Throp, designed and painted by one of our students, Clark Drummond. A more detailed report of our boys and girls in the armed services will be given later. Earl Grey, as everywhere else, was as it were put on a war footing. The cadet corps was organized that autumn with Mr. J. D. McLeod as chief instructor. This replaced the activity groups and the period formerly held by them. Tuesday at 11:00, was given over to cadet training. During the autumn we conduct squad drill and preliminary battalion drill on the school grounds. When winter closed in, we moved indoors for training in signaling, map reading, first aid, and physical training. Rifle practice was held at the Grenadiers’ Range at Main St. and York Ave. Then in the spring, outside again, we polished up our training and drill in preparation for the first Annual Inspection. This was held on April 25, 1941 with Lieut. Hart as Inspecting Officer. The enrollment was 232 and Lieut. Hart’s report stated:
In the Musical Festival during these years, 1932 – 1941, the grade 7 to 9 chorus won the Sir William van Horne shield five times. This shield has been brought to Earl Grey twelves times in all. In 1939, this chorus under Miss Hicks again won the Earl Grey Trophy, singing “Night in the Woods” by George Rathbone and “From Tyrant Laws” by Arne. The boys’ choruses came home with the Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner shield in 1933 and the James Tees shield in 1936.
In 1933, four shields for classroom choirs were brought to the school: grades 1 and 2 won the Handel shield, grades … Consul in Winnipeg. These are the awards. The Effie Thompson Award and the Max Steinkopf Award to the girl and the boy who show the greatest all round interest in the school and its work, the Annie Pullar Award for music and art to the girl or boy who shows outstanding ability in these fields, the Minnie Halliday Award and the Thomas Harper Award to the girl and the boy who show proficiency in practical arts, and the J. S. Little Award to the girl or boy who has made the most progress during the year by consciously and determinedly overcoming difficulties. The first winners of these awards were:
The Academic Honor Roll at this time shows some noteworthy names. In 1932 Bruce Walker and May Barbour are listed for the third time, Bruce and May leading all the way in grades 7 and 8 and tying with Catherine Blackwood in grade 9. Other three-time winners were: Andrew Douglas, 1933, Kirke Smith, 1934, Kathleen Jackson, 1935, William Jackson, 1936, Margaret Pratt, 1937, Mina Woodhead, 1938. Peter Jackson won in grade 7 and grade 9, 1935, being edged out in grade 8 by Melville Ivey. Peter and Kathleen were brother and sister and William, the following year, was a brother. Marie Bird and Joyce Parks tied for honors all through the three years. In 1941, Joyce Hardyman tied with Dorothy Beales for the second time, Joyce having won alone in grade 7.
It is fitting to record one other series of awards, as doing so gives us an opportunity to mention a number of good friends of Earl Grey who have contributed to its welfare. This, the Earl Grey Honor Society, includes a certificate enrolling in its membership anyone so honoring us. We will record a few of the members. Three should be given special mention on account of their continued support. Mrs. Walter Luck, who was accompanist on several occasions, notably for “The Toymakers” and on the visit of the chorus to Grand Forks, Miss Bernice King, who trained and conducted the orchestra for several months, and Miss Winnifred Rutherford, who helped to train the dancing groups for the Toymakers. From the list we may select these names: Mr. W. G. Monson, who for several years was chairman of the community boys’ work committee, Dr. A. B. Baird, who gave a talk on his experiences in the West in the 1880s, Lt. Col. Gillespie, showing films on first aid and home nursing, Mr. Reg. Threlfell, coach of the Blue Bombers, a talk on football, Mr. P. C. Curd, experiences in the Royal Navy, Prof. Milton S. Osborne, Greek and Roman architecture, and Mr. Leroy Toll, hitch hiking around the world.
One other worthwhile contribution of Mr. Morgan to the school was the setting up of a central library. The household arts was transferred from the large room on the top floor to Room 26, which was redecorated and furnished. Its former room was set aside for the new library with Miss Jean Irvine as librarian. As this event coincided with the Silver Jubilee of Earl Grey, it was decided to include the opening ceremonies within these celebrations.
The year 1940 marked the twenty-fifth year of the school and the next year a series of celebrations was held. The first of these was on January 27, 1941, a concert by the elementary school. The programme included a two-act playlet directed by Miss Forrest and Mrs. Luck, the dialogue by Miss Moran and Miss McDiarmid, a Mother Goose play by Miss Halpenny and Miss Muir, and singing games by Miss Brown and Miss de Jong. On May 7th, there was a Silver Jubilee At Home in the new library with more than a thousand former students, teachers and friends in attendance. The main feature was the dedication of the library by Mr. Adam Beck, chairman of the School Board, Mr. R. B. MacInnes, a member of the Board, and Miss Irvine, librarian. Mr. J. S. Little gave a “Review of the School’s early History.”
During the years immediately prior to Mr. Morgan’s leaving, we lost two more pioneers. Miss Winnie Warters left in 1941, the last of the originals on the junior high staff, and Mrs. Main, who had come within the three-year trial period, was no longer with us. However, she had been back many times since to fill in where needed. Among others quitting the staff at this time were Miss Irene Johnston, Miss Mabel Thoms, and Miss M. E. Moir.
When in the autumn of 1941, Mr. C. A. E. Hensley became our Principal, the world was going through the darkest hours of the war. The enemy had a stranglehold on the continent of Europe. The disastrous retreat at Dunkirk, with the glorious evacuation of our men, and the costly victory in the Battle of Britain had burned themselves into our very hearts and souls. The British Commonwealth had for more than year been fighting on alone. Is it any wonder then that during the opening years of this new chapter in our history our thoughts and efforts should be turned towards the war effort? Therefore, cadet training, Red Cross and other wartime activities loomed large in our lives, but not, however to the neglect of sports and other worthwhile features.
Again it is fitting to interrupt the narrative for a catalogue of names. This seems necessary to make this story a record of the personnel attached to the school. May we here then list the names of the staff as at September 1941. In the junior high there was: Miss H. Benedict, Miss E. G. Brown, Miss I. M. Davidson, Miss A. E. Hicks, Miss E. J. Irvine, Miss A. M. Johnston, Miss F. E. MacIntyre, Mr. J. D. McLeod, Miss J. Menzies, Miss M. Noble, Mr. H. Robertson, Mr. W. Throp, Miss A. J. Whyte, and Mrs. F. T. Whittaker. In the elementary: Miss M. C. Brown, Miss E. R. Dawson, Miss D. Fowler, Miss E. A. Halpenny, Miss E. McDiarmid, Miss M. E. McLeod, Miss V. Moran, and Miss K. O’Neill. In practical arts: Miss R. Baird, Miss A. C. Thomson, Mr. J. C. Love, and Mr. J. W. Murden.
Mr. Minshull had left to serve in the Army and Mr. McMaster had gone to Ottawa as director of the Army Educational Programme. On his return he was appointed general secretary of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. In 1942 and 1943, the School Board released three more teachers, all three to the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, Miss Ann Johnston and Miss Estelle Dawson to the Women’s Corp, and Mr. Harry Robertson to become an instructor in Nova Scotia. Miss Johnston and Mr. Robertson returned to the school, in 1945, the former to continue with us and the latter for two years when he was transferred elsewhere.
These are other changes through the earlier years of this period. Miss Kay had left the household arts room in 1940. There we find Miss R. Baird for two years and then Miss M. O’Donnell for six. Miss Thomson retired from domestic science in 1943. She remained in Winnipeg for some years and then moved to Vancouver where she has recently died. Mrs. Whittaker was transferred to Daniel McIntyre and Mr. Max Burns took her place in the French Room.
Two, let us call them, charter members of the staff, having antedated Mr. Little himself, left the school within the next few years; Miss Jean Irvine to retire in the East and Miss Eveline Hicks to take over the music at Isaac Brock. Miss Irvine had been librarian since the inception of the library. She was succeeded by Mrs. Menzies for a time and later by Miss Valerie Moran. Miss Moran just short of being a charter member by one year, had been transferred to junior high in January 1942. Miss Hicks had many years of music in the elementary before coming to the junior high in 1933. Miss McGrath succeeded her. Others who soon left were from the junior high, Miss Benedict, Miss Menzies, and Mr. Throp, and from the elementary, Miss Halpenny, Miss McDiarmid, Miss Fowler, and Miss O’Neill.
We may mention some early arrivals to the school: Mr. Gordon Duncan, a former student, who was here from 1942 to 1945, and Mr. John Pankiw from 1942 to 1946.
During the first years, cadet training followed much the same pattern initiated the year before. There was the usual winter training in signaling, both semaphore and morse code, in first aid, and in map reading. Every Monday afternoon, a section of the corps continued to take rifle practice at the Grenadier’s range. In 1942 – 1943, we entered a rifle team of five boys in the IODE competition. Our team won first place in Winnipeg and six in M. D. 10. As Inspection Day, May 1st, 1942 turned out to be a very wet day, we were inspected under cramped conditions in the auditorium, by Lieut., and later Major, Cummings. His report this time was:
As after the first year grade 7 was not included in the corps, our enrollment dropped from 232 boys to an average of 185. May we mention just a very few of the keenest cadets. Ken Coffman and Tom Lumsden led the corps at various times. Walter and Ted Nimick showed great interest and stayed with cadets for several years. Gary White went from cadets to the reserve army. Lyle Cuntz and Ian Laird are still active in the cadet movement, both holding commissions qualifying them as cadet instructors. There were four more annual inspections by Major Cummings, Lieut. Egerton, and Capt. Porter, before a complete reorganization of the cadet movement in 1947 cut down our establishment and transferred the corps to Fort Osborne.
Early in 1943, M. D. 10 provided an incidental diversion. They planned a mock invasion and blackout as part of their army manoeuvres. The invasion was presumed to be attempted from the south and the army was deployed to intercept and repel it. We as a cadet corps asked and obtained permission to take part. Consequently one bitterly cold morning around four o’clock we assembled. Headquarters was set up at the school with field stations at the toboggan shelter at River Park and along Pembina Highway and around the river in Riverview. Telephones were kept busy receiving and relaying messages. The boys, reporting in for school, all declared that they had had a lively and interesting experience in spite of the cold.
Mr. Hensley and the rest of us who were active in the cadet movement had come to believe there was something more needed in its programme to round out its training in citizenship and character building. To fill this need forest conservation was added. The word forest is derived from the Latin “foris – outside, beyond.” If, therefore, we could take our city-bred boys out beyond, where they could get to know the trees, swamps, hills as nature left them, by living in the forest, it would go a long way, we felt, toward awakening in them the true meaning of life and their place in it. In the forest they would learn to identify the various trees, to measure them and tell their height and age, to find board feet of lumber. They would learn the diseases and insect pests and how they are controlled, how the forest is protected against fire. They would survey lines and plot acres of forest, become acquainted with birds and stars. In short they would gain an appreciation of the forest by living in it.
To carry out this programme, Mr. Hensley planned a summer camp in the Sandilands Forest Reserve for July 1944. The first weekend in June, Mr. Love and he drop a group of boys down for a preliminary visit of inspection. In spite of rain the party reported a successful outing and that plans had been completed for the camp. Consequently, a score of boys went down in July to their first camp in the forest. Under the direction of the forest range, they learned how to measure timber and record the result, how seedlings are cared for in the nursery, how disease and insects are controlled, and by climbing the observation tower how the forest is protected against fire.
The cadet authorities at this time were planning to establish a permanent cadet camp. The site eventually chosen was on the north shore of Clear Lake in the Riding Mountain National Park. Early in May 1945, Mr. Hensley, Mr. Love, Mr. Pankiw, and Mr. McLeod drove out to look over the new site. We had difficulty locating it. Only a few pieces of equipment lying on the roadside identified it. It was indeed in the midst of the forest, an ideal site for our purpose but we wondered whether it would be ready in time.
We returned home Sunday evening. We gathered at school the next day, Monday 7th, 1945, under a noticeable atmosphere of expectancy. Shortly after school opened, a message from the Office announced that an armistice with Germany had been proclaimed. It was V. E. Day, Peace in Europe. School was dismissed and all normal activities were cast aside for the next few days.
Hard work at the camp site had accomplished the seemingly impossible. The first week in July the camp was ready to receive its first cadets. We sent our quota to that first camp on one thousand boys. Mr. Hensley, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Love, Mr. Duncan and Mr. Pankiw were our instructors. After a train ride to Erickson and a thirty-mile drive by lorry, we arrived at a camp waterlogged from recent rains. The boys scurried into their tents to survey their rather discouraging surroundings. But a wholesome meal in the mess hall soon revived their spirits. The next day, a bright sunny one, was spent in getting organized and beginning the process of getting the lines camp-shape. Much of the time at this first camp was spent in pioneering: grubbing, cleaning lines, and generally sprucing up the camp. Besides the regular cadet training the boys spent twenty-five per cent of their time in forestry. The programme was similar to that given at Sandilands. They learned to identify the trees. By using the chain, they measured acres of forest and counted the trees. They measured the girth of trees, and by means of the abney level, judged their height. With the increment borer they counted the rings of standing trees and so estimated their age. A bit of calculation gave them the board feet of lumber available. They got to know the animals from the occasional deer that wandered close by or by a side trip to the beaver dam. Two special visits were made: one to the nursery near Wasagaming, where the boys saw the seedlings set out and cared for, the other to the tower where by climbing to the observation platform they had an opportunity see how fires are spotted and their location telephoned to a central fire station. But the big day, to the boys’ heart, was the day they went firefighting. A pile of rubbish was collected and lighted. Under the fire ranger’s direction the boys were privileged to use the firefighting apparatus to extinguish it. This same programmed was repeated the following year under the same instructors, with Mr. Burns added to the list.
In the autumn and the spring during these years groups of cadets made several Saturday trips to the forest east of here. Cadet lorries drove us down the Dugald road to Vivian, where we turned aside to the Brokenhead River. The days were spent making paths, building temporary bridges, measuring the boundaries, estimating the trees, incidentally getting wet at times, and generally enjoying ourselves.
At the invitation of the Pointe du Bois cadet corps, a party of our cadets visited them on October 20th, 1945, for two days. On arrival we were welcomed at the school house and after getting acquainted were conducted through the power plant. On Sunday we attended service at the Anglican Church and later made the trip to Slave Falls to inspect the plant there.
The return visit was made the following February 9th. We received the Pointe du Bois boys at the Swift Canadian Company’s plant in St. Boniface and were conducted through. After lunch with their hosts and hostesses, visitors and hosts spent the afternoon at the Legislative Building and the Museum. On Sunday there was a church parade to St. Luke’s Church and in the afternoon a visit to the City Hydro Steam Heating and Stand-by Plant.
Henceforth, except for a small amount of instruction in the use of forestry tools and surveying instruments, cadet training was transferred to Fort Osborne. Following a reorganization of the whole cadet movement, in February 1947, the South Winnipeg Corps was placed under the sponsorship of the Lord Strathcona Horse and its establishment limited to one hundred boys, twenty-five from each of the four secondary schools in the district. Major G. H. Clarke took over the post of chief instructor.
As we conclude this resume of our cadet activities and before we consider the other features of our school life, may we pause most reverently for awhile to think on those sixty-eight former students who gave their lives in the war. The significant moment of every Remembrance Day service was the reading of these names and the silent minutes in their memory. Since 1948 this service has been held in St. Luke’s Church to give it the solemnity of that beautiful thought-provoking setting. In 1950 the permanent War Services Honor Roll was dedicated. This has been constructed by Mr. Caldwell, with the exquisite carving by Mr. Murden. It represents a three paneled Gothic window, the panels bordered by a pattern of leaves and fruits. Prominent are the acorn and the oak-leaf, with interspersed the leaves of the maple, elm, basswood, rose, hazel, and mountain-ash. The center panel contains these sixty-eight sacred names, while in the side panels are the names of the 533 others who also served.
A “Book of Memory” is being prepared to contain all the information available about these boys and girls. However, may we be pardoned if we select a very few from the list. The first of our boys to give his life was Pilot Officer Arthur Francis LeMaistre of the Royal Air Force, who was killed in action April 10, 1940 during the invasion of Norway. Frank Pickersgill, who had been studying in Europe, was in Warsaw when the Nazis invaded Poland. Going through Rumania, Jugo-Slavia, and Italy, he finally reached Paris. Caught there again, he attempted to escape to Spain but was arrested at the border. After three years in internment he escaped to unoccupied France, where he wandered for several months. At long last he reached London by way of Portugal. He eventually returned to France into the Underground. There he was again captured and this time shot. Another name we record here is Leslie Falardeau. His hobby was photography. Those who remember the film “The 49th Parallel” may have seen him in it. He travelled with the company as assistant with the camera and was photographed in a few scenes. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was killed in action on October 14th, 1941.
Let us here record their names.
We have told at some length about the forestry training programme sponsored and developed by Mr. Hensley for the extension of which plans are still being considered. But perhaps Mr. Henseley’s outstanding contribution to the junior high was in the field of science. Before coming to Earl Grey he and Mr. D. A. Patterson had written a series of three books, “Science Indoors and Out.” By 1929, these were adopted as the authorized science text books for grades 7, 8, and 9 in the Province of Manitoba. In recent years changes in the curriculum made a thorough revision necessary. This was undertaken by the two former authors with the assistance of Miss Olive Armstrong, the science teacher at that time in Earl Grey School. Three new books were written, the work requiring several years of intensive effort. Among the illustrations are many photographs showing students of our own school performing experiments or carrying out other projects in science.
This period of our history might fittingly be called Earl Grey’s Golden Age of Sport. The long run of semi-final victories recorded in the previous chapter now turned into a remarkable series of city championships. With the years since 1941, the school has won six championships in soccer and in baseball, five. Besides these there were notable successes in skating and swimming and in girls’ volley ball.
The first big year was 1941 – 1942, as it brought victory in both soccer and baseball. That year the senior A soccer team won the championship in a closely fought game against Aberdeen, the score being 1 – 0. Mr. Robertson was the coach, with Walter Hutt as captain and goalkeeper. The other members of the team were: Bob Candaele, Bill Courage, Melville Dodds, Jack Forrest, George Gardner, Cecil Kirton, Gordon McIntosh, Don MacLean, John McMurtry, Art Parsons, Walley Reid, and Jerry Todd.
The following Spring these same lads brought home the senior A baseball championship. The first of the final games against Lord Selkirk ended in a tie, 9 – 9, but they won their second game 8 – 5.
That winter there was a revival of interest in inter-class hockey, owing largely to Mr. Duncan’s enthusiasm. A series of games was played throughout the season. To vary the routine our boys made a weekend visit to Holland, Manitoba, where they met and defeated the local team. Another memorable night was the night of the junior high hockey tournament at the Olympic Rink, when four games were played by teams from various schools. Earl Grey tied its game with Isaac Brock, 0 – 0, but a break in the weather prevented the play-off. To stimulate interest in hockey two former Maple Leaf stars, Pete Langelle and Wally Stanowski, spoke to the boys in an auditorium assembly.
Returning to soccer, the senior A champions were entertained at a banquet in the library. With them were the hockey teams and the boys from Holland, here on a return visit. The Breen-Andrews Memorial Cup was presented to the champions by Mrs. William Breen and Mr. Ewart Morgan. This cup by the way is donated in memory of two outstanding Winnipeg athletes of earlier days, Billy Breen and Bert Andrews. Among others present were Dr. Pincock and Mr. Little, who spoke to the guests.
The year 1944 – 1945 was a bigger year yet. For then the soccer and the baseball teams brought home two city championships each, no less. In soccer the senior and juvenile teams both won their series, the first time in the history of school soccer that two championships had been won by one school. The seniors, captained by Lee Willis, won their final game against King Edward 4 – 1. The rest of the team were: Dean Adams, Al Berry, Alvin Charles, Frank Curry, Allan Ethier, Jim Favel, Allan Grey, Alex Herbert, Bert Kirton, Walter Knox, Wallace Lear, Tom Lumsden, Stan Rossell, and Walter Warbeck. The juveniles defeated Norquay 3 – 1. Here are the names of the boys on that team: Ray Ariano, Al Beach, Herb Bemister, John Birch, Clarke Chesley, Ken Coffman, Bert Favel, Joe Freeman, Pan Merrick, Tom Patterson, Jack Roberts, Ray Runcie, Chuck Sherbino, Elton Taylor, Dave Trainor, and Garry Zimmerman.
The following spring these two teams bettered the record of ’43. They both captured the baseball victory for the city, making four city championships in all for the school.
Other soccer championships were: midgets in 1946, intermediates in 1948, and again in 1949. The baseball victories were: junior boys in 1947 and elementary boys in 1949.
In speedskating the earlier days were uneventful. But in 1948 three relay teams, elementary girls’, midget girls’, and juvenile boys’, each won first place, as did also the junior girls’ relay in 1950. Some individual winners should be mentioned here. Peter Morris won first or second place three years in succession, 1947, 1948, and 1949. Brian Page won first place in 1949, as did also in 1951; Barbara Rogers and Bill Haywood. Mike Sherman came in second.
The record of the girls’ sports is, we are sorry to say, far from complete. But from the pennants on hand and from the various Year Books we have been enabled to unearth the following very satisfactory record. Since 1943 seven city championships in volley ball have been brought home. What more can one ask? The senior volley ball team won in 1943 and in 1944. Then the intermediates had four successive years of victory, 1945 to 1948. This last team was captained by Ada Thould, and consisted of Shirley Davey, Lorraine Davis, Lorraine Fiset, Donna Manning, Beth Maxwell, Shirley McIntyre, Irene Rebiffe, Shirley Saxony, and Arlene Sumner. Mrs. K. Kennedy was their coach.
In girls’ softball, between 1946 and 1949, there was an almost unbroken succession of division finalists. The juveniles won in 1946 and in 1947, the juniors in 1946, in 1947 and in 1948, the intermediates in 1947 and in 1948, the seniors in 1946 and in 1949. In 1947 the elementary team capped all by winning the only city championship recorded.
Before leaving this record of the school’s sports achievements our thoughts turn to Alvin Charles, an outstanding athlete, a good student, and a likeable lad. We were saddened one June evening in 1945 when the telephone told us that he had been drowned. It had been a very warm day in the interlude between classes and the final examinations and a group of lads had gone swimming in the Red River. To commemorate Alvin, Mr. Charles and his family presented the Alvin Charles Memorial Trophy as an award to the class obtaining highest standing in the annual field day. The first presentation was made at the graduation service in 1946 by Ralph Rogers and Walter Knox. Room 12 was the winner. Each year since then the presentation has been made in a special service by Mr. Charles, Alvin’s father.
Every year during this period we entered into the Musical Festival choirs and choruses in one or more of the various classes. Six classroom choirs won shields or awards for winning the competition in their respective classes: in 1942 the grade 9 library class under Miss Hicks and a grade 8 and a grade 7 choir in 1945 and a grade 7 choir in 1948; all with Miss Crookshanks conducting. Two elementary choirs won: grade 2 in 1946, the Brahms shield and grade 4 and 5 in 1948, the Elgar. Besides these a boys’ chorus from grades 1 to 6 won the Dorothy Mann Memorial shield. It has been impossible to track down the multitude of individuals who won their classes. But may we mention just four winners of recent years: Bill Cuddy and Margaret Ann Lyons at the piano and Vivianne Verstraete and Victoria Polly with the violin.
Some clubs conducted throughout these years ought to be mentioned. One was the Camera Club in 1942 under Mr. Pankiw, another the Art Club in 1944, also under Mr. Pankiw. In 1950 a group of science enthusiasts met during the noon hour in Room 10 with Mr. Hensley conducting.
Here are two of several visitors who addressed junior high assemblies. In 1944 Lieut. McMurray, an old boy of the school, spoke on his experience while serving overseas. In 1948, Mr. Mills, a missionary leaving for China with two daughters in the school, told of Chinese customs and traditions.
A very interesting and instructive Carol Service was held on two or three occasions around 1948. The first part of this service depicted Tableaux around the Story of Jesus. In the next part such Yuletide traditions as the Boar’s Head were enacted. There were also a French folk dance and a Gypsy dance.
There were two operettas, or rather one operetta repeated. Chonita was twice put on. The first time in 1943 with Miss Hicks conducting, and again in 1952 with Miss Crookshanks in charge of music. This operetta is a Gypsy romance based upon the music of Frantz Liszt.
These are the principals in this latter presentation:
Assisting Miss Crookshanks were Mr. M. A. Alpert and Miss E. G. Brown, who coached the players in the dialogue and Miss Grace Campbell in the dancing sequences. Groups of boys under Mr. Caldwell and Miss Hodgson constructed and painted the scenery and under Mr. Burns took charge of the lighting.
Let us regress a few years to May 1950. We in Winnipeg will not soon forget the Flood. On Sunday, May 7th, the School Board announced the closing of all schools. Many reopened shortly but Earl Grey remained closed until the first of June. Classes then reassembled until all schools were closed for the summer on June 15th. The staff remained on duty. Many of them served their community well: in the Red Cross, at the Community Club Coffee centres, or on the dikes packing sand bags. Others substituted in classes for teachers who duties necessitated their absence. The old school took a physical beating, especially the auditorium and the stage.
May we now look back to graduation day in 1946. As that was to be Mr. Little’s last year as principal of Kelvin, he was asked to address the graduating class. A snapshot taken at the time shows six teachers still at Earl Grey who had taught under Mr. Little. They were Mr. Joe Murden, Miss Ida Davidson, Miss Valerie Moran, Miss Florence MacIntyre, Miss Ann Johnston, and Mr. J. D. McLeod. Mr. Murden retired that same June. But since then he looks in on us frequently. Miss Ida Davidson retired in 1948 to continue her dramatic studies. We were all saddened on Sunday, April 30th, 1950 to hear of Miss Valerie Moran’s sudden death. She had been with Earl Grey since 1920, the second longest on the staff, and was respected and loved by all. Another charter member left the school in June 1951. Miss Ann Johnston, as mentioned earlier, was on the staff prior to Mr. Little and had been here ever since, except for the three years in the Navy. She married Mr. F. Diggle at Christmas 1950. Miss Florence MacIntyre left in 1951. When Mr. J. D. McLeod retires in June 1952, the final link on the staff with Mr. Little’s day will be broken.
There will then be three teachers remaining from before Mr. Hensley came. Miss M. C. Brown and Mr. J. C. Love, who came when Mr. Beckett was here, and Miss E. G. Brown from Mr. Morgan’s time. Miss Noble left in 1946. Miss Aleta Whyte was married in December 1947. Miss Louell Crawford returned to the school in 1945 and remained until 1951. Mr. J. L. Holmes was here from 1947 to 1949.
At the beginning of this story we described the school and its personnel as it was in the opening years. It is fitting now to give a comparable picture as at June 1952. In the boys’ shops in Rooms 3 and 4 are Mr. Love, since 1933, and Mr. J. C. Caldwell, who succeeded Mr. Murden in 1946. Going up to the top floor to household arts, where Miss R. Baird was in 1942, then Miss O’Donnell, Miss Skremetka for one year, Miss O’Donnell again, full circle round we find Miss Baird. Miss Skremetka went to domestic science in 1950. Several teachers had followed Miss Thomson in this room. The library is in charge of Miss Ruth Mitchell, following Mrs. Diggle (nee Miss Johnston). Miss Mitchell was a student here in the first years of the school and had been here as teacher for a short time. The art room, transferred from Room 11 to Room 27, was handed over from Miss MacIntyre to Miss L. Hodgson. The adjustment room, near by, is under Miss A. Smigel, following Miss Baker and Miss Daley. Another new comer on this floor is Miss E. Greenway in Room 28.
Miss E. Crookshanks teaches most of the music in Room 22, having taken over from Miss McGrath in 1945. Mr. A. H. Lawson has part of the music along with English in Room 17. The science is shared between Mr. J. Kozoriz in Room 19 and Miss R. Scott down in Room 10. Miss O. A. Armstrong taught science here from 1945 to 1948, when she left, later to become principal of our neighboring school, the new Rockwood. Miss G. Campbell handles the girls’ physical training from Room 18. Some of her predecessors were Miss Jackson, Miss Perfect, and Mrs. Kennedy. Other junior high teachers on the second floor are Miss E. G. Brown in Room 14, Mr. N. Belton who conducts an opportunity class in Room 16, Mr. M. A. Alpert in Room 20, and Mr. J. E. Lysecki, in Room 21.
On the main floor we have, besides Miss Scott, Mr. F. White in Room 11, Mr. M. W. Burns in Room 12, and Mr. P. J. Stark in Room 13.
Turning to the elementary school, we find Mrs. J. E. Fenny in Room 8, which has been very tastefully refitted as a Kindergarten. In Room 5 Miss M. C. Brown has for many years looked after the beginners in grade 1. Miss L. Olafsson this year has taken over grades 1 and 2, in Room 7, from Miss A. M. Graham, who had been here from 1945 to 1951, transferring then to La Verendrye School. Miss E. M. Lavender in Room 6 and Miss E. Prang in Room 9 complete the elementary list on the main floor. Downstairs we find Mrs. B. Sharpe, a new comer, and Mrs. D. Rennie, returning in 1950. She had taught here previously as Miss Sharpe.
We climb to the top floor again to Room 23. Miss E. Riley had been here from 1945 to 1951, when she was transferred elsewhere. Miss A. G. Balderstone, in the school since 1947, took over the room. In Room 24 we find Miss E. A. P. Fraser since 1945. Miss I. Clement has taught an opportunity class in Room 25 since 1947. Room 15 was in charge of Mr. J. Partridge from 1947 to 1950 when Mr. D. Crawley took over. Mr. Crawley is leaving this summer for Oxford where he will be studying for the next few years.
In the Principal’s Office, we find Mr. C. A. E. Hensley, the principal and Mr. J. D. McLeod as vice-principal, and Miss Josephine Fletcher as secretary. We should mention also Miss M. Fryers, the school nurse, and Miss J. Wilton, the visiting teacher. The service staff includes Mr. R. Doylend, head janitor, with Mr. R. Bennett, and Mr. W. Prophet. Mr. J. D. Smith is the engineer.
As this story is being written, the spring of 1952, Earl Grey is completing thirty-seven years of its life or thirty-three years as junior high. It would be an endless task to count the number of boys and girls who have been graduated from its grade 9 classes, many to win success and renown in the world outside. But in these pages we have listed the names of 116 teachers, each of whom had his or her part in directing the minds and lives of this host of students. Although the school is young according to time in the East or in other lands, yet these years have been years packed with a rich and varied experience. We recall the extensive series of operettas and dramatic presentations, the organized activity groups, the friendly interchange of visits with our neighbors to the South, the continued participation in the Musical Festival, the vigorous and successful sports programme. During the war years we had the extensive cadet training and forestry project. We shall never forget the service rendered and the sacrifices made by the noble six hundred who enlisted in the armed services, sixty-eight of whom paid the supreme price. Through all this the main purpose of a school was emphasized; the teaching and the examining, as witnessed by the success of our graduates. In recent years a new school song has taken its place beside the old. The world and the music were written by Mr. W. F. Anderson. And with its words, we close.
Page revised: 16 May 2015