'Big brick' Armstrong Elementary School turns 100-years-old

An event to celebrate historic Armstrong Elementary School's centennial birthday brought the community together with song, and dance and served as a reunion for past students and teachers. Sydney Morton has more.

The big, brick Armstrong Elementary School has had students running through the halls for 100 years and to celebrate, hundreds of people had a party in the schoolyard.

“The vision our forefathers had 100 years ago to build a building like this is unbelievable we are so happy to have it,” said Chris Pieper, mayor of Armstrong.

“There’s a person here today who went to school here in the 1930s and they are here today celebrating and that’s what it’s all about.”

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The school opened on September 8, 1921. It had a boys’ entrance and a girls’ entrance and 10 classrooms. Over one hundred years later students still attend classes there.

The milestone was honoured with a drum circle, a maypole dance and speeches. Historians say the school was groundbreaking for its time.

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“This was the first school bus system in British Columbia and this was the first consolidated school in British Columbia,” said Jessie Ann Gamble, Armstrong-Spallumcheen Museum & Arts Society.

“The mayor at the time and also the chair of the school board was Jim Wright and he had this vision of closing down all the little rural schools and bringing the children into town so they could have a broader education.”

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The event celebrated the deep roots of Armstrong and also served as a chance for past students and teachers to reunite.

The hope is that Armstrong Elementary School will stand for another 100 years, accomodating the children of Spallumcheen and Armstrong.

 

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