Shouldice School No. 4222

Shouldice School

Shouldice School opened east of Arrowwood, southwest of Shouldice, on the 16 January, 1926, in a granary attached to the chairman’s house, taught by Miss Nita (Jones) Boos. The school district was established on July 9, 1925. The district was named after the Shouldice family.

On January 28, 1926, the school district was declared to be a village district for the purposes of the School Assessment Act and any assessment and taxation for school purposes thereunder.

On September 23, 1926, the Board of Trustees were authorized to borrow the sum of $2,000.00 for the purpose of building a new school house of frame construction. The Treasurer was G. E. Harp of Shouldice, Alberta.

Shouldice School #4222 was constructed in 1927 by contractors Wm. Talbot and E. Rost, the trustees at the time being Wm. Thompson and G. E. Brown. Earl Harp was the secretary-treasurer. It was named after a local family. The parents and the government argued over the proposed site for the school. They held classes in an empty store, then in the new barn, and finally moved into the new school ready to be used for the Christmas Concert on December 22. The cost of the building was $869.00. The school was situated on the SE 21-20-22-W4, south and west of Shouldice. Directions from Arrowwood – East on Township Road 205A (follows northside of railway) for 7 miles, take curve south onto Range Rd 223 for just over 1½ miles. Latitude 50.71000, Longitude -112.98281

The Shouldice family had given land for a hall, church and school. (The church was never built.) The school was built a mile out of town on Shouldice land, so the children wouldn’t see the drunks coming out of the beer parlor. The school concerts used grain doors for the stage and sheets for curtains. Myrtle (McRae) Williams had a bed built in the corner behind the orchestra, where her folks could take her and put her to bed, with the orchestra playing till the wee hours.

The first teacher, Nita (Jones) Boos, taught until June 1928. The other teachers were: Madeline Hall (1928-29), Irene Terris half term (1929-Jan. 1930), Miss Tinney (Jan. 1930-June 1931), Harry Mowat (1931-1933), Helen Kennaugh (1933-35), Gordon Mowat (1935-38), Peggy Yates (1938-40), Wilfred Ryan (1940-42). Both Mowat young men were musical, Harry playing the violin and Gordon, piano and guitar. Dr. Gordon Mowat was later with the Dept. of Education, Edmonton.

Nita (Jones) Boosn recalls that the first Shouldice school created a feud in the district. The local taxpayers, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Education could not agree upon a site for the building. For more than two years they bickered, while the eligible pupils and the newly hired teacher experienced four moves.

In January 1926, Grades 1 to 8 convened in a 16′ x 20′ granary attached to the chairman’s house. Crowded, to say the least, we were subjected to extremes of temperature caused by the huge coal and wood heater in the center of the room, and the only means of fresh air being the door that opened onto the street. However, we dutifully recited The Lord’s Prayer, sang O Canada, and saluted the Union Jack before attacking the daily studies every day. Because the enrollment increased every month, larger quarters were necessary. Williams’ store had just been vacated, so we moved there.

We really enjoyed the space and light in the former corner store. When the spring rains commenced, we collected an array of pots and pans to catch the drips from the leaking roof; on the hot June days we were glad to sprinkle water on the oiled floor to relieve us from the dry heat; after one of the rolling dust storms, we cleaned for days to rid the place of sand and dust. That “school” served the community well at the time for socials, dances, church services and Sunday school.

In the meantime, the site for the new school was finally made official, southwest of the village a mile or so. For the fall term 1927, we moved into the spanking new barn, flanked by two equally new “His ‘n’ Hers”. The barn was cozy; from there, we watched the school house take shape. We rehearsed our first Christmas concert.

On Dec. 22, 1927 we moved again. Such a busy day! The concert was scheduled for Dec. 23. Stage, planks for seats, decorated sheets for curtains, tree, etc.-all were one big cooperative effort.

Traveling to the concert by sleigh, the village people were so late-the traditional upset into the deep snow had been successfully engineered.

That night, the Shouldice School was filled with the happy parents and friends of the pupils and their teacher who had survived a housing problem.

Muriel (Holden) McAusland remembers the Christmas concert put on by Miss Nita Boos and her pupils. For weeks they made ropes of twisted crepe paper, paper chains, cut and pasted paper holly leaves and wreaths, paper lanterns and other decorations for the hall.

Shouldice pupils 1939, on the way to the Music Festival in Milo in Sam Brown’s truck.

When their school was closed in June 1942, the children attended Queenstown school and in Sept. 1943 they were bussed to Arrowwood Consolidated No 59. Later the swings were moved to Arrowwood and the building sold to Mr. Bill Blower who moved it to Queenstown for a home on his farm.

More information about Shouldice School may be found in “The Arrowwood (Mistsa-Katpiskoo) Story: In the Shadow of the Buffalo Hills,” “Furrows of Time” and “Snake Valley”, at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at Aspen Crossing, Mossleigh, the Arrowwood Museum, the Arrowwood Post Office and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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