Walkerton Public School
H.W. Alton - 1921 - 1952
William Alexander - 1957 - 1957
Robert Spong - 1958 - 1985
Sharon LaCasse (Ribey) - 1985 - 1989
Bryan Barrett - 1989 - 1993
Sandy Hills - 1993 - 1994
Clive Card - 1994 - 1998
Christine Irving - 1998 - 2000
Brenda Bergen - 2001 - 2002
Pat Blackmore - 2002 - 2006
Mary Reid - 2006 - 2008
Paul Robinson - 2008 - Present
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This was us...
There was a time when Walkerton had no school building. Although the first school was opened in Walkerton in the year 1852 and the local public school has been functioning here continually since then, the earliest record of the minutes of the meetings of the Public School Trustees dates back to July 27, 1874
The first school house was a shanty roofed building on Willoughby’s Hill, east of the river. The first teacher was Miss Nancy Wilson when the school opened in 1852. She taught for 4 years and she was succeeded by Mrs. Lamb. As the population of Walkerton increased the school was moved to the Orange Hall on Orange Street, but this was only temporary. Some classes were held over the old Herald Times office on Durham Street.
Members at that time were Messrs. Cooper, Collins, Stevens, Blair, Gould and John McLay, Chairman of the Board.
On September 14th of 1874, tenders were called for the erection of the public school. The original building was still being used until it’s closure in 2012. The tender of David Siebert, for the sum of $7,557.00 was accepted.
Prior to this classes were held above the old Herald office while high school classes were held in the building which was then in use as the Town Hall.
Early in 1875, upon completion of the building, Thomas Lay was engaged as caretaker. He served faithfully until 1902. Since there was no other building available, high school students were given 2 rooms in the new public school. Mr. C O’Gorman was head teacher in the new school. In the summer of 1876, work began on improving the school grounds and a short time later the present school bell was placed in the bellfry.
In 1877 the average attendance in the school was 322.
Mr. W.R. Telford was appointed principal of the new school in 1881.
Back in 1895 when the enrolment was at about 444, it is very probable that the old Victoria Street School, which stood behind what we see today as the present original structure, was in use. It was a large 4 room structure, 2 storey’s in height, which later stood vacant for many years. It was used for a short time by cadets from the public and high schools as a rifle range. In 1931, the building, it’s floors sagging, was demolished by Benjamin Whitehead for a fee of $500.
Mr. Harry Alton was appointed principal in August 1921. In this year there was a staff of 6 teachers at the school. There continued to be 6 teachers on staff until 1952 when an increase in enrolment necessitated the hiring of additional staff. After 36 years of outstanding service as principal, Mr. Alton retired, having completed a total of 40 years in the profession. However, he continued to serve the public as Family court Judge in Bruce County from 1957 until his death in November 1958.
In 1957, Mr. William E. Alexander, who had been a member of the staff since 1952, was engaged as principal and served in this capacity until December of that year, when he suddenly died from a critical illness. This was a severe blow to his young family as well as the community. The assistant principal, Robert W. Spong, completed that year as acting principal and was engaged in 1958 as principal
Enrolment had varied a great deal through the years. In 1895 enrolment was 444. In 1920 the enrolment had declined to 210. By 1930 the enrolment was down to 172. the start of an increase in enrolment began by 1940 with a jump to 191 students. By 1950 that number was 215.
In 1950 when it became apparent by surveys that enrolment was rapidly starting to increase, new changes and improvements were made to the school. A Kindergarten was established in 1951 in the room which had been used by the high school as a commercial room. Mrs. Clarice Pattison was engaged to teach kindergarten half days for the first year. In 1952, increased enrolment resulted in 2 kindergarten groups, each attending for half a day. Around this same time, as a result of forecasted enrolment increases. The board decided to build a new extension on the school. In January 1952, funds were assigned and the building was begun. The new addition included 2 classrooms, library, gymnasium/auditorium, offices, teachers’ room and storeroom. A total of 9 teachers were required by 1953. By 1958 they required 11 teachers at the location. By 1960 enrolment had increased to 434 and plans were once again underway to build yet another extension. By 1961, plans were finalized to build a 4 room extension at a cost of approximately $53,000. During the years 1964 to 1966 the original section of the school was completely remodelled to correspond with the newly built additions.
In 1965 enrolment was up to 472 and the newly renovated school and addition was full to capacity. Then the school saw it’s first decline in enrolment in many years. In 1968, Walkerton Public School became a part of the Bruce County Board of Education. In 1970 the enrolment was at 445 and by 1970 enrolment had dropped below 400.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, new backdrops, swings, teeters and slides were added to the playground, while the gym received new equipment.
In 1972 the board authorized construction of a new resource centre, a new staff room, health, guidance and medical rooms as well as an enlargement to the main office space. There was also a staff work room built as well as a new principals office. Extensive renovations were made to the heating & ventilating systems. The cost of the renovations was 28,185.00. The official opening of this area was held Thursday, September 27, 1973.
In 1977 an instrumental music program was started at the school. These classes were taught on the stage until declining enrolment made a classroom available to this program. The school bands, choirs and individual school musicians have done remarkably well at Music Festivals, School Concerts and other Community events.
Since the late 1960’s WPS has participated quite successfully in the South Bruce Sports competitions and in the County Sporting events. Our teams which competed at volleyball, basketball, soccer and track and field all did very well.
Walkerton Schools Heritage Committee
Back For the Future Committee
Sherry Lynn Bruder
1950s and 1960s Alumni Co-ordinator
John Thompson - Waterloo
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Brant Township Central School - Staff