COALBURN – Elizabeth Reeves puts her New Glasgow High School graduation ring on with pride.
She remembers graduating from the school in 1932, in the first graduation class it ever had. Back then, students received pins rather than rings for graduating, but Reeves had her pin turned into a ring “because it was important.”
The 98-year-old Coalburn resident read in the newspaper that the school was being torn down this week, which brought up 81-year-old memories for Reeves.
She remembers the layout of the building back then, what her school schedule was like and how exciting it was for country-based students like herself to take the train to New Glasgow to go to school for the day.
“There were five of us who went in from Thorburn. We would get on the train and then arrived at the New Glasgow station and walked up to the school,” she recalls. “Also, there were students from Sunny Brae, Springville and Eureka and they came on trains too.”
Reeves said students also came to New Glasgow High School from Westville, Stellarton Abercrombie and, of course, New Glasgow by bus.
“The classes began at 9 a.m. and stopped at 1 p.m. and there were five, 45-minute classes,” she said. “Occasionally we were given a five-minute break at 10:30, but that was usually just on warm days when we could walk around the yard quick for about three minutes then go back in.”
Reeves remembers there were two entrances, one for boys to enter and one for girls. Being a Grade 12 student when the school opened, most of Reeves’ classes were on the upper level.
“The first room at the head of the stairs was C.W. Spencer, he was the principal at that time. He taught algebra and trigonometry and the room behind him was Mabel Mckay and she taught French and I think she taught German,” she said. Then at a right angle, the first room there was Margaret Sylvester and she taught biology and then further along was A.G. Baillie and he taught ancient history. The next room beyond was Leon Rodeniser and he taught English.
“Then we had a class downstairs, that was Rutherford Murray and he taught geometry and chemistry and there was a lab further down there.”
While she has many good memories of learning inside the brick walls that are now crumbling down to make way for a new Primary to Grade 8 school, Reeves said she’s not upset about seeing it go.
“Oh well, I guess it’s getting old. It’s about 80 years old,” she said when asked how she feels about seeing it being demolished. “So I guess it had to be torn down, but it was a really lovely building back then. It couldn’t have been any nicer. Everything was brand new and shiny and it had a great big auditorium and it was a lovely place to be, we were certainly very happy there and the teachers were great.”
Reeves remembers her ancient history teacher A.G. Baillie as “especially good, but they were all good,” she said. “I liked them all.”