Table Butte school derived its name from the large flat hill about two miles from where the school was built in 1905. The land was donated by R. A. Hopkins, about 8 miles N.W. of Stavely across the road from Ross Scotts' now. At that time, Mr. and Mrs. Dorr De Graff lived there, when I started school in fall of 1910. Miss Jen Nelson was my teacher then.
Miss Nelson was a short, small teacher. There were also big boys who could only go to school in winter. I remember how she reached up and pulled their ears to take them outside when they misbehaved.
Teachers were paid the very remunerative salary of $50.00 a month. We were given little books as a monthly prize for good work and attendance.
I was told that the first teacher's name was a Mr. McDonald, 67 years old with long white whiskers. Chris Cochlan taught there also, as did Mabel Richardson, Mr. Trainer, Frank McKenna, Miss Eleanor Laurie, Miss Pearl Christie who was also an elocutionist who helped me a great deal with recitations. She also taught in Stavely the next year while I was there. She was not my teacher. But she helped me again for concerts. She later became Dr. Christie Dowling in Calgary.Some pupils that I remember are, Cochlans, Hopkins, Dulleas, Lyalls, Rushes, Florence and Harold Johnson who stayed with their sister, Charlie Orr for a time. A. E. Rodgers family, John Rodgers later, Nunhan Stanfords for a time, Millers, Schlossers, later, Ed McCraes, No Fumalds. Ida Fumald didn't go to school then but was always on hand for our concerts, as she pIayed piano and helped the teacher.
The inspector always popped in unannounced. He would ask questions as he stood with his back to the stove to warm his hands, etc. We didn't always give correct answers which must have embarrassed our teacher.
Our teacher would sometimes have as many as 30 pupils from Grade I to Vlll.
The school was the social centre for the community. We had church there on Sundays. A Catholic lady played for all the services. We had many debates, when Mr. Pestell debated. Mr. James Lyall sang Scotch songs. Always Christmas concerts. We practised for drills which had to be precision perfect. There were box social and other dances. I remember the "Old Maids Concert" which took in McChesney Blanche (Caron) Campbell, Mable Richardson, Furnalds, Bessie Scott, Mrs. Bystrom (a music Teacher).
As pupils, we walked to school before we had a pony. There would be two who would come early to build the fire, carry out ashes and carry pails of water from Mr. DeGraffs place. We swept the floor after school.
One little incident I remember - a mother brought her little boy to school on his first day, when she turned around to go home he crawled out under the seat, but when he got home, his Dad brought him back and he stayed that time.
Some of us went to Stavely to the red brick school where Mr. Henry Costain was principal, also a Miss McCrostie taught us as well.
We had to write Grade Eight Departmental Exams.
This little piece was copied from "Calgary Paper" in April pf 1902 which is as follows:" The examinations which children have to undergo under our present school systems seem to be devised simply to aid the teacher as to the classes in which the children should be placed. They are a high strain upon pupils, and preparation for them is often hurtful in the extreme!
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