Box 639, 242 7th Avenue South West, Eston, SK S0L 1A0
Phone: 306-962-4423
Email: kim.hobbs@sunwestsd.ca

ESTON SCHOOL HISTORY - Part I  (see below)

ESTON SCHOOL HISTORY - Part II (click on this link)

HISTORY OF THE STAIN GLASS WINDOWS  (click on this link)

PAST GRADUATES OF ECS (also known as Eston High School)
          (this past graduate listing will be updated as class lists from pre-1972 are
          added) 

 

ESTON SCHOOL HISTORY . . . Part I

What follows is a history of the Eston School.  Information has been taken from the Prairie West Historical Society history book and the writings of past Division Board Chairman and Provincial School Trustee, Lorne Byrnes.

Prior to 1916, Eston children of school age were transported daily to Guthrie School, two miles south.  In 1916, the north part of Scarlett's Drug Store, on Main Street, was put into use as a classroom with Mr. Maddox as teacher.  Some months later a new two‑room stucco schoolhouse was built near the site of the present elementary school. 

By 1924, the growing number of children warranted the erection of a larger building and a four‑room brick building was built on a site west of the original school.  Mrs. Nelda Willis, whose husband, Maurice, came to Eston as principal of the school in 1936, vividly recalls the school building.

"The school, a square, flat‑roofed brick building consisted of four classrooms on the main floor.  Two more classrooms were eventually made available in the basement.  Sometime later a combined chemistry and physics laboratory made its appearance, also in the basement.  Each classroom had its’ own coat and lunch box area.  The main door, on the front and east side of the school was opened after one climbed about ten or twelve outside steps.  On opening that door one was confronted by rubbers, overshoes, ball, bats, etc., all fighting for space in a ten by twelve entry.  From the main floor, going up, was a long stairway to a very small room called the "Principal's Office".  However, it was more like al junk room.  Hidden in the conglomeration a small amount of laboratory equipment was eventually discovered.  An array of left‑over decorations from concerts long past was found underneath whatever, hanging on the walls and in various‑sized boxes.  Valentine and Christmas paraphernalia made a half‑hearted attempt to brighten the room.  Mixed in with all this was a small amount of sports equipment, all of which were wonderful dust collectors.  The aroma from the chemical toilets in the basement did not make the environment a pleasant place in which to work.

A few students from the surrounding countryside attended the town school.  Since some arrived by horse‑back or horse‑drawn vehicles it was necessary to have a barn to accommodate the horses.  This building was located on the north side of the school yard.  Two seldom used tennis courts were situated on the east side of the school yard.  A narrow wooden sidewalk led the way to the school from 1st Street West past the tennis courts."

Each year the school population increased and new classes formed.  With each additional teacher a new satellite room was built or moved in to the rear and west of the brick school.

After two controversial rate-payers elections the "Larger School Unit" was formed.  The Eston‑Elrose School Unit #33 was formed in January 1953.   At that time there was the old brick school in Eston, which housed mostly high school students and 8 satellite or "Cottage Schools" for the elementary pupils. 

One of the first priorities for the unit board was to provide an elementary school in Eston.  Construction of the Elementary School was started in 1953 and it officially opened in 1955.  At that time Eston did not have sewer and water, but the town was busy organizing the installation of these utilities.  The opening of the school was delayed nearly a year until these utilities were available.  The first construction consisted of the core of the (present) elementary school.  There were later two additions.  In a few months the student body had increased to such an extent that preparations were soon underway for a ten‑room elementary school.   Before completion it was already too small and additional classrooms were added.   With the continuing population explosions (for three years in a row the births in Eston Hospital numbered about 140 per year), preparations again were soon underway for a new High School.  This building was constructed in the southern part of the town.  Here, there was more space, which made expansion possible, as well as plenty of room for outdoor sports.  The new building consisted of ten classrooms, an auditorium, physics and chemistry laboratory, woodworking shop, home economics room, typing room and at long last, the Principal had an office and the teachers had a consultation room.

A few years later, by 1964, further expansion of the high school enabled all junior high grades to attend the senior building, freeing classrooms in the elementary school for the continuing "baby boom" explosion.  There was a decline in student population in the seventies and eighties and, two rooms then not needed in the elementary school were converted into Regional Library use.  In the high school, a band‑room was well‑used and computers now over‑shadow typewriters.

Two principals prior to Mr. Willis were Mr. Bill Davis and Mr. Massey; Mr. Willis was principal from 1936 to 1965, supervising both the High School and Elementary from 1960 to 1963.  In 1963, Clayton Mills became the Elementary School Principal, followed by Leslie Engen in 1966, Carl Hanson in 1970, Wally Novak in 1977 and Bill Hartnell in 1982.  At the high School, Peter Podhorodeski became Principal in 1966, Robert Cardinal in 1970, Ray Gordon in 1972, Don Sterzuk in 1977, John Lockwood in 1980 and Lorne A. Johnson in 1982.