an architect's drawing of the new 14 room school and gymnasium from April, 1956 Expand Image
an architect's drawing of the new 14 room school and gymnasium from April, 1956 (Patrick Campbell-Hope & Assoc. Architects)

History of Glen Avon Protestant School

From 1897 to 1956, the children of St. Paul had been educated mainly by the members of the Catholic community, the Reverend Sisters of the Assumption of Nicolet. However, in 1953, the non-Catholic parents began discussions on the possibility of building a Protestant Separate School. The population of Protestant children exceeded one hundred, and since the existing school was administered as a Catholic school, the parents of these children felt these students were entitled to an education in a non-Catholic environment.

Four men, Mr. W.G. Fuller, Mr. Norman Slater, Mr. Sam Hassan and Mr. Alex Tannas took the initial steps early in 1955 to have the school built. They proposed several names for this school (Glen Avon, Avonlea, Eastbourne, Scapa and Jellico) and drew up a petition recommending that a Protestant School District be organized with boundaries coterminous with the St. Paul School District No. 2228. The petition was filed with the Board of the St. Paul School District No. 2228, where it received approval. A plebiscite on August 31, 1955 followed and it was unanimously supported by the ratepayers.

In the early part of September 1955, the committee appointed Mr. F.W. Weder as acting Secretary-Treasurer of the proposed Separate School. Finally on September 30, 1955 approval for the establishment of the School was secured from the Minister of the Department of Education.

Having secured approval for the construction of the School, a taxpayers meeting was called on October 1, 1955 to appoint a Board of Trustees. Those appointed were: Dr. J. Melenchuk, who became chairman, Mr. John Hull, Mr. Norman Slater, Mr. Alex Tannas and Mr. Nick Muller. Mr. F.W. Weder would continue as Secretary-Treasurer.

At the first meeting of the Board, November 2, 1955, a site of eleven lots (commonly known as Jim Bell’s Slough) on 52 Street and 50 Avenue was chosen as the location for the new School. The land site was purchased from Sam Hassan by Alex Tannas and development proceeded. It was an ideal spot, which was approved by the new Board, and construction could now go ahead. They would call the school Glen Avon, a name suggested by Mr. Norman Slater. Mr. Slater originated from Scotland and so the word ‘Glen’ meaning ‘long narrow valley’ since the school site was a low grassy spot as was the glens in his native land and ‘Avon’ after the ’Avon’ river in Scotland.

Approximately one year after the plebiscite, the first sod was turned by the late Mrs. Thomas. The footings were poured on July 13, 1956 and Mr. Slater placed the first Canadian coin he had earned into the footings for good luck. The school would have twelve classrooms, a large auditorium, shop, library, typing and home economics rooms.

With construction going ahead the Board advertised for teachers for the 1956-57 school year. The teachers, Mrs. Jane Dahlstedt, Mrs. Merele Dahlstedt, Mrs. Irene Boychuk, Mrs. Anna Fuller, Rose Bagan, Louis Hassan, under the supervision of the Principal, Mr. P. Dancey, held classes in the various Protestant Churches and Legion Hall until the School was ready in late December. The School was officially opened September 23, 1957 with the Minister of Education, A. Aulborg and R. Reierson in attendance. It is imperative to mention at this time that Mr. R. Racette was instrumental in helping teachers and Board with the initial administration in all areas of education within the School.

For many years, the original board members frequently visited the school, proud of their endeavor, no doubt. Mrs. Netty Ostapiw, the home economics teacher, was a great hostess for the school then and enjoyed catering to the members on their visits. Students remember ironing tablecloths and busily preparing for each and every visit.

With closing of the surrounding country schools and the bussing of some children from Saddle Lake, the school population exploded. Because of the steadily increasing enrollments,  the school building was expanded in 1958 and again in 1967.

Fifty years later, the student population had outgrown the original facility and a brand new school was needed. In May 2004, with staff and students sitting on the 10 acres of grass at 44th Avenue and 42nd street, just south of the St. Paul Regional School, Premier Ralph Klein and Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Ty Lund announced the approval of the proposal for the funding to build a brand new school. In April of 2005, the design committee representatives were Terry LaBoucane, trustee; Percy Malech, principal; Gord Delisle, head custodian; Maureen Miller, school council chair; Don Zarowny - Director of Facilities; Doug Yeo, Superintendant; Jean Champagne, Secretary-Treasurer; joined later by Doug Fedoruk Director of Facilities and Debbie Thorne, Principal 2006.

Excerpts taken from Mr. Louis Hassen’s history of Glen Avon and former and current staff contributions.

an image of the front of the new school Expand Image
our current facility, opened in 2008

The Current Glen Avon Protestant School

The new Glen Avon School was completed for the 2008-2009 school year. Staff and students were excited to begin the new year in such a spectacular building with state of the art technology, spacious classrooms, a large welcoming ‘hub’ common area, and of course, a regulation size gymnasium. With a lot of persistence and hard work from the planning committee over several years, the St. Paul Education Regional Division #1 Board and staff and students were proud to host their grand opening on September 5, 2008.

The School is justly proud of its scholastic achievements in the past and in the present and hopes that its high standards will continue into the future.