Sooke School 1921

Sooke school back in 1921

Sooke historian Elida Peers writes about the events and people that shaped our history

The new school year brings to mind the similarities with today’s youngsters excitedly getting back to see their friends and check out everyone’s new clothes, and this 1921 photo where the students probably did the same.

In 1921 Sooke Superior School looked like this.  Above the entry door, there was a gold leaf inscription which read “Act well your part for there the honour lies.” The teachers standing at the left are Mary McKinnon and Helen Giberson.

First row, rear: Gretel Nicholson (daughter of author/historian/entrepreneur George Nicholson) she married fisherman Trygve Arnet; Agnes McBride who married Joe Collins of fishtraps management; Veronique Willett, who married Count Rodolphe de la Hitte in France, where they both served in the French underground during World War II; Margaret King, raised by the Murrays, she married Dane Kai Jensen; Clara & Alice Erickson; Verna Cullum.

Second row from rear: Irene & Lillian Helgesen of the well-known Helgesen pioneer family, Lillian herself taught at Sooke School in her late teens; Kathleen & Marjorie Giles; Florence Gray, daughter of fishtraps manager Frank Gray, she married Will Sheilds; Marion Soward; Nellie Charters, daughter of William Bell Jr & Stella Fraser, she married Stanley Carlow and lived where “The Yews” stands on the corner of Charters Road today.

Third row from rear: Bob Mugford, son of the Mugford Boarding House family, lost his life during World War II; Charlie & Teddy Barbour, sons of the manager of Sooke Harbour Hotel; Harvey Dobson; Cecil Nicholson – see Nicholson above; Gladys Graignic, daughter of fishtraps manager Pete Graignic, she later married Rupert Soule (many of the plantings at Ed Macgregor Park are hers); Marjorie Felton, daughter of physician Dr Richard Felton; Viola Ainsworth.

Second row from front: Willie Charters (see above) Teddy Pagden, Walter OMeara, Ernie Welsh, eldest son of the pioneer Welsh family; Lewis Milligan of the Milligan logging family; Murray Barbour (see above); Violet Helgesen (see above); Beatrice Hawkins; Hilda Taylor; May Wilham who married Roy Baker, owner of the Red & White Store; Fred Cullum of West Coast Telegraph trail history; Clifford Charters (see above).

Front row: Lily Michelsen, daughter of fishtraps skipper “Pop” Michelsen, she married Jimmie Goudie, later married Alf Haywood; Sarah Michelsen who married William Vowles, was mother to the Vowles brothers of fishing/seafood fame; Mollie & Nellie Richardson, daughters of Vernon & Queenie Richardson, and sisters to Frank Richardson of the building supply firm; Alan Felton, son of Dr Richard Felton – Alan went off to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to fight with the insurgents; next are Charlie OMeara, Byron Charters, Earl Gray, Harry Helgesen, Will Sheilds, Malcolm Taylor, Harold Welsh, each with family references above.

It would be remiss not to note the impact of Harry Helgesen, one of the little fellows here, who became one of Sooke’s favorite sons, served in WWII, excelled at All Sooke Day logger sports, started Sooke Sawmills which became the mammoth enterprise on Goodridge Peninsula and then developed Coopers Cove Oyster Farm into an international supplier.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum