Photo Caption : Grades 1, 2 and 3 English Catholic students at St. Michael's College, 1947.
Front row, L-R: Carol Hamilton, John Butler, Raymond Delcourt, Ronald McDonald, Bob Horton, Paul Fortier, Bobby Dalton, Jamie Cameron, Mark Pearson, Teacher Alma Lavelle
2nd row: Leslie Smith, Philip Pearson, Leo Lacelle, Victor Laurin, Carol Kiernan, Billy Chenier, David Bastien, Lawrence Raby
3rd row: Tommy Kiernan?, Leo Laurin, Kerry Carling, Cecil Clemiss, Raymond Dalton, Blair Constantin, Vincent Clemiss, Gordie MacDonald, Mathew Brown
4th row: Leo Gorman, Floyd Neilon, Kenny Pearson, Daniel McFaul, Bernard ??, Raymond Lacelle, Delcourt Soucy
Fond memories of earlier school years
Throughout the 40’s and into the early 50’s, English-speaking Catholics in Buckingham received their education at College St. Michael. It was called a College since the Christian Brothers were in residence there. The teachers in the elementary school were women. Those who proceeded through to high school were taught by the Brothers.
The first four graduates from the English Catholic section were Willie Assad, Raymond Kane, Desmond Murphy and Patrick Ryan. The last two graduates were Erin Martin and Patrick “Buzzy” Gorman. Typically, the classes were a combination of several grades, usually three. There were several classes for girls and an equal number for boys only.
Although we were not taught by the Brothers, we were certainly influenced by them. We remember well Brother Corentin, who was strict and respected. We remember Brother Euzeb, whose smile was contagious. He taught Latin and directed the marching band. Most of us also had contact with Brother Hermidas Gamelin who taught Chemistry and Physics. The students would bring appliances from home to be repaired, such as radios, as well as other items. It was Brother Hermidas who started the gliding club and the little airport along the road to Mayo. We have fond memories of the Brothers sharpening our skates, of skating on the outdoor rink that the Brothers erected every winter. We remember, too, Brother Gratien, who operated the canteen.
Glancing back at the women who taught us, we can say that they were good teachers. Alma Lavelle, Bernadette Gauvreau, Lenora Dunning and Frances Costello were some of them. Miss Costello spoke quite loudly. It was due to her hearing loss. She was firm, yet she also had a sense of humour.
A testimony of the love and respect that we had for our teachers is illustrated in two examples.
First, when Brother Euzeb retired to a residence in Montebello, Willie Assad, Raymond Kane and Patrick Ryan would drive to Thurso to pick up Desmond Murphy, who was then the mayor, and visit Brother Euzeb annually on his birthday.
Next, there was a field of dandelions adjacent to St-Grégoire-de-Nazianze Church that is now a parking lot. The Brothers gathered dandelion greens every spring for salads. The yellow carpet of dandelions followed. I would often walk to school with Paul Fortier. One day, we decided to pick some of those dandelions to present to our grade one teacher, Alma Lavelle. She smiled as she accepted our gift and placed them in jars on her desk. Then, after school dismissal, Paul and I went around to the back of the school to look at the airplane that Brother Hermidas was restoring. As we rounded the corner of the school, we noticed a shower of dandelions descend from the window of our classroom. It appears that Miss Lavelle could not stand to have our bouquets of dandelions on her desk for one minute longer than necessary!
In the 1950’s, the English classes moved to St. Lawrence Academy where the French-speaking girls were educated by the Nuns. Classes on the English side were co-ed and extended through the high school years. The principal, known for her severe demeanor, was Margaret Gauvreau.
In September 1960, Our Lady of Victory High School was opened. Margaret Gauvreau was its first principal. A handful of us would go to Buckingham High School (now Buckingham Elementary School) to complete our high school education. Others went to St. Patrick’s College in Ottawa.
These are fond memories as we grow older.