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History

SOURCE:  Beachburg: A Rich Heritage, Celebrating 175 Years

 Beachburg Public School, SS #7

Before the Public School Act was passed in 1850, the township was settled in groups and each settlement had its own school. One of the settlers taught the pupils and each family contributed toward paying a small salary. After the Act was passed in 1852, the Township of Westmeath was divided into eight school sections. Later these sections were divided to form seven more sections, making fifteen public school sections throughout the township and one separate school section, located at Lapasse. Beachburg was school section # 7.

The first school in Beachburg was held in a private home, with a Mrs. Nathaniel Chamberlain and a Mr. John Wiggelsworth as the teachers. After the fire in 1851, a log school was built on the Hazelton property, built by Alexander Condie, father of Mrs. Hazelton. The upstairs was used by the Orange Lodge to hold their suppers. The fifth book was the highest you could attain, and a third class certificate allowed a person to teach school. This building later became a store (Hazelton Millinery Shop and living quarters).

In 1876, a brick school was built (now the present home of Gillen Weedmark on Hume Street). The teacher received a salary of $300 per year. The expansion of the village population forced the construction of a new school in 1892. This was a 2 storey building on Main Street which later became the Presbyterian Church. After a few years, when this building became too crowded, classes were held in the Orange Hall, the township hall and a small one-room portable.

 

The Present Building

The present school was built in 1923.Originally, it was a large two storey brick building, with two class rooms on each floor, a central staircase and a basement. Elementary classes were taught in the two classrooms on the first floor and secondary classes in the two classrooms and the laboratory on
the second floor. Secondary classes up to Junior Matriculation were taught by a two teacher team.

In 1953, the secondary pupils of the school attended the Pembroke Collegiate Institute when changes were made in the school system in Pembroke. The classrooms vacated were used by the intermediate grades. Pupils were brought in by bus as the public schools in the surrounding area were closed.

In 1967 a new wing with three classrooms and washrooms was added. In 1969, a kindergarten class was introduced for children of the Beachburg and Westmeath area, until the kindergarten in the Westmeath School was established. Three more rooms were added as well as a portable classroom. By 1993-94, three more portable classrooms were needed.

In May 1995, sod was turned for the construction of a 3,300 sq. ft. addition to the school to accommodate a kindergarten room, a classroom, a library, washrooms, change rooms, gymnasium and staff rooms. This was opened in May 1996. 

Special school activities include a day of outdoor sports, a track and field day, and concerts for parents and friends. The pupils also raise money by various means for school trips to interesting places. The parents' association, along with the teachers' liaison, assists in obtaining extra material and supplies.

In 1981, a reunion was held for former members of Beachburg Continuation School. This was planned by Jack and Vera Johnson. Four hundred members attended, some from the West Coast of Canada and the United States.  Bus and boat tours took place to points of interest in the community, especially Wilderness Tours, enabling everyone to renew acquaintances and reminisce on the old school days.

Today, Beachburg Public School is home to 130 incredible students.  Classrooms range from Full-Day Kindergarten to Grade 8.  The school has a warm, welcoming feeling and staff and students are more like family than colleagues.