In the summer of '33

Sooke Superior School 1933

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

SENIOR CLASS, 1933

This photo takes us back to when Sooke’s population numbered in the hundreds only and Sooke Superior School had three classrooms. Pictured are the senior students of the day, Grades 8 to 10.

Standing, rear:  Alice George, daughter of T’Sou-ke chief Louis and Agnes George; she became Mrs. Len Parkin and lived in Victoria;  Jim Richardson, brother to our local building supply owner Frank Richardson, grew up on Church Road, and went on to run a building supply firm in Duncan; Joe Phillipson. Joe was raised by the Icelandic Johnson family far up Sooke River (the family who built the swinging bridge) and went on to become B.C.’s Deputy Minister of Education. Next is Gladys Brown who grew up on Kaltasin Road and later moved to Campbell River. The teacher/principal is George Turner.

Seated, left, is Elsie Wilham, who may possibly be the only one in the photo who is still with us. Elsie is a daughter of Sooke businessman James Wilham.  Elsie married Jim Arden and the couple, well into their nineties, lives in Port Alberni today. Next is Jim’s sister Winnie Arden, youngest daughter of Eustace and Anne Arden, lightkeepers at Sheringham Point. Winnie married Mandus Michelsen and their family is well known in Sooke and throughout the Island.

Gladys Clark, one of the daughters of pioneers Percy and Margaret Clark of Shirley hill is next, followed by Doree Francis and Hazel Clark, another of the daughters of the Percy Clarks of Shirley. Wearing glasses is Helen Welsh, only daughter of William and Emma Welsh, a very well known pioneer family. They ran a dairy farm on Maple Avenue; Helen married electrician Joe Yost. Next is Jeanne Thornber, daughter of Fred and Elsie Thornber, a Sooke business couple; Jeanne married Jack Myers. Last in the row is Vera Dow.

Perched in front is Gerry Greenwood whose family lived on the sunny Saseenos waterfront. While there were elementary schools teaching Grades 1 to 8 at Otter Point and Shirley in this period, Grades 9 and 10 came in to Sooke. The term “Superior” means that the school extended past grade eight, but was not a high school that could graduate students.

Beyond Grade 10, students boarded in Victoria to attend Vic High, or took correspondence. Milne’s Landing High School first graduated students in 1947, the first school west of Victoria to do so.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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