Sunny Glen School No. 2041

Sunny Glen School in 1933

From Vulcan, go east 10 miles on Highway 534, turn north on Range Road 230 for 3½ miles and you will come across an impressive marker site. Surrounding the regular school marker is a rectangle of gravel with a large rock at each corner. A plaque listing Sunny Glen Students and those persons interested in the creation of the sign is attached to the marker post. Latitude 50.44861, Longitude -113.02885. The land location was NW 19-17-23-W4.

The school district was established on September 24, 1909.

Information from Virginia (Campbell) Jacobson, which had been gathered by her in 1935, when a pupil at Sunny Glen School.

Beginning of the school: Built in 1910, finished in June. Lumber brought from Nanton. Built by Mr. Frank Lee and Mr. Nathan DeWitt. Mr. Ulysses Diefenbaker was the first teacher, relative of Hon. Diefenbaker. School first opened July 5, 1910. Six families started: DeWitt, Mensinger, Munson, Norton, Forsythe, Bradley.

Teachers: First-U. Diefenbaker, N. A. Long, later a professor of History at University of Alberta., Miss Bertrand., Mrs. Anna Balstad, V. J. Bertrand, S. V. McIntyre (Mrs. Edward Armey.), Thomas Williams, later had a clothing store in Calgary, Margaret Campbell now living in Innisfail, Miss C. Sullivan, Miss C. R. Brown, Miss Snyder, Hilda V. Soley, Sarah Crawford, Roy Sharpe, Ray Kilpatrick, Mrs. Edward Armey, Mary Jones, Dora Harper, W. M. Lyle, J. H. Johnston, Olive Haw, Muriel Harber, Mrs. May Todd of Vulcan, Pearl Melvin, Miss G. McMaines, Miss M. McNeil, Miss Price, Bernice Olson, became Mrs. Murray, Gladys Phillips of Milo taught in 1929, Mayme Lebeau of Vulcan (1930-1933), Mr. J. D. McAulay of Calgary, (1933-1936), Irma E. Christie, now Mrs. M. B. Ardiel of Okotoks, (1937), Jean McPherson of Calgary, Mr. Pritchard, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Thompson, Rose Porter (Mrs. Reg Stein).

Those who served on the school board: Mr. DeWitt, Fred Mensinger, Mr. Genrich, Mr. R. Myers, Paul Norton, Alex McIntyre, C. C. Hadley, Mr. Sharpe, John Adam, J. E. (Ted) Campbell, Roy Adam, Mrs. Percy Myers, Percy Myers, Ross Walker, Lorne Healy.

Secretaries:W. Markham, C. D. Dewar, Mrs. Armey, Percy Myers, Mrs. Ross Walker.

Experiences of the school:

In 1920, the new hardwood floor was put in. In 1928, the yard was flooded, also the road. The boys had to wade to the barn to get the horses. The barn was built in 1929.

The Sunny Glen School building was taken down in September 1941. The Kirkdale School was moved down to take its place, later to be moved to the new Reid Hill school site east of the Reid Hill corner. Now at this time (1972) this school is closed.

Fred and Mamie Mensinger came with three boys, Ben, Adam, Fred, Jr., and a daughter, Mabel, in 1909. The boys of school age were settled in the newly built Sunny Glen School. Of course all big boys were kept home from school in the fall until all harvesting and preparation for winter was completed. They studied very hard in the evenings after outside chores were done. With the help of very able teachers, they also made their grades each year.

During the 1920’s, most of the homesteaders were driven out because of dry weather. The schools were closed as the people could not afford to hire teachers. Bill and Ethel Bittorf and their family, Wilfred, Bill, Lloyd, Stewart, Mae, Ralph, moved to the Vulcan area in 1926, to get schooling for the children. Bernice and Keith were born after they moved here. They all went to Sunny Glen School.

The Rebalkin family attended Sunny Glen School. Fred and Stella’s children were Mike, Anne, Dora and Cyril. Mrs. Rebalkin’s Russian cooking was really rib-sticking, with borscht, peerohi, nothing fancy but wholesome, enjoyed often by the teachers at Sunny Glen.

School Fair at Reid Hill Hall 1933 Teacher: Mayme Lebeau

Families also attending were the Adams, Healys, Campbells, Scotneys, McIntyres, Holoboffs, Bittorfs, Makortoffs, Salikens, Speers, Hartmans, Booths, Meyers, Walkers, Bergs and Mensingers.

Times were very hard in the dirty thirties, but there was a small orchestra. Winter Speer used to play with Stewart, Ralph, Bernice and Wilf Bittorf and anyone they could get to play the piano. They had some very good times in schools and different homes.

In 1939 the students were able to see King George VI and the Queen, when they visited Calgary with their school class.

The school closed in 1944 and was moved and amalgamated with 2 others and became known as the Reid Hill School. This introduced school buses. The horseback riding and sleigh riding days were in the past. Also past were the annual school picnics held at Sunny Glen, usually the last day of school, with the Healys’ and Adams’ homemade ice cream, potato salads, watermelons, foot races, ball games and often, a downpour of rain (very welcomed by all in this farming community), but remember there were no gravel roads then.

More information about Sunny Glen School may be found in “Wheat Country – 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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