Gonor school, Gonor

During the year 1899 there was much agitation for the Parish Union Schools on each side of the Red River to split and form separate school districts. On March 3, 1900, during the statutory meeting of the Munc. of St. Andrews, a motion was passed. Resolved that it the matter of Sec. No. 91 of the PSA that B. McKenzie Gunn be appointed Arbitrator re: dissolution of North St. Andrews Union S.D. as proposed by Geo. Harcus and others praying for the formation of the Gonor S.D. on the east side of the river-“.

In the Munc. of St. Clements, just across the river from St. Andrews, was a similar motion passed, Oct. 14, 1899 Res. No. 159, by that munc. which stated: “That prayer of petition to form Gonor S.D. be granted and that J.J. Gunn be appointed Arbitrator for St. Clements. This was carried only by the vote of the Reeve as there was a split in Council’s vote. (Yeas–Councillors. Bunn, Campbell and Sidebottom), (Nays-Councillors, A. McDonald, D. McDonald, and Thomas) The Reeve broke the river by voting for the motion to carry.

Inspector McIntyre was a member of the Arbitration Board, along with J. J. and B. McKenzie Gunn.

Councillor A. McDonald of St. Clements thought the proposed S.D. too large, some would have to travel up to 5 miles. He would prefer smaller schools even though it
meant more taxes. Councillor D. McDonald had the same objections and also that there was not sufficient territory left to the south for the formation if needed or when required. (This would be Donald S.D. which was or had started agitating for formation). Councillor Bunn thought the petition should be granted for Gonor because to throw it out would probably have a bad effect on the arbitration at present in progress as to the division of
Mapleton S.D. (resulting in formation of Kitchener on east side). If the petition was granted then the arbitrators could settle what should be the limit of S.D. boundary all
along the east side of the river. The Reeve (Robert Hay) spoke strongly in favor of granting the petition. He thought the time had come for a separation of the two sides of the river in school matters. Doing this would probably lead to a reorganization of all the school districts on the river. It was a heated discussion but the prayer of petition was finally granted with the Reeve’s vote.

Finally, the Gonor School District No. 1070 was formed on May 15, 1900 by an award of Arbitrators, appointed by the Municipalities of St. Andrews and St. Clements and Inspector McIntyre. The boundary covered about 7,632 acres with land in the inner two miles being Lots 132 to 163, and the outer 2 miles of Lots 164 to 214, also the sub. Div. Pl. 3395.

The children on the east side of the Red River in the Munc. of St. Clements would no longer be crossing the river to attend St. Andrews and Mapleton schools, but were to be enrolled in their own school, Gonor. The many arbitration hearings had been heated and lengthy and the people on the east side felt jubilant over the decision. By mid May, 1900 the one-room school was Some pupils of Gonor School. being planned but the weather didn’t cooperate and it wasn’t until that fall that it was completed.

Miss Jane F. Yemen, first teacher of Gonor School, mentioned in a report that the school had opened in the fall of 1900 before the school was really completed or
properly equipped. The one-room school was made to accommodate some 50 pupils and was called upon to house twice that many.

In the spring term of 1901 Gonor had an enrollment of 75 boys and 55 girls. Miss Yemen left and was replaced by a male teacher named Clement E. Taylor. Dr. Grain had set up a full vaccination program at Gonor and all children were immunized. The School Board at the time consisted of: John Cunn, John Hay and John (Jocko) Miller.

With 75 boys in attendance in l90l and Mr. Taylor being in charge, they soon had an active sports program going with the boys challenging St. Andrews Central School and others, to Football and Baseball. Gonor was a rough and ready group who took challenges seriously, especially from their old home school of St. Andrews and Mapleton.

The parents were very relieved to have the children remain on the east side and had fought hard to have the Gonor school formed. The children used to walk the ice in winter and used the ferry or boat and skiff in summer. However, in the spring break-up they were kept home or else some chanced a dangerous crossing. ln winter it was
a cold crossing and with the blizzards, nearly impossible. Some walked 4 miles to school. During the summer, children use to fall off the ferry or out of the boats as they were grossly overcrowded at times. All in all. it had become worrisome and in many cases difficult to get the children to school.

The school, as mentioned, was overcrowded almost upon opening day and it was soon evident that an additional room would have to be erected. However, it was some time before Gonor could financially see their way clear to build on the much needed space. G.G. Gunn called for tenders in the summer of 1914, and again in the fall of l915 for “building another room to Gonor School and for building of a frame addition to the present Gonor School. ”

The Board of Trustees of the Gonor S.D. passed a bylaw which was submitted to a vote of the ratepayers on Fri. Jan. 7, 1916 to authorize the trustees of the S.D. of Gonor to borrow the sum of $1500 by issue and sale of payable in l0 years for the purpose of
building an addition to the two-room frame schoolhouse.

On Sat. Jan. 8, l9l6 the Sec. Treas. of the Munc. of St. Clements (Thos. Bunn) totalled the votes and it was overwhelmingly in favor of expansion.

During late Oct. 1917, Gonor S.D. was visited by the Hon. Dr. fhornlon and Ira Strarron. The. was. a tour of inspection to see if the school was still overcrowded and in need of better conditions, as had been reported to the Dept. of Educ.

At Gonor School they found that the school now had 3 rooms each in charge of a lady teacher (Edith M. Griffis, B.E. Leger, and A.L. Oatway). The grounds had an attractive flower garden plus a practical vegetable garden, in which it was advent the pupils took great pride as it was free from weeds and in neat rows. The school had made room for a domestic science department complete with all the necessary equipment. The teachers exhibited with great pride, and to the delight of the pupils, several jars of preserved wild and cultivated fruit which the pupils had “put up” themselves. The girls were taught sewing and the practical articles were also displayed, eagerly and proudly. The boys, not to be outdone by the girls domestically, showed evidence of their clever
manual training equipment and handiwork to the Minister of Educ. What he saw was what had made the Gonor School unique in such a short period of time: cupboards, benches, tables and shelves, for the interior of the schoolrooms. The trustees had authorized the expenditure for materials and as a part of their manual training program, the students had constructed and built much of the school furnishings.

It was 2 years (1914-1915) since the Dept. of Educ. Had started an active campaign for the betterment of conditions in rural schools, especially in districts where foreign born students attended. Dr. Thornton was suitably impressed with the progress made by the Gonor School by Oct. 1917 and especially when he heard the Gonor pupils read English with very little accent and sing the songs popular for that time. As Dr. Thornton and Ira Stratton completed their visit, the students were working on their projects to be submitted to the next Selkirk Fall Fair, sponsored by the St. Andrews Agricultural Society.

Back in Sept. l9l7 the “Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Gonor” had submitted many exhibits at the St. Andrews Agricultural Society Fair held in the Town of Selkirk and several prizes were awarded to the Gonor Students: Alex Lefteruk had received the award for “Poultry Raising” while Mamie Hay had placed for “Baking”. Both Sophie Puteran and Mary Yakimovich had got prizes for their “sewing” while Billie Pihulak and Mary Lewis, both of
Grade l, had got a ribbon for their neat “Scribblers”. Joe Dudka who was in Grade 2 got the ribbon for the best “scribbler” for his age group. Young Billie Lefteruk, who was only in Grade 3, showed amazing talent for his drawing and painting, and placed first. In the Handiwork section very few could ever outshine Dora Bazan who placed first of all the Grade 2 students entered at the Fair. Mattie Reutchy who was in Grade 7, beat out all the other students, including the Grade 8’s, with his spelling, which was faultless.

The Gonor students did even better in the 1918 Fall air, and we should mention there were about 750 exhibits and the judging was in charge of Prof. Clark of the Extn. Dept. of the Manitoba Agricultural College. Every school, both sides of the river, entered and
competition was keen, for the honour bestowed not only to the students themselves, but the schools they attended.

I will record the 1918 prize list, as a matter of interest, and basically to prove what a progressive group of pupils they were: in Practical Woodworking all prizes were
taken by Gonor School: Joe Slozen was lst with Mike Wolaszuk 2nd, Billie Dubowits 3rd and Mike Wolaszuk 4th. They were all just over l2 years of age. The “Best Light Cake” was won by young Jennie Fidler. In sewing, Stephie Gruber won the plain “gingham apron” while Mamie Hay came 1st and Stella Swain 2nd for the “fancy aprons”. Not to be outdone, everybody raved over Helen Gusnowski’s “initialed linen work bag”. The sewn “undergarments” were all won by Gonor girls with Annie Matheson 1st, with Mary Macadam, Mary Negrich and Annie Puteran winning the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th prizes for their hand sewing. In the preserving, Annie Zayot came 2nd for her “canned fruit” while Catherine Lefteruk. came lst for her “Jelly”. The jars of ,,Pickles,, were won by Mamie Hay and Catherine Lefteruk.

For many years thereafter, Gonor students continued to exhibit and display with enthusiastic spirit and were rewarded with prizes and ribbons unequalled up to that

The Gonor School Board, by early spring of 1919, had started Manual Training classes in earnest. The building formerly used as Gov’t offices was secured for this
purpose and a full line of woodworking and Ironwork equipment was obtained. The Manitoba Agricultural College supplied a qualified Instructor (Mr. Bruce) who held two classes weekly (1/2 days). The North St. Andrews School shared the class. In March 1919, there were 50 boys enrolled in this training.

Meanwhile, school continued, and the Gonor Students took part in musical programs, sports, concerts, picnics, and took most all the prizes for woodworking and fretwork at the Selkirk Fair, year after year.

The student population grew, and by mid-May 1920, another extra room was being added to the Gonor School.

The expenditures to operate Gonor School in 1912 was $725. In 1913 it rose to $970. This included all expenses e.g,: Salaries, debentures, furnishings, repairs, fuel, transportation etc. For your information we include the following years for comparison:

1914 $2680.00
1915 2190.00
1916 3450.00
1917 3000.00
1919 3985.00
1924 6321.00
1925 6460.00
1926 6435.00
1927 6150.00
1928 5400.00
1920 5250.00
1921 7290.00
1922 8000.00
1923 7000.00
1929 7500.00
1930 6000.00
1931 6642.00
1932 3812.00

It was in April of 1930, that the Bank of Montreal in Selkirk requested the Munc. of St. Clements to pay over the Gonor school tax levy direct to their bank. This was to repay the bank for advances made to Gonor. The chairman of the Board, at that time. was John Jocko Miller while the Sec. Treas. was Wlm. R. MacDonald.

It was during Dec. of 1930 that a controversy arose over expenses. G.C. Cunn during election had promised to reduce costs and some of the ratepayers had voted for him on that basis. The budget was increased by almost $1,000 over the previous year, arguments arose over a tender for wood and Trustee Gunn was considering having the Gonor School commence High School classes. Some of the ratepayers felt that expenditures to run the school were excessive and getting hard for the taxpayers to bear.

The school burnt down in 1932 and it was replaced by a 4-room school. The hall was used.

An official Trustee \ as assigned in 1932, Mr. A. Tomlinson, and the expenditures were reduced to $3,g12. The biggest cut came in the salaries for the teaching staff, as the four staff members received on an average of about, $65 per month each. He reduced the budget inb1933 to about $3000 and in 1934 it was listed at only $3 150. a slight increase.

ln 1935, the following men signed a formal contract and agreement to drive the Gonor children to school for 3 months in the winter, for which they received a salary in the way of credit to their property taxes. These drivers were: Mike Oleksiuk, Pete Mitchell, Geo. postaluk, John Pawluk, Pete Chopek, John Bulaga, Wlm. Bulaga and Pete Trupish.

The budget and estimated expenditure of Gonor S.D. continued to rise, in 1937 it was $3750.

However, St. Clements was having trouble raising the needed revenue because the district ratepayers were in arrears. As an example, St. Clements paid over to Gonor
about $3603. from July 10, 1936 to July 10, 1937 but still owed Gonor a balance on July 10, 1937 of $2078. Exclusive of the 1937 levy. This prompted J.H. Macdonald, Auditor, acting on instructions from the official Trustee, A. Tomlinson. to conduct an audit of the books of Gonor School.

Expenditures for the next 2 years totalled: 1938-$3850, and 1939-$4000. St. Clements offered to have electric lights installed in Feb. 1941, however, Gonor never replied to their offer.

St. Clements received a signed release which discharged all debts owing the Gonor S.D. On Oct. 23, 1944 (the unpaid arrears of school levies as of June 30, 1944 totalled $540.6i), and St. Clements paid $270.33 of it and this was considered as full payment, as of and up to, the 30th of June, 1944.

J.A. Cameron, Official Trustee, complained to Clements in June 1945, of reckless drivers driving at high speed on Henderson Hwy. past the Gonor School. They indicated that the dim, faded school signs contributed to the problem and should be renewed or replaced.

During the war years, Gonor students contributed greatly to the war effort by raising monies for the Red Cross, Ambulance Fund and through the purchase of War Savings Stamps. They also knitted mitts, scarves, and socks for the troops overseas.

In 1949, under bylaw No. l/49 of Gonor S.D. No. 1070 (the Public Utility board approved the by-law) the electors of the S.D. voted in favor of allowing Gonor to create a debenture debt of $9000 for the purpose of extensive repairs to the school building and heating plant. The debentures were at 4q0 per annum, repayable in l5 years, with annual payments of $809.47 per year due on the 1st of Aug. The ratepayers voted on Friday, Sept. 9, 1949 at the Gonor School (Lot 170) Parish of St. Andrews. The votes were summed up, on Monday, Sept. 12, 1949 at 2 p.m. The bylaw was approved by a vote of 24 for and 13 against.

On Nov. 14, 1950, Gonor S.D. boundary was confirmed as: “River Lots 132 to 214 in the Parish of St. Andrews, and the outer 2 miles of Lots 164 to 214.

In Feb. 1954, the Dept. of Educ. was petitioned to have the School District of Gonor returned to the control of a local Board of Trustees. You will have noted that the
Gonor S.D. had been under an Official Trustee for quite some time. Under sec. I 14 (5), it states that of the PSA such a petition must be signed by at least 50% of resident electors,

Gonor S.D. complained in Sept. 1957 of the House trailers located in their area, and the added school enrollment caused by the building of the Selkirk Generating Station. They advised Council that Gonor was already overcrowded in all 4 rooms. They could not afford added enrollment or more overcrowdings.

Council advised them on Nov. 9, 1957 that they were drafting a bylaw regulating and licensing house trailers. No mention was made by St. Clements Municipality of the overcrowding of Gonor as a result of this trailer population at Lockport, when licensing regulations were drafted.

By 1963, Gonor School was worried about the total assessment lost to the school district due to land sold or expropriated re: Floodway construction estimated to be
at a loss of about $40,000 for land and $34,400.00 for buildings, and the Gonor S.D. had an assessment of $509,910 for 1963, one mill raised $509.00. Also, by 1964, about another 35 children were enrolled at Gonor School from the trailer court where their fathers were directly connected with the floodway construction. The Sec. Treas. of the Gonor School felt that any trailer fees, etc. should be turned over to the school to help pay to educate these children from the trailer court. The chairman and Sec. Treas. attended the March 10, 1964 Council meeting of St. Clements to complain, but no action was taken by Council at this time.

ln Feb. 1965, St. Clements advised Gonor of the new 1965 Assessment for their school as being $547,860. One Mill would raise $547.00. They also told Gonor that the province would probably not settle for some time Re: compensation to the Munc. for loss of Tax revenues Re: Red River Floodway or acquisition of property.

The School District of Gonor No. 1070 was dissolved by By-law No. 1688 of the R.M. of St. Clements and all its lands transferred to the Consolidated School District of Happy Thought School No. 1452 effective Jan. l, 1966. The enrollment at the time of transfer to Happy Thought appears to be about 118 pupils.

The school stood vacant for a number of years and finally was sold by the Lord Selkirk School Division to Mr. Clifford Waytiuk who dismantled it and the lumber was used for several of the buildings on the Waytiuk land.

The grounds of the Gonor School were turned into a baseball Park operated by the Lockport Jets Fastball team (since then the name has changed to that of the Lockport Red Devils). They still operate this Baseball Joseph Chase Flood, Teacher of 1951-53, Gonor Park in 1983/84. The old swings and Teeter-Totters are all that is left to remind us of the Gonor S.D. No. 1070.

The Lockport Baseball club keeps the school grounds attractive, and neat, and in appreciation, council supports the club by regular grants from the ward appropriation
funding each year.

Listed here for your information are some of the teachers who taught at Gonor School during its 65 years of existence, and a few photographs to preserve the memory of those by-gone years.

Jane F. Yernew 1901
Clement E. Taylor 1901
Beatrice E. McColl 1905-1907
Jane Gardner 1907-1908
Frances B. Graham 1907
Gertrude Cook 1908-1909
Ada Arnold 1910
Mary Hodgson l9l I
Reginald Bate 1912-1913
Christina Gunn l9l3- l9l5
Felice Heymiearicki l9l4
F.J. Marciniw 1915
Irene Best 1915- 1916
l9l6 – Principal
Catherine D. Pluto 1915- 1917
Grace A.M. Reid l9l6
Edith May Griffis l9l6- 1939
Anna H. Muckle l917
Barbara Eugenie L eget 191’7 -1939
Annie Lillian Oatway l9l1-1921
Vilfridur Holm l9l8
Ida Schmok 1920-1922
Myrtle Joyce l92l-1922
Jeanette Vance 1922-1926
Grace J. Buckingham 1922
Mrs. James Beattie 1923
Mary Donalda MacLennan 1923-t 925
Beatrice Freedman 1925 -1 926
Kathleen May Anderson 1926-1931
Alina E. Campbell 1926-1927
lrene Viola Stewart 192’7 -1929
Maxine Gladys Stewart 1929-1930
Claude E.L.W. Law 1930
Margery Edith Rubelle Reynolds 1931-1934
William Michael Wolochatiuk 1932-1934
Marjorie Fitton 1934-1935
William Michael Wall 1934-193’7
Olive Susan Orth 1935-1963
Maxim George Wawrykow 1937-1941
Anne Delima Todd 1939-1943
Casimir Hollinger 1939 -1943
Walter Peter Gay 1942-1944
Lillian Augusta Henrikson I 943-l 946
Jennie Parker Taylor 1943
Esther A. Bolton 1944
Felix Tesarski 1944-1948
Anne Margaret Zalubniak 1945
Casimir Hollinger 1946
Angela Culligan 1947
Jean Hollinger 194’1 -1948
Jessie Uswak 1947-1951
Helen Beatuater 1948
Cecil O. Gunn 1948-1951
E.F. Reinner 1949
Anne Delima Todd 1949-1965
Mrs. Jean Hollinger 1950-1952
Joseph Charles Flood 1951-1953
Henry Schmidt 1952-1953
Lawrence Russell Neil 1953
Alick Chernick 1953
Mrs. L.J. Dawydiuk 1953- 1954
John Leslie Nifon 1954
Ted Peterin E. Shabas 1954
Mr. Mervislawa Lakusta 1954- 1957
Edward Earl Skabar 1954-1956
Mrs. Eileen L. Robilkaid 1956
Margaret A. Young 1957
T.C. Brune 195’7 -1959
Mr. George A. Capar 1957-1959
Margaret Young 1959-1960
Ed Baurrier 1959-1960
Elizabeth Cairns 1960-1964
N€stor M. Podolsky 1960-1963
Eleanor Karalash 1963-1964
N. Perchaliuk 1963- 1965
Anthony Swidinsky I 964-1 965
Lena Basiuk 1964-1965

by, Michael Reutcky

The majority of the Gonor residents in the early days had very little schooling and were unable to speak the English language but a few of them had ambitions to provide higher education for their children than what was offered by the Gonor school. The first family in the Gonor School district to have the honor of pursuing higher education was the Samko Hnatyshyn family. In about l9l7 John Hnatyshyn who was one of the older
boys, attended Success Business College in Winnipeg after completion of fourth grade in the Gonor School, and graduated as an accountant, He later became a successful accountant in the banking business, and just before retirement was an accountant for the Henry Ford family in Detroit for a number of years.

Andrew Hnatyshyn, the youngest of the Hnatyshyn boys graduated from the University of Manitoba with honors in 1920. Later, he attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton and graduated in Mining Engineering, He had a successful career in mining
engineering in the coal mines of Alberta which was his life long career until his death in 1969.

The middle boy, Nikola Hnatyshyn, graduated in medicine by earning his way through Loyola University in Chicago. His short career as a surgical doctor was a tragedy for he died just two years after he opened his office as a doctor in Cleveland at the age of thirty-two.

In June 1918 Edith Griffis, the then principal of the Gonor School, helped to prepare the first eighth grade group of eight or ten students for the matriculation examination to high school. Since there was no high school in Gonor the closest one they could attend was the high school in Selkirk. This was done by walking daily to the electric streetcar line which ran along Main Street out of Winnipeg to the town of Selkirk. Attending the high
school in Selkirk was an expensive proposition because there was a tuition fee to pay as well as the cost of transportation, books and clothes. Those who continued their education beyond high school in those days were Michael and John Reutcky and their cousin Matthew Reutcky.

Michael went to Saskatoon where he attended the Teachers Training College. After graduating he taught school in Saskatchewan for ten years and was in business there for many years. He now resides in Winnipeg. John Reutcky attended the University of Manitoba and graduated in law from Loyola University in Chicago. He practiced law for many years in Chicago and still resides there.

Matthew Reutcky graduated from McGill University in Montreal in dentistry and was a surgical dentist in Montreal until his retirement. Also, very worthy of mention is Dr. Matthew’s older brother, Andrew Rewucky, who, with only a fourth grade education,
established one of the largest automobile dealerships in Western Canada in Winnipeg under the title of Eastern Sales.

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