Memories of Greenville School
I read with interest the article, Bye for now to Greensville School, written by Jeff Mahoney about the closing for two years of Greensville Public School. My seven siblings and I attended Greensville, beginning in the 1940s when it was a two-room schoolhouse. Grades 1 to 4 were in the junior room and grades 5 to 8 in the senior room. There was no gymnasium or auditorium, no indoor washrooms and no kindergarten. The drinking fountains at the back of the classrooms were large crockery jugs with drip pails underneath and were filled from the pump in the front yard. We loved the opportunity to pull the thick rope in the entranceway to ring the school bell in the tower above. Children started school at age 5 in Grade 1 and could begin either in September or after Easter, depending on their birthdate. Sometimes they skipped a year if they made quick progress.
Our mother, Ella Sheppard, was a teacher and then principal of Greensville School from 1951 to 1968. While principal, mother taught grades 7 and 8. She inspired many, including family members, who followed in her footsteps in education. Some of her former students went on to illustrious careers. One was David Johnson, former Ontario minister of education and another was John Bryden, member of Parliament.
Mentioned in the article was how the principal’s husband used to make an ice rink that lasted all winter. That was my father, Ben Sheppard, who went to the school after dinner every night, in the coldest of weather, to flood the rink. Times were different then.
Once, when I was babysitting a local preschooler, the little girl said to me, “I know who your mother is. She’s the Queen of Greensville.” Yes. For me, that said it all! Frances Sheppard Parkin, Toronto