Mem­o­ries of Greenville School

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION - RE; Bye for now Greenville School (June 21)

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

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