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Centennial Hylands Elementary celebrates half-century of learning




Written By BRIAN LOCKHART

A walk down the main corridor at Centennial Hylands Elementary School in Shelburne reveals a display of more than 20 old photographs depicting the various one-room schoolhouses that used to serve the region.

All those old one-room institutes of learning were closed in 1968 when schools were centralized.

That was when Centennial Hylands was built and the first students were bussed to their new school home.

The school held an event on Thursday, May 10, to celebrate its 50-year anniversary and many former students and teachers arrived to reminisce about their days as teachers and students.

Former educator Marian Phillips was a grade six teacher at the then brand new school, having previously taught for 15 years at rural schools prior to arriving at Centennial.

“I liked it so much here I didn't want to go home at night. I wanted to stay longer,” Ms. Phillips said. “I came in here in 1968 and retired in 1985 from this school.”

Ms. Phillips started her teaching career in 1948 at the age of 17.

“I hadn't been to teachers' college. I was right out of school. At that time you could teach right out of high school. I had a full school of 42 pupils and eight grades.”

Fellow teacher Myrtle McCutcheon also arrived at the school in 1968. The two ladies became friends and are still friends to this day.

“They brought the students here from all these rural areas. All the old country schools closed and everybody came here,” Ms. McCutcheon said of the first year of the school's existence. “I was here for 18 years and then I went to Mulmur-Mono School because I was doing special education.”

Ms. McCutcheon started teaching career in Violet Hill at S.S. #2, Mulmer. That school is now known as Mrs. Mitchell's restaurant.

She remarked how much the school had changed since she was teaching there.

“They need to change. You can't expect things to stay the same. Even when we were here things changed,” she said.

The event featured a lot of nostalgia including graduating class photos and even a video that was shot in 1993 that was created to celebrate the school's 25th anniversary.

The school was originally supposed to open in September of 1967, hence the tribute name to the nation's centennial year, but it was delayed and actually opened in January of 1968.

Current principal, Tammy Fleming, is currently in her second year at Centennial.

“We timed this event to go with education week,” Ms. Fleming said. “We have around 400 students now. We have 19 classrooms ranging from kindergarten to grade 8,” she said of the school's current enrollment.

That includes the school's first year with a French immersion program of which around 150 students participate in.

“Some of the classes prepared the presentation in the gym tonight. We have some historical documents and pictures on display. The kids were very involved in everything that happened today,” Ms. Fleming explained.

Most people have a sentimental attachment to the school they attended when they were younger, remembering friends, teachers, and memorable occasions, and looking back fondly on what are really some rather innocent care-free days.

Some of the visitors at the event attended Centennial Hylands when they were younger and returned with their children who are now current students at the school.
Post date: 2018-05-17 14:37:06
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