from the Guelph Mercury newspaper for Saturday February 21st 1953.
Local School Dedication Attracts Large Gathering
Number of Original Students Speak at Puslinch Ceremony
A rural public school which during the past few months has undergone a vigorous renovation and face-lift, was officially unveiled last night to the public eye.
The school, S.S. #2, Puslinch, located near Hamilton’s Corners on the Guelph-Hamilton Highway, was displayed to more than a hundred parents and school children. The night’s program, which featured as guest speakers several political and educational dignitaries, was another milestone in the recorded history of the school, already deep-rooted in Puslinch Township annals.
Built in 1886, the school was originally erected to replace a similar edifice located a few rods further along the highway towards Guelph. Of yellow brick, the school has been transformed from a backwoods’ home of learning to a modern, brightly-lit classroom with up-to-date fittings.
Repairs and additions to the school include a new hardwood maple floor, lowered ceilings, an enlarged classroom, the installation of built-in cupboards, painting, glass draft deflectors for windows, a teacher’s desk and chair, a new oil furnace room, inside toilets, a water pressure system, a sidewalk leading from the highway to the school, and a private teacher’s room.
Some of the changes were affected by the School Section Number 2 Puslinch Township School Board in 1950. The latest changes occurred during September 1952, when oil heating, the water pressure system, and the new addition on the side of the school were introduced.
In a simple prayer last night, Padre W. A. Young, of the Ontario Agricultural College, re-dedicated the school to the present and future generations of school children.
The former one-room schoolhouse was built by architect John Howe and contractor Thomas Foster. Its first teacher was John Kilgallon who taught with a third class certificate for three years. A succession of teachers followed. They were Miss Josephine Keenan, Miss Kathleen Scanlon, Miss O’Connor, Miss Franklin, J. Raymond Hanlon, John Hanlon, Miss Kate Hanlon, Miss Mary Hanlon, Miss Helen Hanlon, Miss Grace Hanlon, Miss Forest, Miss Dalton, Miss Killoran, Miss Lang, Miss Verne Bunyan, Miss Craven, Miss Reynolds, Miss Scollard, Miss McGrath, Miss Moore, Miss McGrory, Miss Mabel Brown, and the present teacher, Frank Lynch.
Scan History of Rural School
A log book being perused by, from left to right, Frank Lynch, teacher of S.S. No. 2, Puslinch, Gordon Duffin, assistant superintendent of elementary schools for the province, and Professor Norman J. Thomas, chairman of the school board, has contained, in its old pages, the entire history of a township rural school.
The school, S.S. No. 2, Puslinch, was built in 1886 and last night was re-opened in an official ceremony dedicated to the present and future generations of school children.
In service as teacher at S.S. No. 2, Puslinch, for the past 16 years, Frank Lynch was born and partially educated in Guelph. He attended the GCVI and later the Hamilton Normal School from which he graduated in 1936. He has attended summer courses at the OAC and has done university extension work at McMaster, Hamilton. He came to S.S. No. 2, Puslinch in 1937, which was his first teaching assignment since normal school graduation. Since 1940, he has instructed around 30 teachers-in-training. He is 36, married, with one child. His home is in Guelph.
The school also supports an itinerant music teacher. Present music instructor is William Badgely of Guelph, who teaches once a week.
W. R. McVittie, inspector of public schools for South Wellington, called the opening of the newly renovated school a “red letter day” for pupils and parents in Puslinch. He spoke briefly and lauded the township’s community effort in fulfilling its destiny of helping to teach the young. The cost of improvements was financed by 20 year debentures which were issued to the amount of $8,000 by the township council, plus the use of some reserves from the current school section funds.
Professor Norman J. Thomas, chairman of the school board, said the improvement was the first major change since the building of the school. Hydro was installed in 1939. He went on to say that a modern-type school was necessary in the present era for environmental conditions are important in the teaching of children.
At one time, in the early days of the school, there was an enrolment of five pupils. Now the school provides quarters for 45. Canada and its communities are suffering growing pains he said. In recent years, around 40 new homes have been built in the immediate region and several houses are at present under construction. The school program must keep pace with growth.
Referring to the cost of the project, he lauded the contractors, W. J. Clarke and J. Hohenadel and the others, who had directly contributed towards the finished product, for keeping the renovation costs within the appropriation.
Assistant superintendent of elementary schools for the province of Ontario, Gordon Duffin, officially re-opened the school.
He remarked that “newer school buildings are surely needed across Canada, for in each year for the next five years about 45,000 school children will seek admittance to schools.” “A classroom building development”, he said, “is underway across the province but in construction, the Department of Education must be careful of cost.” Inexpensive but permanent school buildings are needed. He expressed the opinion that S.S. No. 2, Puslinch was now of sufficient size to accommodate the present enrolment of pupils.
The Honourable W. E. Hamilton, M.L.A., also present to attend the opening ceremonies, thanked Mr. Duffin on behalf of the parents of the community and the local Board of Education for officiating at the re-opening of the school. He said that S.S. No. 2, Puslinch, had in the past produced many citizens who have contributed much to the progress of Wellington County and Canada as a whole. “The first pupils of the school in the early days were of good, solid stock”, he said, “and their character is still embedded strongly in the present day pupils.” He also expressed joy in the pupils’ apparent confidence and happiness towards their teacher and school inspector. “It shows great educational development”, he said.
Henry Hosking, M.P. for Wellington South, gave the large gathering reminiscent glimpses of his own life at a rural public school and stressed the many advantages afforded pupils who attend rural schools. “Pupils learn to develop their own resources in a rural school more than in a city school”, he said, “for a rural pupil has on the average a ten minute instruction period and must teach himself for the other 50 minutes of the hour.” An intelligent youth, he went on to say, is the country’s most important asset.
Bringing greetings from the secondary school, Fred. A. Hamilton, principal of G.C.V.I., told the many parents in attendance that rural schools play an important role in the educational system of the country, as graduates from rural schools, as has been shown in the past, can be found in many positions of responsibility across the entire Dominion.
The Reeve of Puslinch Township, Peter C. McLean, was present along with several other township officials and representatives from several school boards. Many of the school’s first pupils were in the crowd and some recounted their experiences in the “old days”, when the one-room schoolhouse was draughty cold in the winter time and extremely uncomfortable, when the water system was an outside well and when pupils had to walk a few dozen feet across the snow covered ground to reach the outhouses.
All agreed that S.S. No. 2, Puslinch, had undergone vast improvements in the past three years.
Alfred Hales, Progressive Conservative candidate for Wellington South in the coming federal election, thanked the School Board and everyone concerned with the school improvements on behalf of the Puslinch Township ratepayers. He said that “he was most grateful and thankful for the work done on the school”. “You should all be proud”, he said.
Teacher Frank Lynch told parents why he had remained at the school for the past 16 years. “You have shown interest in your children by this fine new addition that you have built here and by the many new improvements that you have carried out,” he said.
Both pupils and parents have been fully co-operative, he said. “From the condition of the home can be determined the worth of the child”, Mr. Lynch remarked, “and this school section has a good record of favourable home background.”
Remaining at the same school for a number of years gives the teacher and pupil a close alliance and teaching and learning can progress much more smoothly than it normally would.
He expressed hope that in the spring the School Board would undertake the landscaping of the surrounding school yard terrain and plant shrubbery. He also thanked the contractors Clark and Hohenadel, who undertook the building and renovation of the school, for their presentation of a new Union Jack flag to the school.