New Reid Hill School No. 1847

New Reid Hill School 1946

The school was at SE 4-17-22-W4. Directions from Vulcan – East 12¾ miles on Highway 534. Latitude 50.39763, Longitude -112.96571

(Sometimes referred to as Reid Hill Consolidated)

In 1939, in Alberta, the Foothills School Division was formed, in which area the Reid Hill School was located. (This was before the advent of the formation of Counties.)The new school was to comprise an amalgamation of the following school districts; Reid Hill, Marshall, Prospect Slope, Kirkdale, Sunny Glen, Sand Pit, Sunny Lake and Lake McGregor. It was felt that the larger school division, having headquarters in High River and one school representative from the district, could handle the education problem more adequately. Willard Love was appointed the first member to represent the district at High River.

In 1944, when more room was required, it was decided to have a new site for the Reid Hill School. At that time land was bought from Mrs. Agnes McKay and two local school houses were moved to that location – three miles east of the Reid Hill Corner. Two more schools were moved in as teacherages and, while things were not entirely in readiness, school began.

The first teachers were Charlie Carson and Mrs. Sal Miller, followed by Connie McFarland, Anne Korvosky, Einar Kumlin, Ruby Grinde (Mrs. D. Schierman), Nat O’Hare, Dorothy (Smith) Nickerson, Shirley Baker, Gibbs, J. MacDonnell, Mrs. Mae Todd, Mr. W. O. Gidman, and a Miss Hollingshead.

In 1946 a fifth school was moved on the site and the three schools were joined under one roof, plus a large hall, cloakroom, and very adequate teaching space with a full basement and a large (perhaps 30 feet square) entry hall between the three classrooms. It was heated by a gas furnace. A very active Home and School Association raised funds to buy and install an automatic electric generating system to supply electricity to both the school and the teacherages. Turning on a light switch anywhere would start up the motor. This central school plus the two teacherages were composed of the schools of Sand Pit, Marshall, Sunny Glen (originally the Kirkdale School), Reid Hill, Sunny Slope and Harvey. When there were only the two schools at the site, the Junior and Intermediate grades were taught, but after the larger school was formulated, the grades included up to Grade Ten.

A group of interested and hardworking ladies in the area banded together to form a “Home and School Association” and with much hard labour and many card parties, auction sales, etc., were able to equip the school with a power plant, movie projector and several other items of necessary equipment, so that a very fine social life was maintained in the area.

Grade VI 1946 Reid Hill School Left row: Roberta Kole, Dolly Hartung, Linda McKay. 2nd row: Neola Crabb, John Kole, Ronnie Sims. 3rd row: Donna Crabb, Lorne Healy, Darlene Crick, Stein Lindberg. Teacher: Shirley Baker. Back row: Rosalie Hartung, Ylonde Larkins, Verne Orchard, Cyril Rebaulkin. 3rd row from back: Noreen Bowie, Ken Orchard, Louise Lundgren. 2nd row from back: Echo Crick, Leona Booth, Florence Larkins. 1st row from back: Ruthie Warkentin, Ronnie Cartier, Richard Fritzler.

The school began with a register of about forty students and at its close had acquired about sixty-five.

It was a very active community with a community hall a couple of miles west of the school in which were held community dances as well as the annual school Christmas Concert – a community effort. There were also Halloween parties, school picnics, sports days, and those famous softball games.

The bus drivers were a splendid lot, although their classification as such was a bit of a misnomer as they really didn’t have buses. The first year their “buses” were just pickup trucks with a box, with a door in the back, set in the back of the truck. They were labeled “coyote or hound boxes” as they were similar to vehicles used by persons who hunted coyotes with hounds. The following year, these were upgraded to panel trucks with benches on either side. They included Lawrence and Ruth Orchard, Tom and Laura Houlton, Bruce and Gwen McKay, Everett McIntyre, Norman Soder, Norman Reynolds, Alan Speer, Ed Larkins, Walter Dann, Norman Scotney, Johnnie Palmer, Louie Palmer, Roy McIntyre and Del and Reta Thomas.

Many local students, intelligent teachers and interested parents spent hours to make this “project” a success.

In the year 1949, the County of Vulcan was formed and plans began to bus these Reid Hill students to Milo and Vulcan. In the fall of 1954, the Reid Hill School was closed and the buildings were sold to William McIntyre.

More information about New Reid Hill School may be found in “Wheat Country I & II, a history of Vulcan and District,”, at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at the Vulcan & District Museum.

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