The Communities : COMMUNITY LIFE : Schools
School children on teeter tooter
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Schools formed a focal point for life in logging communities. Lifelong friendships were made between children that often came from very different cultures. Races, sports days and academic achievements were recognized by the whole town; the union and logging companies continue to provide scholarships to Cowichan's dedicated students.
In the early days, teachers worked in isolated areas with a small group of students. Shirley (Mather) Cannon taught at the Rounds school in 1944 and 1945. She lived in the teacher's quarters, called a teacherage, that "was long and narrow on railroad tracks, (as was the school) partitioned into two rooms." In addition to teaching, she was charged with keeping the fire going in the school's pot-bellied stove.
Duncan's first school was temporarily housed in the Agricultural Hall. Camp buildings and other make-shift schools were a regular part of life for many students, especially before the 1960s. Schooling outside of Provincial curriculum, for example in languages and music, was sponsored by the community; community halls and the Japanese halls were often used in this way.
Bell Tower School Class
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Lake Cowichan's Bell Tower School was built in 1924 when their one-room schoolhouse became too small. Named after the small bell tower at the one end, the school was paid for by the village and the Provincial Government, at a total of $4000.00. The school was expanded with an addition after the Depression. In 1986, the building was moved to the Kaatza Station Museum grounds to be used by the community and the Kaatza Historical Society.
The first Paldi school was built in 1921, with materials donated by the Mayo Siding Company. The Cowichan News Leader reported in March of 1921 that "the citizens of Mayo and Sahtlam Station gave their labour and furnished the doors, windows and inside furnishings . the piano was a personal gift from Mr. Mayo." Eventually, a second school was built so that grades 1-4 and 5-8 had separate buildings. Most Paldi residents remember playing with classmates from Japanese, Chinese, Sikh and other family backgrounds.