Pauline Johnson public school opens two time capsules - prepares material for a third.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 11th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the schools 50th anniversary and something the community wanted to celebrate.

The vision came from the mind of Carie DeMunck, a parent and lead organizer for the event.

The community wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pauline Johnson elementary school that was named after the celebrated Indigenous poet, author and actress who in her time was a major writer and entertainer.

DeMunck was able to contact the founding principal and a number of the teachers who opened the school, which at the time, was one of the first fully open concept schools in the province.

Cameron - Mayor - Miller

Founding principal Doug Campbell with Mayor Rick Goldring and Director of Education Stuart Miller

There were no walls, no corridors just one large open space. It was like one of those traditional one room schools in the rural parts of the province. Doug Campbell said that he had two hats; one as principal of the school and the other as tour guide. Every senior educator in the province wanted to see what an open concept school looked like and how it operated.

The open concept idea lasted five years – then the school began to expand and is now at the point where it has three portables at the back of the building.

Campbell was pretty curt with his comments on the decision to revert to a more traditional school set up. The open concept sounded as if it was the highlight of his career.

DeMunck explained to the Gazette when she was first in touch with us that “Our School is having its 50th Anniversary Celebration on Friday June 8th and 9th of this year. There was to be an official opening of the two time capsules, and a tree dedication.

Past principals, the Mayor of Burlington, and members of Six Nations were part of the audience.

The school gymnasium was filled with the elementary level students who were surprisingly quiet and well behaved.

A student choir sang one of the Pauline Johnson songs: The Land of the Silver Birch.

25th anniv time capsule

The 25th anniversary time capsule.

Time capsules

The two time capsules open during the Friday celebration of the schools 50th anniversary.

The opening of the time capsules was a highlight. However it was what the students wanted to put in the time capsule that was going to be created on the celebration of the 50th anniversary.

Students from each grade level trooped to the front of the audience and read out or displayed what their grade wanted put in the capsule. It was going to be considerably more robust than what had been put in on the 25th anniversary and by the millennial students.

Large large poster

Several students with their poster telling the Pauline Johnson story as they understand it.

Studens - black - teacher

Teacher holds up the Pauline Johnson poster prepared by a class of older elementary school students.

The two capsules were at one point placed outdoors, then moved inside the building where they were placed in an air duct where they gathered dust but were certainly kept dry.  Schools in Ontario for the most part do not have corners stones.

Students at tree dedication

Pauline Johnson public school students taking part in a tree dedication to mark the 50th anniversary of their school.

On Saturday there was a BBQ and a public reunion for alumni who have attended the school since the opening in 1968.

Background link:

Who was Pauline Johnson?

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