|First class of Stone School
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It was back in 1923, as the area around Climax grew in population, that the pioneers of the district felt there was enough of a need to bring in a school. S.V. Hickling wrote to Regina in January of that year to ask for a school district and a meeting was held at the home of Charlie Richtik to organize the district. A poll of 13 for and five against sealed the deal and the trustees were elected.
Choosing the name of Stone Pile, after the Stone Pile landmark located a mile north of the school site, the organization found out there was already a school called Stone Pile, so they settled for Stone.
The school was built by S.V. HIckling, and Bill McNabb on land that had been owned by Frank Dawson. It officially opened on July 2, 1924 with Nellie Hazelton serving as the very first teacher along with Thomas S.C. Douglas and Allan M. Palmer.
At the time, Nellie Hazleton was only 18-years-old and this would be the first school she would ever teach at. In total, she oversaw eight boys and nine girls. Boarding at the home of William Bertram, she walked a mile to school every day. On the first day of walking, with her arms full of books, she was attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes. Her arms were covered and as she would relate later, “all she could do was let them bite”
The school was a summer school, closing at Christmas. In the fall, she would make a fire to ensure that the children would be warm when they arrived. On the very cold days, Bertram would drive her. Speaking highly of his wife, she called her a good and kind person. Hazleton related how on cold mornings, Mrs. Bertram would allow her to dress near the heater in the living room.
Every weekend, Hazleton would travel to Climax to stay with her father and stepmother. When Hazleton left, Thomas S.C. Douglas, the doctor’s son, took over. After him, it was Grace MacKenzie, who had fond memories of the time she spent there in 1928. Once again, the Bertrams stepped up, and allowed the teacher to live with them. On Sunday’s school was held for parents and children of all denominations. Church services would be every second Sunday. In the winter, musicians would come to the school to play dances and social evenings.
The school continued to grow and by the 1930s, there were 42 children in 10 grades. During the early-1930s, the Stone School Fair was established, with schoolroom projects, activities judging of farm animals and of farm produce.
A unique situation developed in 1944 when Naomi Bourke came back to Stone School, which she had attended only a few years previous, this time to teach. Worrying about how the children would accept her, since she went to school with their older brothers and sisters, she found that she had nothing to worry about and the children were ready to learn.
Eventually, as so often happened with those old schools, enrolment was consolidated into a central location, and the school eventually closed but the memories lived on.