Reflections of an Old Geometry and Incidentally the History of the Kamloops High School
By Marion Wyllie — Excerpt from the 1916
Kamloops High School Yearbook
YES, here I lie, and here I expect to lie until some learned person comes along in search of Book I of Euclid's Geometry. Even then he might not deign to look at me, for, alas! I am minus several pages, which have been ruthlessly torn from me by various pupils. I am scratched and scarred, for I am old, aye old, even as the hills, for was I not used twelve years ago? Many names are written on my foremost pages and some brainless, pupils have scribbled verses on me such as:
"Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,
If French won't kill us,
Would you care to hear the story of my life and incidentally the history of the Kamloops High School? If so, I shall be delighted to tell you, for now practically all my pleasure lies in reminiscences. My introduction to the Kamloops High School was in 1904. I well remember the difficulty my owner experienced in tracking down this seat of learning, for like many other important institutions, it had a very humble birth place. So humble, indeed that one could scarcely find it. However if one wandered through endless, lanes and alleys and c1imhed a long flight of outside stairs., one would eventually find oneself above a livery stable, in a room, the walls of which were decorated in vivid tints of red and green. The air was fresh, and I was rejoicing in the system of ventilation, when I discovered that nearly all the windows were broken It never occurred to me that this was the Kamloops High School and I was mournfully wondering how I, a self-respecting Geometry, could ever face my fellow Latins, Frenches and all the other school books, after having been carried away by a boy who played hookey, when a bell rang and the pupils filed in. A school trustee introduced Mr. A. Perry, M. A. principal and staff combined, to us and thus was higher education introduced into the Inland Capital.
For two years Mr. Perry drilled the wisdom of my pages into a number of pupils, but in 1906 resigned and Mr. F. F. Smith, B.A., came to take his place. It was with great interest that I watched him scan the room and I imagined I could see despair written on his countenance. This was soon replaced by determination, however, as his eyes fell on the pupils, who if given a proper chance, might some day become famous. Mr. Smith was fortunate enough in being assisted by Mr. R. F. Logan, B.A.
The K. H. S. had, at this time, outgrown its inadequate quarters and in 1907 I assumed a higher station. I was carried by my owner to the third floor of the new Public School, and here I remained for three years, having been sold by one pupil to another. I was becoming rather dilapidated but still remained whole. Each morning I was carried up those endless stairs, my owner sniffing disdainfully at the Pub1ic School infant, and I, of course, following his example and scarcely deigning to look at unimportant Spelling Books and Arithmetics which I could see peeping at me from the school bags of the children of the lower grades, for did I not belong to the High School? Ah me! if I cou1d on1y live those happy days again.
In 1910 Mr. Smith. whom I had learned to respect greatly had trouble with his eyes, and was compelled to resign. Mr. A. F. Mathews, M.A. assumed the principalship, still assisted by Mr. Logan. My own condition was not the best, as I was gradually going to pieces, but stil1 pupils handed me down from one to another.
For the next two years I lived an uneventful life and then one morning found myself in unfamiliar surroundings, which I decoded was the old Methodist church, as there was an air of sanctity about it. Mr. Logan resigned about this time and, J. W. McNab, B.A., became assistant to Mr. Mathews. I was feeling very proud as one industrious pupil had had me rebound and I presented a respectable appearance. It was here I listened to the first debate and I am sure that any casual observer or interested rate-payer, who drops in now on Friday afternoons, can see what progress has been made.
Then in 1913 with great pomp and ceremony the present High School was opened. I was not there, but I heard all about it from a small Union Jack that was put in the cupboard with me a few days later. Dr. Young, the Minister of Education, was present, as were many Kamloops citizens.
The Public School pupils marched to see the place they would some day occupy singing "O Canada," faithfully, if not tunefully, all the way. My informant told me that a banquet was given for Dr. Young and refreshments were served to the people present. At this time the teachers were Mr. Mathews, Mr. T. R. Hall, B.A., and Mr. J. Wattie, M.A., and they labored faithfully to teach the young idea how to shoot.
In 1944, Mr. Wattie resigned and Miss E. W. McQueen, B.A., took his place. The school won a prize in Physical Drill. Sports were introduced and the first High School paper was issued.
In August 1915, I came back to school after the summer holidays. Geometrys being scarce, I was again used by a member of the Preliminary Class. Miss McQueen had resigned and she was missed a great deal until the scholars found her plan ably filled by Miss E. R. A. Davies. M.A.
It was about this time that an extremely sad calamity befell me. One Friday afternoon I was taken into the Matriculation Class where a debate was being held. I listened in amazement to the stream of eloquence that poured from the speakers' lips. It would have amazed Socrates! I had hardly recovered when I was picked up and carried into the library where my owner returned a book. I was then hastily carried outside and dropped in one corner of the Tennis Courts. My owner became so interested in the game that he eventually went off and left me. And alas! it rained all through the night. In the morning I was found wet and discolored. "Well,' said my owner, "that's the end of that old Geometry. I intended to buy a new one anyway.
So he carried me home and put me on the shelf where I now spend my time thinking with satisfaction of the progress, of Higher Education in Kamloops and the, part I played in it.
The History of the K. H. S.
By A. Beryl McPherson — Excerpt from The Kayaitchess 1925
As it was in medieval Europe so it was with Kamloops, for once there was no K.H.S. and therefore ignorance was prevalent. However as time passed a period of comparative enlightenment came. Thus we find that in the year 1904 A.D. the High School was established and Mr. A. Perry, M.A., assumed the duties of teacher. It was well to note here that many great institutions have had an obscure origin, for we learn that the K. H. S. was originally situated over a livery stable. Conditions improved and when the Stuart Wood school was built the room on the third floor was set apart for the K. H. S. This was an especially notable advancement in our history, for then, as never before, the K. H. S. was given a high place in the city of Kamloops.
Remarkable it is that in our history there have been no revolutions. Bolshevism, nonetheless has always been rampant, and many beardless Reds have plotted destruction to the rulers. These latter have always been singularly unmoved by such imminent danger, their whole concern always having been to educate the people, and to dispel the ignorance that the revolutionaries displayed.
In 1906 Mr. F. F. Smith became principal, upon the abdication of our former chief, Mr. Perry. Then also there came a Lord High Chancellor in the person of Assistant Principal R. F. Logan, B.A. In 1910 Mr. Smith retired and a new regime began under Mr. A. F. Matthews, who is still connected with school work in this district.
About this time a wave of Protestantism swept the K. H. S. and new quarters were found in the old Methodist Church. It would be a mistake nevertheless to call this change a reformation, since in the nature of things reform is impossible to High School students, being as they are, so nearly perfect. This is one fact which our history emphasizes, and this is always recognized by teachers of experience.
On the resignation of Mr. Logan, our present head, Mr. J. W. McNab, first came to this school. Later, when Mr. Matthews left us, Mr. T. R. Hall became the Grand Visor of our institution and afterwards the supervisor of all schools in Kamloops. There are those yet among us who remember Mr. Hall and the directness of his methods. When in 1922 Mr. Hall was appointed an inspector of schools, Mr. McNab assumed the duties of Supervisor of Schools in Kamloops, and it is under his rule that we are now prospering. We have occupied the present building since 1913.
A Rip Van Winkle would be surprised if he came back this year for he would find, instead of the humble one-room school a thoroughly modern institution having a staff of seven, a Senior Matriculation, a Commercial Department, two literary societies, a school orchestra, organized football and basketball teams, a school paper, and presenting a successful annual entertainment. The K. H. S. has become a veritable mill of learning from which students of high standing are sent forth.
The K. H. S. Past and Present
Excerpt from The Kayaitchess 1928
Let us look back and trace the history of our school from the closing days of the Great War. We all take a great interest in the activities of the school but do we ever stop to consider its progress? Most of us spend three years in High School and some four, but we see no great change. Yet the change and progress has been considerable. In the last ten years the number of students has increased over two hundred per cent., in actual numbers from 75 to 238.
Perhaps the greatest number of changes took place in the year 1917-18. That year the present Inspector Matthews left the High School where he had been principal. He was succeeded by Mr, T. R. Hall. Before 1918 all classes had to take the departmental exams. but in that year the change was made whereby school exams were made sufficient for first and second years. It was in that year that the Commercial Class was begun. It was also that year which gave birth to our famous Kayaitchess of which we 're justly proud.
Mr. Hall was principal till 1922 when he left and was succeeded by our present headmaster, Mr. McNab. The next outstanding event in the progress of the school was the beginning of a fourth year or senior matriculation class in 1924. It began with seven students and in four years has increased to fifteen,
The activities of our school in the last year or two are probably of the most interest to us for we were either in the High School or were immediately looking forward to entering it. Our K. H. S. is already becoming famous for its athletes, debaters and speakers. Our renowned football team has never lost a game (it has played a grand total of three games!) and our boys' basketball team can make a similar boast. The girls' basketball team has unfortunately been beaten by our friends in Vernon,
It is usually said that it is practically impossible to obtain or cultivate a proper school spirit in a day school such as our High School, but Bishop Adams, who is an English Public School man, said in a speech to the football and basketball teams at Vernon that he was agreeably surprised to find that which he had never expected to find, that is a real school spirit in the High Schools and a friendly rivalry between the schools of different towns.
So here's to our K. H. S., may her victories be many and her students worthy of the old school!
J.F.K. English — Excerpt from The Calvalcade 1940
It may come as a surprise to many of our students to know that high school classes were first established in this city some thirty-two years ago. In those early days the three grades were housed in one room and were in charge of one teacher. Little imagination is required to appreciate all the difficulties involved but, nonetheless, excellent work was accomplished and the pupils apparently were happy. A new regime began in 1913 when the present building was erected with its spacious halls and classrooms. Some made instruction easier and perhaps more effective. The addition of the Junior High was still another step in the development of our local educational system. Better facilities and greater advantages were thereby afforded to future generations of pupils. Thus it will be seen that our school, as we know it today, has gradually evolved from a comparatively simple organization to a more complex and somewhat specialized society.
. . .
Goodbye to Old K.H.S.
Excerpt from Kampus 1952
With mixed feelings, we are leaving our old high school, the central pillar of our lives. Through its forty years it has seen students successfully obtain their secondary education and enter life as model citizens. Many sport and social activities have originated and numerous associations have been made within its walls.
This high school opened its doors in 1912. During the 1918-19 influenza epidemic, the school was used as an emergency hospital. In 1929, the Junior High section was built. But still in 1947, since further room space was needed, four annexes were hurriedly erected.
The different men who succeeded the initial principal. Mr. A. F, Matthews, were:
Messrs. T. R. Hall, J. R. McNab, J. F. K. English and, at present, W. H. Gurney.
To fight for their country in World Wars I and II, large numbers of servicemen and women left the halls of K.H.S. Over 37 ex-students paid the supreme sacrifice in the latter conflict. Former pupils achieved note-worthy military careers. Squadron Leaders Robert Kipp and John Fulton received the Distinguished Service Crosses and the Distinguished Service Orders, while Flying Officers John McElroy and Owen Morgan were awarded D.F.C.s. K.H.S. also did its share of collecting scrap paper and rubber and selling War Savings Certificates. Army, Navy and Air Force cadet corps for boys and girls were organized with a training programme.
Academically, "Old K.H.S." has produced several high honour students. Both Jack Davis and Davie Fulton became Rhode Scholars. Others who distinguished themselves with Provincial Scholarships (formerly Gold Medal Awards) were: Francis M. Wright in 1932, Muriel A. McDiarmid in 1940, James Smith in 1950 and Ian Duck in 1951. The Queen's University Provincial Scholarship was won by John Sharpe, Joan Dilworth and Ian Duck. Dorothy Robertson and Gordon Ross each won the coveted McGill McConnell Scholarship.
Concerning sport, in the past, the Thompson Valley Track Meet was an outstanding event for many years. Ray Turner won distinction for high jumping; Reg Colley, sprinting; and Bill Gromsky, broad jumping. In 1947, basketball was prominent as the Red Devils, coached by Mr. C. C. Wright, won the Provincial Championship. In hockey, the Ramblers proved to be a championship team as they gained the 1949 B.C. High School Hockey Championship.
Socially, the annals of K.H.S., tell us that in 1930, Mr. F. X. Potter and his wife put on the first Kamloops High School opera "Yokohama Maid." This was followed in 1937 and 1939 by "Trial By Jury" and "Pirates of Penzance" respectively. A rollicking "Variety Show" was also held. The play "Merchant of Venice" was ably staged in 1947. Over 4000 people saw the performance of "Pinafore". In 1950. When Mr. A. N. McMurdo arrived on the scene, music interest soared. The K.H.S. Band won the B.C. Championship under the inspiring conducting of the "maestro". The school Orchestra added more honours. In the last two years both musical groups received excellent marks In Kelowna, Vancouver and Penticton Festivals.
Various credit systems have been worked out to cover all activities in which students participate but the most recent one seems to be quite practical. Both House and Grade systems have been tried but opinions vary as to which is the better. Only in the past ten years has there been a formal graduation in the school.
Now, our old high school is over shadowed by a much bigger structure, but even after everything is settled in the latter building and all Senior High activities have forsaken "Old K.H.S.", former students will always have the memorable thoughts about the fun and worthwhile education that were obtained in this first Kamloops Senior High School.
The New School
Official Opening of Kamloops Junior-Senior High School
Excerpt from Kampus 1953
At eight o'clock on the night of April 22, in this, our new school, the official opening took place. Our famed High School Band played a very short concert before the singing of "O Canada," which marked the opening of the ceremony.
Canon J. C. Jolley gave the invocation. Following him, Mr. George Slater, Chairman of the Board of School Trustees, delivered the welcoming address.
After this address, Mayor J. E. Fitzwater, representing the City of Kamloops, and Brig. W. N. Bostock, representing the Rural Trustees, said a few words.
The girls choir, then offered two songs. They were "Deep River" and "0 God of Life The remarks which followed were given by Mr. McArthur, a retired inspector of Schools Mr. A Matthews a former trustee, N. W. Postle, of Postle & Korner, and Mr. L. J. Bennett of Bennett & White Construction Co. Ltd. During the last speech, Mr. Bennett, unveiled a plaque, which commemorates the opening of the school.
The choir then sang two songs one of which was dedicated to Mrs. Tilly Rolston. Following these songs, Dr. F. T. Fairey, Deputy Minister and Superintendent of Education, offered a few remarks to the capacity audience in the Gym. He stated that our school was one of the best in the province and that the location of the school couldn't be in a better place, for he thought it was fitting that this place of education is established on a high level.
After the band played "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "Avalon Nights," The Honourable Tilly J. Rolston officially opened the school, by presenting Mr. Gurney with the keys to the school.
The singing of "God Save the Queen" brought this memorable ceremony to an end.
Kamloops Secondary School and John Peterson Merge
As this new school year begins, Kamloops Secondary School and John Peterson Secondary School merge to become the new South Kamloops Secondary School. See photos below and details of the merger here.