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EDUCATION IN LAWRENCETOWN

The Early Schools High School opened 1961
Elementary School opened 1977 The Survey School (COGS)

THE EARLY SCHOOLS

The earliest schools in Lawrencetown were private schools for children whose parents could afford such education or in the home where parents passed on their knowledge to their own children.

In 1826, the compulsory school act was passed in the province of Nova Scotia. Under the terms of this Act, school sections were established and every community now became responsible for the operation of a school. At this time, each classroom was considered "a school".

One of these early private schools was located on the site of the Lawrencetown Post Office. Mrs. Crispe was the teacher. Another early private school was located in the eastern end of Lawrencetown, at the junction of the old Fitch road and Highway One at the northeast corner of this intersection. Dr. L.R. Morse, Senior, taught here in 1858 before leaving to study medicine. The school stayed in use until 1877, and today is used as a wood house at the Oakes-Peters house, just east of Oakes Brook on the south side of the road. A third school existed on the opposite side of the Annapolis river. The school house stood on the north side of highway 201.

The funds for these schools were collected from the parents according to the number of children per family attending school. An example of one rate was two dollars, per quarter, per child.

The Daniels Settlement, west of Lawrencetown Lane, erected their school house on the south side of the river, immediately east of Mr. Elvin Daniel's house, which is now owned by John VanHunen. This school served the people of the Daniels' Settlement until 1877, and still exists as the southeast part of Mr. Harvey Daniels' house.

The Whitman settlement, east of Lawrencetown Lane, also established their own school at approximately the same time. This school was built on the property now owned by Mr. W.A. Martyn. In both of the Whitman and Daniels' Settlements, the highest educated man in the district was often appointed teacher and paid by the settlement.

In 1865, the government of Nova Scotia introduced the Free School Act, establishing public schools. The first two public schools in Lawrencetown were located north of the river. One was on the site of Mr. Ted Emmett's home [ the same school that Dr. L.R. Morse taught at in 1858], the other was on the site of Mr. Doucette's house.

These schools were crudely equipped and taught only the fundamentals. Mr. W.A. Calnek, author of History of the County of Annapolis, served as a teacher in Lawrencetown around this time. The money for the operation of these schools was raised primarily from land assessment in the school section.

On June 24, 1867, the Misses Ross School was open for the instruction of Young Ladies in different branches of English Education, music, drawing and French. Classes were held in the home of their father, Mr. John Ross, Esq., now the home of the Reverend E.G. Corey.

A private boys school was also opened a short time afterward, by J.B. and C.F. Hall. This school was better equipped than the public schools nearby.

As Lawrencetown grew the need for one centralized school grew also. In 1877, after long and acrimonious arguments, the schools of the Whitman and Daniels Settlements, along with the town schools, consolidated into one school section. The village, with the aid of the provincial government, built a new two room school on the north corner of the Lane and the North Williamston Road. At the turn of the century a third room was added to the existing two room structure to accommodate the high school.

Among the principals at this time were F.E. Wheelock (later Ph.d), O.P. Goucher (later an M.L.A.), and Mr. Richardson. Mr. B.S. Banks served as principal of this school from 1911 to 1918.

With the population steadily increasing, an even larger school was needed. The new Lawrencetown High School (torn down in 1977) was designed by Leslie R. Fairn and Associates of Wolfville, N.S, and opened in the fall of 1925. This school had a staff of seven teachers, giving instruction in music, domestic science, manual training, plus the usual academic subjects. The school had a laboratory and a library.

One of the most notable teachers at this school was Dr. Harold Nason. Dr. Nason was a very energetic and intelligent principal. It is difficult to find words to express the feeling between Dr. Nason and the students and the parents of Lawrencetown. He was not only an excellent academic teacher, but he also taught a lot about life, both in and out of the classroom. Dr. Nason showed his interest and his dedication to the people of Lawrencetown by his involvement in the school activities and his leadership in teaching. He was offered a job as a teacher in New Brunswick as a college professor, but stayed in Lawrencetown. As the principal of Lawrencetown School from 1934 to 1946, Dr. Nason introduced many new programs to the school curriculum. The first Industrial Arts department and the first Grade XII class along with a Household Science program and a Farm Mechanics course were among the improvements he made. Mr. Beck was vice-principal during this time.

Dr. Nason was also the manager of the Lawrencetown High School Hockey teams that played in the provincial championships in 1935-36 and 1936- 37. Mr. Frank Foley was the coach. The team's participation in the provincial final was quite a feat since all schools in the province were eligible regardless of the size of their enrolment. Dr. Nason arranged transportation for the team to Bridgetown or Middleton for practices and local games. He had the support of the parents and was largely responsible for very existence of the team. The 1935-36 team faced Queen Elizabeth High School in the championship, which was a two game total goal series. Queen Elizabeth High won the title 9-7 (6-4 in Halifax;3-3 in Bridgetown). The Lawrencetown team was at a disadvantage from the start because several players were ill with the flu. The players were: Ken Elliott, goal; Loris Balcom, Don Fiske, Dan MacLeod, defence; Ivan Gillis, Fred Fiske, Bob Howlett, Mark Leonard, Edwin Elliott, J. Stillwell and Gordon Balcom, forwards.

The 1936-37 edition of the Lawrencetown High School hockey team played Morrison High School of Antigonish for the Provincial championship. The Morrison squad won the one game "sudden death" final 2-1. Mark Leonard scored the goal for Lawrencetown. Team members were: Ken Elliot, goal; Don Fiske, Dan MacLeod, defence; Fred Fiske, Bob Howlett, Mark Leonard, Edwin Elliot, J. Stillwell and Gordon Balcom, forwards.

In 1937, an outdoor rink was constructed behind the old fire hall across the tracks. This was a great improvement for winter sports facilities over the former outdoor rink at the Exhibition Grounds used between 1926 and 1934.

The boys' program for conditioning also included boxing in the Demonstration Building. This rink, served the village until the new one was erected in 1970.

When Dr. Nason left Lawrencetown School in 1942 to become manager of the J.D. MacKenzie Creamery, he was succeeded as principal by his sister-in- law, Miss Elizabeth Orchard. Dr. Nason later became Deputy Minister of Education for Nova Scotia and retired in 1976. Mr. Bertram Newcombe took over from Miss Orchard in 1945 and he was followed by Miss Elizabeth Dargie who in turn was replaced by Mr. Donald Wolfe, a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War Two. Mrs. Evelyn Rose Bishop became Principal of the school in the early 1950s.

In 1946 Middleton and district schools had been consolidated into a large school section and invited Lawrencetown to join them. Lawrencetown refused. Two years later Bridgetown consolidation followed that of Middleton and Lawrencetown was placed in the Bridgetown district without being consulted.

Stubbornly resisting amalgamation, the Lawrencetown school section voted to keep the high school open despite the problems of having a large school on each side. The large school, which had much better facilities, competed successfully with Lawrencetown for teachers. For example, at the end of one year during this unpredictable period, six of the seven teachers at the high school resigned to go elsewhere! The Municipal School Board continued to apply pressure to have the school closed. Although a vast majority of the people in the Lawrencetown school section were in favour of continuing the high school program, gradually more parents sent their children to the bigger schools. Each school meeting was a very hot affair between those who wanted to close the school and those who wanted to keep it open. About 100 people would attend these meetings, and when a vote was finally taken the majority ruled that the school would remain open. The vote was about ninety-five percent in favour of keeping the school but several did not vote when they saw the affirmative trend. Following this decision $20,000 was voted to build an additional room on the school. This money was to be raised by local taxation only. The school was in grave trouble. It was overcrowded and had no provincial funds to help pay salaries.

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HIGH SCHOOL OPENED 1961

In 1955, Mr.John MacPherson was hired as principal, having come from Middleton after teaching one year there. Mr.MacPherson was a native of Glace Bay, N.S. and had been a geologist at a mine in Cape Breton and previously had served in the Royal Canadian Navy.

During his time as principal, the Grade XII was discontinued because of the small number of students and the problem of hiring teachers. There were no extracurricular activities allowed in the school because of the low scholastic standards. Miss Evelyn Bishop stayed for one year as vice-principal before going to Middleton to teach. Because the students wanted to keep their school, they worked harder and thus the criticism of the school faded somewhat. The Municipal School Board was no longer pressing to close the school.

Mr. MacPherson wrote a lengthy brief which was supported by the school trustees. In it he outlined a consolidation of the schools surrounding the Lawrencetown section: Mount Hanley, St. Croix, Clarence, Albany and Springfield. The Municipal School Board accepted the proposal with enthusiasm after several meetings with the school trustees. Mr. Clyde A. Whitman and Mr. Arthur Barteaux were very helpful in convincing the Municipal School Board of the advantages of having a Consolidated School in Lawrencetown. The Consolidation took place without Port Lorne, St. Croix and Springfield.

Mr. MacPherson spent a good many weeks planning and ordering equipment for the new school. He did such an outstanding job of setting up the new school that other school boards have used his estimates for establishing other new schools. His estimates included the orders of desks, chairs, equipment for the chemistry laboratory, industrial arts and home economic departments, plus other needed school supplies.

The final decision not to consolidate with Middleton or Bridgetown was made at a meeting in the old school house with one hundred rate payers attending. Once the new consolidated school was accepted by the municipality, opposition to the continuation of the school turned to enthusiastic support. Construction of the new school started in August, 1960 and was completed for the 1961 school year. The new school proved to be too small by the 1965-66 term, so grades 1, 2and 3 were sent to the redecorated old school.

Mr.John MacPherson was the first Supervising Principal of the new school and Mr. Burton Hersey, who was well liked for his sense of humour and his teaching ability, was the vice-principal from 1962 -64. After nine progressive years at Lawrencetown, Mr. MacPherson tendered his resignation in March, 1964. He then became supervising principal in Barrington. Mr. Hersey later became principal of the Berwick Schools.

In the fall of 1964 Mr. Robert Perry took over the job of supervising principal with Mrs.B. Aldhouse as vice principal. Mrs. Aldhouse went to New Germany the following year and was replaced by Mr. Aidan Dukeshire.

Lawrencetown has been fortunate to have many teachers who have been interested in the improvement of the school. In 1962 Mr. and Mrs. Canning joined the staff and did a lot to help the new school in the early years. Mr. Robert Sanford and Mr. Dawson Farrington joined the staff in 1964 . These two men have contributed much to the school and the community as a whole. With the start of the 1969-70 school year, Lawrencetown High once again had a new principal, Mr. Garth Murphy, who stayed for two years. The vice-principal was Mr.Farrington. The latest principal is Mr. Aidan Dukeshire. Mr.Dukeshire was hired in 1971 and since then the grade XII class of 1972 -73 was the first to graduate from Lawrencetown since the program was discontinued several years earlier . Mr. H. Anderson became vice principal in 1973 .

During the past few years the school has had some other teams that have drawn considerable attention. The 1974 -75 L.C.S.Flyers won the Lawrencetown Suburban Hockey League Championship. Team members were : Brian Connell, Bruce MacGregor, Paul Mann, Mike Veinot, Wayne Wolfe, Mike Hamilton, Scott Lowe, Steven Lowe, Marc Smith, Mike Gaul, Danny Lister, David Levy, Wayne Veinott, Claude Lowe (coach), Dawson Farrington(manager), H.Anderson(trainer).

The 1975-76 Flyers won the Lockeport Invitational Hockey Tournament and then defeated Lockeport again to advance to the provincials, where they finished fourth. The members of this team were: Russell Hebb, Andy Lowe, Ernie Barrett, Kris Larsen, Tim D'Aubin, Ricky Clayton, Brian Connell, Kevin Poole, Joey Beals, Steven Lowe, Jack VanRoestal, Jimmy MacGregor, Bruce MacGregor and Leon Fiske (coach).

1976-1977 has been the school's most successful year ever from an athletic point of view. The Senior Girls and Boys Basketball teams won their respective Provincial "C" School Championships. The Senior Girls Team, coached by Mr. David Whitman, defeated Eastern Passage 51-35 to win the "C" school crown. The players were: Tanya Mann, Pat Mallia, Brenda Veinot, Denise Gendreau, Mary Brydon, Janet Tratt, Mona Steadman, Nadine Poole and Penny Crowell, with Patti Canning and Susan Illsley serving as managers. The Senior Boys Team, coached by Mr. Kevin Turner, won the "C" School title by edging River Herbet 54-44. Team members were: Kevin Poole, Alan Jackson, Andy Lowe, James Mann, Gary Bishop, Steven O'Neil, Joey Beals, Jim MacGregor, Jimmy Mann, Tom Silver, and Andrew Bent (manager). This is the first time that a Lawrencetown Basketball team has won a provincial championship.

Among the outstanding graduates of the Lawrencetown school system are: Dr. F.E. Wheelock, Professor of Physics and Provost of Acadia University; Dr. Avard Bishop, Professor of Geography, Yale University; Dr. Lloyd George Elliott, internationally known authority on atomic science; Dr. Roland Richardson, Professor of Mathematics at Brown University and Dr. J.B. Hall, Principal of the Nova Scotia Teachers' College and whose estate is the main reason for the Survey School being located in Lawrencetown.

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THE LAWRENCETOWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

In 1975 the Lawrencetown Elementary School, which is on the north side of the Lawrencetown Consolidated High School, replaced the former elementary school which had served our area for several decades. It was constructed by the Municipality of Annapolis County to serve the village of Lawrencetown and the surrounding communities and is administered by the Annapolis County Municipal School Board.

The school was designed to accommodate about four hundred students, and it contains fourteen classrooms which are situated around the outer sides of the building.

A library, kitchen, remedial reading room, gymnasium, music room, administrative offices and a teachers' room complete the list of facilities. The rooms on the northern side of the building are designed to be used as single or double classrooms. These classrooms are separated by folding doors and between them a resource room is located. All classrooms are completely carpeted with the obvious exceptions of the art room and gymnasium.

The center of the school is occupied by the gymnasium, which is very well equipped for present and future physical education activities. The gym facilities include locker and shower rooms for both boys and girls, as well as an office for the instructor.

The audio-visual room has a seating capacity of 149, complete with theater-style seats. This allows the room to be used for lectures, films, and also, small dramatic productions, the first of these being "The Happy Journey", put on by Mr. Crawford's drama group in 1975.

The library is located in the south-east corner of the school, in the most quiet place possible. It has adequate shelving to permit expansion of resource materials in later years.

A paved playground is also provided on the north side of the building, with an abundance of swings and slides for the children's use.

The first teachers in this school were: Reta Whitman - Primary, Mary Pond - Primary, Olive Graves - Grade one, Catherine Black - Grade two, Betty Veinot - Grades two and three, Celeste Rafuse - Grade three, Peter Worden - Grade four, Jean Canning - Grades four and five, Barbara Tratt - Grade five, Steve Baskwill - Grade six, Douglas Morrison - Grade six, Carolyn James - Junior Special Education, Sandra Symonds - Intermediate Special Education, James Cuvelier - Learning Disabilities, David Whitman - Physical Education

The principal was Mr. Herb Anderson and the secretary was Mrs. Emilie Mallia.

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THE NOVA SCOTIA LAND SURVEY INSTITUTE

Two men, separated by a distance of 10,000 miles, two generations and entirely different backgrounds were responsible for the establishment of the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute. The first of these two men was Dr. James Barclay Hall, PhD (1843-1928),who, in his will, left funds for the establishment of a vocational school in Annapolis County. By the time the estate was settled the original 90,000 dollars was converted into 118,000 dollars because of the interest and dividends. Dr. Hall was born in Lawrencetown in 1843 and attended Horton Academy in Wolfville, of which be became the vice-principal in the year 1879. Before this he had been the principal of Lawrencetown School and had also conducted a private school in the village. At the age of thirty he obtained his B.A. from Acadia and a few years later, his M.A. and Ph.D from Boston University. The years 1880-1911 were spent doing such things as traveling in Europe to further his education, serving as Professor of English, Promoter of the Summer School of Science, and many other activities, including the writing of two books; one on German Schools, the other dealing with psychology and the history of education. Dr. Hall died in Lawrencetown in 1928, leaving his estate in trust for the creation of a vocational school in Annapolis County. The second man in this educational drama first saw the light of day in India in the year 1883. Born of Scottish parents, Major James Archibald Hepburn Church D.S.O., M.C., P.L.S. was educated in England and Scotland. He immigrated to Canada in 1902, became a successful engineer and retired in 1931 at the early age of 47 in Lawrencetown as a gentleman farmer.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939 Major Church, who had won his spurs with the 19th Alberta Dragoons and the 251st Tunneling Company of the Royal Engineers in World War I, volunteered his services. He organized the NO. 6 Army Vocational Training School Surveyor Class at the Nova Scotia Technical College (now the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology). With the end of conflict in 1945, the government in Ottawa was anxious for demobilization, and the axe was slated to fall on one of the Major's classes in Land Surveying which was halfway through its course. The army had ordered the termination of the educational project, which kindled the vision, vigour and tenacity of this resourceful Scot. Mr. Church pointed out that the military agencies had an obligation to find employment for the demobilized forces and he contended that his course was preparing them for just that. In 1948, "Major Church's School" moved to Annapolis County and led a nomadic existence, not only in being supervised by different government agencies but also in its location, for it moved from Middleton to Lawrencetown, and in the latter village was located in such places as the Agricultural Building and a lean-to shed adjacent to the old Legion Hall. Finally, in 1958, both the provincial government and the Trustees administering the Hall bequest were satisfied with performance of the school and its merits, and because of this, a new cement, steel and brick structure was erected on an acre of land donated by the Legion. It was a two storey structure built on a full basement, measuring 56' x 82', with facilities for 70 students. Major Church's dream to establish an institution devoted exclusively to training surveyors had been realized. It was the first of its kind in Canada.

The name Lawrencetown has become a household word for surveyors from all over the world. The institute is highly regarded by engineers in the United States. It offers three allied courses: Land Survey, Cartography (map making) and Photogrammetry. The school has serious people, mostly with grade twelve diploma, intent on acquiring the knowledge and skills the school has to offer. They live in the community and the relationship between them and the village residents is, and has been, very good. With the popularity of the unique courses offered by the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute, its facilities were soon insufficient to accommodate all the student who were applying. To meet this growing demand the present Survey School was built; a $1.6 million, 50,000 square foot structure situated on 260 acres of land along the main highway in Lawrencetown. The school has 12 classrooms, an audio-visual room with a seating capacity of 120, library, student lounge, cafeteria, kitchen, three seminar rooms, administrative offices, gymnasium and a darkroom. The structure was financed by the joint efforts of the Provincial and Federal Governments and was officially opened by the Honourable Peter Nicholson in October,1975 although it had been in operation since April of that year. The present principal is Colonel James Doig.