S.S.S. #1 MacLennan

The first meeting to discuss the establishment of a school board and a school in Skead took place on February 23, 1926. At this meeting, the first school board was elected (W.J. Bell was appointed as the first secretary-treasurer) and it was determined that a school would be created in one of the Spanish River Lumber Company's bunk house rooms. The Spanish River Lumber Company even offered to cover all school expenses.

S.S.S. #1 MacLennan School circa 1940.  Photo courtesy of "Skead, Ontario, Canada: 1924 - 1999".On April 12, 1926, the first separate school, S.S.S. #1 MacLennan, was officially opened and was attended by 23 students. The school's first teacher was Mrs. Margaret Black from Toronto. The school enjoyed many successful years, providing quality education to the children of the community. However, on September 18, 1937, the Spanish River Lumber Company's sawmill closed. Although the company allowed the school to remain in the bunk house, it refused to continue paying the expenses for the school. This forced the school board to seek alternative sources of funding. In that year, the board decided to implement a school tax on property owners in Skead to cover school expenses. The school remained in the bunk house for eight more years, until the arrival of the Poupore Lumber Company.

In 1945, the Poupore Lumber Company was established in Skead, taking over the Spanish River Lumber Company's buildings. Realizing the need for an actual schoolhouse, M.J. Poupore, owner of Poupore Lumber Company, and his wife, Emma, arranged for the construction of a new school for the community. The school opened in June of 1945 and provided instruction for children from grades 1 to 10.

By November of that year, the school was equipped with electricity, and by the completion of the first school term in the new building, Mr. Poupore was serving as school board chairman and Mrs. Poupore was a board trustee. The school hosted annual Christmas parties and concerts were put on by both the junior and senior students.

The separate school saw a decline in attendance in 1948 when the first public school was opened in Skead. In an effort to boost enrolment, Miss Savard, the grade 1 to grade 5 teacher, took classes during the summer to become licensed to teach kindergarten students and in September of 1948, the first kindergarten class began in Skead.

Running water was installed in the school one year later in the fall of 1949 and just after Christmas, the school received a new oil furnace to replace the wood stove.

As part of the curriculum, the school would receive a new educational film from the International Film Board of Canada once a month to show to the students. These films were provided for both the separate and public schools and in the evenings, were showcased to the adults at the community hall.

Despite efforts to keep the school running, declining attendance forced the school's closure in 1965. Students were then bused to St. John and St. Augustin Separate Schools in Garson.


Material compiled from Skead, Ontario, Canada: 1924 - 1999.

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