Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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Brookdale built its second school in 1904. It was a two-storey building. Classes were held in the lower rooms with the upper one used for a community hall and lodge room. Mr. Millan, the first teacher was in charge until 1909. The first trustees were, G.W. Arnott, Angus Clegg and A. King.

About 1915 Harburn School District consolidated with Brookdale, and five years later Freeland and Belton School Districts also joined the consolidation. The increased enrolment necessitated the addition of two more classrooms. It is interesting to note that the last teachers of Harburn, Belton and Freeland schools were Miss Jessie Rogers, Miss Ducklow and Miss Edith Hockin. Three outstanding teachers, Misses Frances Huntley, Eva Calverley and Mr. Hugh Connelly, guided the high school students to fulfilment - university, teacher training, nurses training, and life in general - in spite of a very large enrolment of 115, poor lab facilities, and, oh yes, the horrors of the fire escape - a tin chute on which one of the big boys put the students on at the top to whirl down at incredible speed and topsy turvey positions to be caught at the bottom by another strong armed senior boy.

Concert & Public Speaking Contest B.H.S. Program March 1921 School Staff Miss G.F. Huntley - B.A. Senior Room Miss F.M. Cameron - Intermediate Room Miss E.V. Walker - Primary Room School Board Mr. J.A. Wilson - Chairman Mr. J.P. Lawrie Mr. W. Davidson Mr. H.B. Martin Mr. J.H. Layng Mr. J.T. Jones Program 1. Chorus (a) Old MacDonald (by request) (b) Where the Morning Glories Grow 2. Drill and Folk Dance 3. Recitation - Edna Curtis 4. Debate - "Resolved that a High School education is an advantage to a farmer." Affirmative - Will Gray, Myrtle Shuttleworth, Dora McLean.

Negative - MacGilvary Robinson, Myrtle Evans, Laura Robertson.

5. Rounds 6. Oration - The British Empire, Dora McLean 7. Duet - Myrtle Shuttleworth, Ethel Grant 8. Oration - Farming in Man., Max Hoffmann 9. Octette - Clementine 10. Oration - "World Conquest", Lome Mikkelsen 11. Four Part Chorus "Oh Who Will O''er the Downs" 12. Oration - "League of Nations" Myrtle Shuttleworth 13. "The High School Girls" - by H.S.B.

14. Prophecy by Frances Jones, Class President 15. "Fare Thee Well" High School Students 1920 - 1921 Grade 11 Frances Jones, class president Grade 10- Lottie Kinney, vice president Ethel Grant, secretary Myrtle Shuttleworth, treasurer Myrtle Evans, literary rep.

Bella Lawrence Barbara McKee Will Gray MacGilvary Robinson Harry Byram Grade 9- Willie Byram Olive Gowan, social rep.

Martha Dodds, asst. athletic rep.

Percy Chudley, athletic rep.

Frank Watts Loretta Crouse Cecilia Black Dora McLean Elizabeth McLean Elsie Yeo Alma Yeo Mac Nichol Eileen Crouse Laura Robertson Lorne Mikkelsen Grade 8- Doris Jones Hazel Robinson Jens Vinthers Blanche Kinney Edna Curtis Ernie McLeod Christmas Day, 1923 the school burned. It was quite a day! There was little snow that year so parents and kids piled into Model T''s or horse and buggies and went to watch the spectacular sight as the chemicals from the lab exploded. To the students'' chagrin and the teachers'' anxiety, classes resumed right after the holidays. Grades 711 were set up in the church with a curtain strung between the junior and senior classes. Grades 1-6 were in the Odd Fellows'' Hall with similar arrangements. Mr.

Hugh Connelly was principal and used the little room off the choir loft as his consultation room.

Many local senior citizens may still look at that room with misgiving. Brookdale School that year was, indeed the forerunner of the open classroom hailed a few years ago as the optimum in teaching methods.

A new four room brick building was constructed in 1924 at a total cost of $25,000. Mr. Hector Simpson was chairman of the board, Miss Calverley, principal, with staff Miss Renwick, Mrs. Grant and Mrs. Hills. Billy Borland as caretaker cared for the new school as if it were his family. The desks and floors shone, the gas lamps gleamed, the steam radiators kept the rooms warm and flush toilets and drinking fountains were a boon to all. A much better equipped lab was set up in the basement with sinks and hot and cold water taps.

Students were still transported in wheeled vans in summer and heated vans on sleighs in the winter.

That was the year, too, that Ken Boles planted spruce trees around the school yard. He must have had the magic touch because they are gorgeous 50-60 foot specimen today.

In 1927, Brookdale School Board hired Miss Merrille Brigden who held court in the six, seven, eight classroom. She was a stern disciplinarian yet showed real concern for her pupils'' academic and moral and physical progress. She taught for 15 years gaining the respect of her students and their parents.

In 1932-33 under Mr. Kramer''s principalship, grade 12 was offered for the first time. The teacher, Marie Evans taught seven students seated around the trustees'' table in the Board Room for the magnificent grant of $300 from the Department of Education plus $10 per subject from each student.

Bernice, Grace and Leila McDonald, Grace Oliver, Jean Evans, Jim Boles and Lou Vinthers made up this initial class.

It was not until September 1939, under the capable directorship of Mr. Doughty (principal from 1935 or 6 - 1941) that grade 12 was added to the courses offered in Brookdale High School.

Later another classroom was added by enlarging the staff room and taking some space from the grades 6-8 classroom. Some of the first graduates were Marion Simpson, Olive Boles, Margaret Lawrie, Frances Rogers.

It would be remiss not to honour Mr. Bay Dennis, trustee for 25 years, Mr. Jack Wilson and Wallace Moffatt, long time secretary treasurers and Mr. Harold Ames who took over custodial duties soon after Mr. Borland and gave the school and students the same meticulous care.

Speaking of long term employees, Mrs. Agnes Strang took over the grades one and two classroom in 1957. She mothered and guided the beginners introducing them to the wonders of books, nature and their peers until her retirement in 1969. Then Mrs. Jean McDonald carried on the good work for 14 years.

As enrolment increased, another classroom was needed. In 1958 a surplus armed forces building was set up just west of the main school and the staff was increased to six with Mr. Ewart Hudson in charge of grades 6-8 and the first serious promoter of the school''s participation in sports.

In 1958 the Beautiful Plains School Division was formed. Mr. Will Sirett, chairman of the new board also acted as the Brookdale School representative. In 1961 a new school was built in Brookdale, and appropriately named Unity Collegiate by Karen Titus who won the name contest.

Grades 1-8 remained in the old school with staff Mr. Hudson, Mr. Blair, Mrs. Boyd and Mrs.

Strang. Forty 9-12 Brookdale students and 3 staff members, Marie MacDonald, Jessie Mills and Lonnie McDonald, moved into the new building in 1962 and were joined by Well wood High School the following year. The teaching staff was Marie MacDonald, Jessie Mills, Marge Renwick, and Ron Stacey. Unity Collegiate, with almost 100 students, showed its prowess in academics, volleyball, basketball and track and field. The 1968 grade 12 class was the last graduated from Unity. That fall, grades 11 and 12 were transported to Neepawa or Carberry Collegiates depending on their home locations, Brookdale taught grades 1-9 and grade 10 general - grades 5-8 were moved to the new school. In September 1971 the old school was closed and grades 1-8 occupied the new building.

The past decade has brought curriculum and teaching method changes which have enriched the learning experiences of the students. Some of these are: excellent library facilities guided by a caring, dedicated librarian, Helen Mitchell; vocal training and band instruction with leaders Susan Drayson and presently Fran Fraser; swimming classes with Y.M.C.A. leadership; enrichment courses for the gifted and remedial reading, assistance with learning difficulties conducted by Mrs. Gordon and Lisa Reynolds. Hot lunches provided and served by mothers provide social opportunities as well as a change from lunch boxes. The well equipped gym strengthens physical skills activities such as walks for Cancer Research, volleyball and basketball - the 85 soccer team topped the Division - track and field training, and, of course school dances. The Brookdale students have won many trophies and ribbons in the Division and Provincial Science Fairs.

Mr. Jake Loewen was principal of the school for most of the decade. He gave his utmost to the welfare of the school.

Brookdale School has certainly been a leader of rural schools. The staff for 1985-86 is Mr. Don Clark, principal, Ellen Walker, Ruth Slezak, classroom teachers and teacher aide Gerry Oliver with the specialists Fran Fraser in music and Lisa Reynolds in enriched courses. They will, I am sure, carryon the fine tradition of our school.

1f 1f 1f Miss Murphy was puzzled because something sounded amiss when her class recited the 23rd Psalm. Upon listening carefully she realized one little fellow was concluding with" ----- and surely good Miss Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life_" Each of us carries in our hearts and minds bits of all teachers we have known. Some were good, some were not so good. Some we loved, some we tolerated. We did not spend much time contemplating their opinion of us. How did they see us? What did they remember about us?


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