Edward Milne secondary faculty in 1965

The faculty at Edward Milne secondary school, 1965

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region.

In a way it seems like yesterday but it’s actually 50 years since this photo was taken of the teaching staff of Edward Milne Secondary School. The high school had started out in 1946 as Milne’s Landing High, and much later, in 1987, it became Edward Milne Community School.

This photo was taken in the gymnasium of the earlier building which stood further back in the field than the current distinctive whale-tailed school structure. Many folk, whether resident in Sooke or throughout the western world, and now of middle age, will remember being taught by these teachers.

Standing, rear:  Mr Creed, Mrs. Creed, Dennis Kershaw, Ingrid Greenlees, Stella Lajeunesse, Paul Rothe.  Seated, front:  Mr. Rennison, Peggy Oke, Kay Maughan, principal Eugene Maglio, Lewis Seens, Mrs. Carr, Sheila Scrase.

Five of the teachers in this photo were living in Sooke: Ingrid Greenlees, Stella Lajeunesse, Peggy Oke, Kay Maughan and Eugene Maglio, with the balance commuting from Victoria. Dennis Kershaw taught Math at the school for many years and became well-known in the community. Ingrid Greenlees taught at Leechtown, at Sooke Elementary, then Milne’s Landing, then went on to Bridge River in the Interior.

Stella Lajeunesse taught at Sooke School, then it was on to New Math at Milne’s Landing. She became known for volunteering her time at home to tutor students in Math. Two of her own youngsters survive her in Sooke today, Gail Hall and Danny Lajeunesse. If my memory is right, Paul Rothe taught Physical Education and Sheila Scrase taught Home Economics.  Kay Maughan taught English and she and her husband boarded the Port Renfrew students during the week at their spacious home on Felton Road.

Peggy Oke taught French, History, served as Librarian, and was mother to a large family, most of whom are living in our area today.   One of her daughters in particular, Patricia Handy, is well known to many, as she is the manager of the Visitor Info Centre at the Sooke Region Museum, besides playing “Tilly” in Moss Cottage.

When Eugene Maglio, from the Interior, became principal, he and his wife and family of five moved to Sooke. They weren’t here long, though, as he responded to a call as principal at Yellowknife, YT.  Lewis Seens of Victoria followed him as principal until he moved on in 1972. It’s a bit of a shock to realize that today the teaching staff numbers 70, under principal Pat Swinburnson.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum