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School system was a tightly-knit family

One-room schoolhouse served Otter Point from 1913 to 1952
Classrooms like this one back in the day were so small

Once upon a time a one-room schoolhouse stood on Otter Point Road, right at the point where Kemp Lake Road starts on its route down to meet West Coast Road. The school served students between 1913 and 1952.

We have been told that the class of 1943, 13 pupils shown here, was the year of the smallest enrollment.

In our pioneer history, schools were built close to where families lived, which meant where the father of the household worked. While today’s transportation systems have altered this demographic, the fathers of children here: George Goudie, Bert Shambrook, and George Davies Sr., all worked for early horse-loggers; and Claude Cook for Elder Logging, Bill Shambrook for Butler Brothers, Walter Cook for Malloch & Moseley, while Fred Lajeunesse initially was a teamster for George Seaton, later working for Butler Brothers.

The teacher here, Grades 1 to 8, was Dorothy Esther Holt, and it was her daughter that contributed this photo. As the schoolhouse lacked plumbing, there were two four-holer outhouses in the backyard, for students and teacher alike. Years later, the girls’ four-holer was presented to the museum, where it was placed as a yard exhibit.

Standing, rear: Amy Shambrook, who married Lou Hocking; many in Sooke will remember Amy as the cook at Mom’s Café; Jean Goudie who grew up to marry Rocky  Jackson, the guy who looked after all our key problems; and we all know Velma Cook, who married Frank Jessiman. She first took up flower arranging and remains an active community volunteer today. Next, her cousin Nelson Cook, married Beverly Arnet and spent many years working at the pulp mill in Campbell River.

Bob Lajeunesse, next, married Norma Stolth; he worked for Western Forest Products and the couple raised their family in Jordan River.  George Davies, next, was also a forestry worker, and married Bertha Yates. Last in the row is Arthur Cook, who worked in the forest industry as well.

Seated next to Miss Holt is Wilbert Goudie, who worked for Elders & CPS; and married Audrey Parman, who, as Audrey Goudie, we often meet about town.  Danny Lajeunesse is next; married to Jo Ann Elder, he also was at Western Forest Products. More recently, we’d see him in his red truck driving the mail to East Sooke. Mary Shambrook, holding the slate, became Mrs. Thomas.  Gerry Davies logged for Bob Hughes; later driving a cement truck for Butlers.  He married Roberta Sedgwick, whom we recognize from the loan cupboard. The final two are George Shambrook and Arthur Shambrook, cousins who each worked in Port Alberni mills.

Don’t you think the three little Grade 1’s in front are cute? – Danny Lajeunesse, Mary Shambrook and Gerry Davies.


Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.