1945 - 1946
Enrollment: Bible - 32
At a fellowship meeting in Radville, June 30 to July 2, the reports regarding proposed organization were given by the committee selected the previous autumn. Finally, on July 2, 1945, it was agreed to organize a society of shareholders for "The promotion of Christian education in accordance with the principles and tenets of The Church of Christ," and "To establish, maintain and conduct schools and other institutions for the promotion of Christian and higher education." (These excerpts are taken from the Charter.)
Shareholders in the society would be faithful members of the Churches of Christ, over eighteen years of age, who had purchased a five dollar share. From and by these shareholders a board of directors with two-year terms was to be elected. On this July 2, 1945, the first board of directors was selected: G. J. Pennock, St. James, Manitoba (chairman); Wilfred Orr, Radville, (vice-chairman); J.C.Bailey, Radville (treasurer); H. E. Peterson, Radville; and Manley Jacobs, Horse Creek, Saskatchewan.
Would you like to meet the Directors of R. C. C.? They were a capable group. I respected and admired them very much: Gordon J. Pennock, chairman (preaching for the Burnell Street Congregation, Winnipeg), the youngest of the five, was a good organizer, mighty in action. He had faith in the school: "I believe that the Bible Schools have been the greatest factor responsible for the splendid condition of the work in Saskatchewan. Brethren have learned to take their place in sustaining the work of the local congregation largely through the school."
Wilfred Orr, vice-chairman (evangelist and builder). For him no sacrifice was too great for the cause of Christ. Like Chaucer's poor parson, "But Cristes lore and his apostles twelve he taught, but first he folwed it himselve."
J.C.Bailey, treasurer (evangelist, publisher, and editor of the Gospel Herald), was aggressive, hard working, with a burning evangelistic zeal.
H. E. Peterson was a successful, practical farmer who had a layman's deep interest in providing a Christian education for the young people of Saskatchewan. From experience, he knew the difficulties involved in sending high school children away from home.
Manley Jacobs was a plain-spoken farmer preacher who often untangled the knot with his blunt common sense.
On Tuesday, July 3, the first meeting of the Board of Directors was held at the home of J.C.Bailey. One of the major decisions made at this meeting was the choosing of a name for the school. No charter could be procured from the government without a name.
I shall long remember one amusing incident at this meeting. As Gordon J. Pennock wanted a Biblical name, Wilfred Orr was reading a list of names from the Bible concordance, and the other directors were listening attentively for a name that would suit their fancy. He read, "Bethel, Bethesda, Bethaven" - (a pause). "That's a good name," said Brother Pennock, "What does Bethaven mean?" After a search, Brother Orr replied, "House of Wickedness." Needless to say that name was rejected. (I was present because I was the first secretary for the Board).
It is rather interesting to note here that two of the names suggested that day were "Western Christian School" and "Western Canada Christian College" - names very similar to the one our school bears today. The name chosen that day was "Radville Christian College." It seemed presumptuous to call our school a college, when it had only one three month term of Bible study in the winter and another three week term in the summer. Moreover, these courses were conducted in two, very small, unfinished buildings. The people of the prairies have long been known for their faith in the future, and these five directors surely had great faith when they named their little school, Radville Christian College."
During the fall of 1945, the Board, directed by its chairman, Gordon Pennock, obtained a charter on a non-profit basis from the province of Saskatchewan under the Benevolent Societies Act. The Board did not plan to immediately extend the services of the school. Its energies were devoted toward making the new building suitable for winter occupation. Aided by several brethren who volunteered services, Brother Wilfred Orr, the building supervisor, worked faithfully to complete this latter task.
That winter, during the Bible school term, Radville Christian College had several "first" milestones. The first winter Bible classes were taught in the new building on the new campus near Long Creek. The first cook, Mrs. L. Gamble, was hired. (The students of the Bible school had cooked previous winters.) The teacher was paid a first set salary. He and his family were to live on seventy-five dollars a month. The first lectureship was held with Brother Claude A. Guild of Texas as the guest speaker.
The principal, Morris Bailey, reported that the total number in attendance at Radville Christian College was thirty-two. Of this number, twelve were enrolled for the entire term and several others attended the last two months. Board and tuition for students that year was twenty-one dollars a month.
1946 - 1947
Enrollment: Bible - 4; High School - 11
The first annual meeting of the shareholders was held at Horse Creek, Saskatchewan, on July 2, 1946. At this meeting, the shareholders requested that the directors investigate the possibilities of opening a high school department in September. I recall that Roger Peterson eloquently urged the need of a high school where young people could obtain their education from Christian teachers.
Why were the shareholders anxious to have a high school as part of R. C. C.'s work? In this country of sparsely settled areas where our severe winters create travel difficulties on country by-roads, parents are often obliged to send their children away from their farm homes to attend high school in a neighboring town. These parents are concerned about their young teenagers away from home, and would be relieved to place them in a residential school where the supervisors are consecrated Christians.
Furthermore, it is well recognized by educators that young people in their early teens are more concerned about obtaining the approval of their own age group than of their parents or teachers. During these critical years, wise parents try to place their children in an environment where they are able to associate with the kind of young people who will encourage them to better living rather than with those who would deter them.
Moreover, while most parents realize that the public school may give sound teaching in academic subjects, Christian parents know that education is incomplete without the inculcation of deep spiritual values as well.
These views among many others were heard at the Horse Creek meeting. After the prayerful consideration of the arguments in favour of establishing a high school and of the problems involvedin the project, the Board decided that classes in all the high school grades would commence at Radville Christian College on September 16, 1946.
I was asked to be the teacher. The Board did not have much choice in the matter of securing teachers, as I was then the only qualified high school teacher among the brethren in Saskatchewan.
It is rather interesting to recall, more than twenty years later, that I taught for several years at Radville Christian College without any written contract; in fact, without any motion in the minutes of the Board meetings officially engaging me as a teacher.
Not many residential high schools of modern days have opened with facilities as inadequate as ours. In our school building (the one on the banks of Long Creek) only three rooms, the classroom, the dining room and my bed-sitting room, had the finish plaster coat. We had decent flooring on one floor-our classroom. We had few chemicals for our laboratory and fewer books for our library shelf. In spite of the many inadequacies of our physical plant, I anticipated the opening of school with glowing enthusiasm, because I had dreamed of teaching in a Christian high school for fifteen years.
Under the direction of Wilfred Orr, a crew of volunteers worked many days before the opening of school, painting, carpentering, plastering and cleaning. On Sunday, September 15, I wrote in my diary, "The Johnson girls, Kay and Beverley, arrived last night. We have to make our own meals as we have no cook as yet. Am tired out but the school looks nice." I must have been like the doting mother who always thinks her children look lovely, because Mrs. L. Anderson later told me that when she arrived with her daughters she was so disappointed with the condition of the dormitory that she almost took them back home again. We didn't even have a coal stove in working order in the kitchen of the dormitory.
When school opened on Monday, September 16, I had six students. They were Kay and Beverley Johnson, Pauline Perry, Bernice Peterson, Harold Orr and Raymond Lock. As five more students (Sheldon Jefkins, Leo Seibel, Murray Cutting, Gordon Taylor, and Mabel Knutson) enrolled later, we had a total of eleven in the high school that year.
I taught the eight required courses to each of the four grades of high school. My fifteen minute lessons had no time for long winded jokes. There were no wasted words! Under my direction, the students studied a great deal by themselves. This was modern individualized study because of necessity! As well as teaching school, I acted as supervisor for the girls who were living upstairs in the school building. The boys lived across the river up town in the old Bible school dormitory, under the supervision of Morris Bailey. The daily Bible classes for the high school students were taught by Morris Bailey, Wilfred Orr, and J.C.Bailey.
We had many vexing problems that first year, such as how to keep at least one gas lamp in running order (we had no electricity), how to wash bedding without a washing machine, how to keep warm in a blizzard without storm windows, and how to keep the water out of our dining room during the spring thaws. I remember that one of the students, Leo Seibel, carried ninety, five-gallon pails of water out of our furnace and vegetable rooms one day. As the water seeped into these rooms, it had to be carried out, or else it would overflow into our dining room and kitchen which were in the basement of the building.
Notwithstanding our many problems, we did have a successful year. In spite of our lack of books and laboratory equipment, in the June Provincial Department of Education examinations, one of the graduates received the highest marks in our school unit of ten high schools, and another student received one hundred percent in both algebra and geometry.
>From the very first year, our students have written the standard and departmental examinations set by the Provincial Department of Education. The answer papers of our grades XI and XII students were shipped to the Department of Education at Regina where they were marked by a group of sub-examiners. Those students who passed these examinations were granted diplomas, and no questions asked regarding library and science equipment or teaching certificates of the instructors. Without question, from the very first year of operation, our graduates could enter Teachers' College, Nurses' Training Schools, or any University of Canada (if the graduate had taken the matriculation course). In fact, the grade XII matriculation course of Saskatchewan is recognized as first year arts in our Canadian universities and in American colleges.
In spite of the small enrollment that first year, many extra- curricular activities flourished. Mabel Knutson, secretary of the Students' Assembly, reports as follows in the May issue of the Messenger (a publication of the Board of Directors):
"In January we had a panel discussion on 'The attitude of Young People Toward Religion.' It was a pleasure to us all to study and organize material on this topic.
"In the early part of February, a bazaar was held to raise funds for the treasury of the students' assembly. It was a definite success. Several people remarked on the variety, originality, and number of articles displayed.
"There were many dejected faces when it was announced that we were each to write a four page essay on some suitable topic, later to be given as a speech at an oratorical contest. However, we lived through it and I know that each of us benefited a great deal by it. Social evenings which included a short program followed by a session of games and lunch were held every month throughout the school term. We also had an outdoor party this spring that was enjoyed by all.
"The first period of school every morning is devoted to Bible study and memory work. During the year the books of Matthew, Acts and James have been studied. A written synopsis of Acts, which we memorized, was a great help to us in remembering the contents of that book. It is really wonderful that we have the opportunity of going to a school under Christian supervision. The Lord needs sincere, earnest workers in His vineyard and I can think of no better way to prepare ourselves to fill this station in life than attending a school like Radville Christian College."
A highlight of that year was our spring lectureship. Brother Don Morris, president of Abilene Christian College, was our guest speaker. We shall long remember the encouraging words of Brother Morris as he looked over our small, unfinished building and muddy campus and declared with such evident sincerity in his voice, "You have a wonderful opportunity here, a wonderful opportunity."
In March of 1947, a war surplus airport building at Estevan was purchased by the board of directors for the sum of one thousand dollars. As it was estimated that the original cost of erecting this building was twenty thousand dollars, we were exceedingly pleased with this bargain. The major problem of the Board for the next year was to raise enough money to pay for the building and to pay for its transportation to Radville, a distance of nearly one hundred miles. For some time, because of the difficulty in obtaining a company that would be willing to move the building, there was some talk of moving our one small building from Radville to Estevan and establishing the school there. This idea of the school leaving Radville did not gain much favour as the two chief workers in the school, Wilfred Orr and J.C.Bailey, had their homes in Radville, and we could not envisage the school progressing favourably without their energetic support. Finally, in order to raise enough money to pay for the Air Force building and in order to decrease the moving problem, one wing had to be sold.
In May 1947, Radville Christian College held its first graduation exercises. The South Saskatchewan Star, Radville's weekly newspaper, gave this account of the event:
"About forty guests and students gathered in the dininghall of Radville Christian College Saturday evening (May 31) for a banquet in honor of the grade XII graduating class. After the meal the student body sang the school song which was followed by a short talk by Wilfred Orr, vice-president of the board of directors, who acted as master of ceremonies. The guest speaker was Cecil T. Bailey, principal Rush Lake School near Moose Jaw. His subject was 'The Power of Little Things'. The valedictory address was given by Miss Mabel Knutson, one of the graduates, who took for her subject, 'Heaven is not reached at a single bound.'"
"H. E. Peterson spoke for a few minutes on the value of education. Raymond Lock, president of the students' assembly, gave a short talk and read last wills and testaments of the departing students. J.C.Bailey presented the two graduates, Kathleen Johnson and Mabel Knutson, with gifts of books from the board of directors and gave a talk on the future of the school."
"The program was interspersed with songs by a trio of Mrs. J.C.Bailey, Leo Seibel, and Roger Peterson, a duet by Bernice Peterson and Leo Seibel, and a Norwegian song by Martin Knutson, Sr. The evening closed with 'Blest be the tie that binds.'"
During the summer holidays, the basement for the Estevan airport building was partially constructed. Also arrangements for transporting the building were completed, but there was further delay because the highway from Estevan to Radville was undergoing extensive repairs.
1947 - 1948
Enrollment: Bible - 19; High School - 17
In the fall J.C.Bailey became head of the Bible Department and business manager for the school. There were nineteen students taking the special five month course in Bible that year. Brother J. C. Bailey continued to be head of the Bible department until the spring of 1955, when he moved to Carman. During the years that he taught at Radville Christian College his optimism, courage, and zeal encouraged many of our students to dedicate themselves to Christ's cause.
As business manager, Brother Bailey worked ceaselessly to raise money for the school - to pay for the moving of the building from Estevan, for the installation of electric lights (a special line had to be built from the town of Radville), and to obtain other much needed equipment for the school. In his efforts he wrote hundreds of letters and made many trips to different parts of Canada and the United States. He appeared on the Lectureship program at Abilene Christian College several times speaking on our behalf, acquainting the many thousands of brethren who visited Abilene with the needs of our little school. A news report from the Trumpet, January 1948, says:
"Brother J.C.Bailey and five of the boys from the Bible department attended the lectureship at David Lipscomb College at Nashville, Tennessee, during the last part of January. This week the five boys have been giving talks in chapel service telling about their impressions of the trip."
Another excerpt from the same issue of the Trumpet reads as follows:
"The students of Radville Christian College in both the high school and the Bible department are starting a competition to see which department can raise the more money. This fund is to be used for a new building which will be erected next summer. Brother J.C.Bailey brought this idea for the campaign back from the Christian College in Nashville, Tennessee. I am sure that these donations will be a great help to R. C. C. and if we all put our effort into raising this money, we will benefit by it. The quota for the high school is set at twenty-five hundred (2,500.00). This campaign is to last from March to November."
With J.C.Bailey's determined encouragement, the students did help to raise a big portion of their quota. They wrote letters to friends and relatives, or they pleaded with them during the holidays. Brother Bailey spurred the students to greater activity by progress graphs on the bulletin board and by regular announcements in chapel. I suppose the greatest factor that has contributed to Brother Bailey's success as a fund raiser for the school is that he believes in his cause so implicitly that he gives most liberally himself.
It is difficult for people who have attended only the public schools of this country or our Christian Colleges in the United States to visualize the pitiful inadequacies of the equipment of our school in those early days. Imagine that a reporter of the Trumpet during the second year of school considered the addition of a pencil sharpener to the school of sufficient importance to report the fact in the October issue of the paper!
The three highlights of the spring term were the installation of electric lights, the fire scare, and the flood. I shall long remember the cheer that arose on the eve of the spring banquet when the girls discovered that they could turn on the electric lights. No more smoky kerosene lamps in the bedrooms; no more gas lamps for study hall; no more trudging with gasoline cans across the railway bridge (there were no cars on campus); no more frustrations when flying insects destroyed our mantles. We were enjoying the miracle of electricity.
One morning during chapel service, while Brother Bailey was away at the David Lipscomb Lectureship, I smelled smoke. Very quietly, without disturbing anyone, I ran downstairs to the furnace room. There, flames were leaping to the ceiling. Again, quietly I ran upstairs and whispered to Ray Lock, our fifteen year old janitor sitting in the rear of the classroom, "There is a fire in the basement." Without disturbing the chapel service, we rushed downstairs to put out the fire. On the way, Ray grabbed a fire extinguisher and I hurried to the pump in the basement. As soon as I started pumping, Harold Orr (grade XI) sensed there was a fire and ran upstairs for another fire extinguisher. The three of us worked quickly for a few minutes before the other students realized the building was on fire. With the help of all the boys, the fire was soon extinguished without much damage except the burning of some sacks stored in the furnace room. After the smoke cleared away, classes resumed; but I was somewhat shaky all day, especially when I considered what might have happened.
I remember the excitement on the campus in April, when the boys built earthen dykes around our one building to hold back the water that was overflowing from rampaging Long Creek. The boys rotated for service on the dykes during class hours. Since the road had been cut off by high water over the bridge, our boys rowed the boat across the widened Long Creek to obtain certain necessary supplies from town. During the night, in order to watch the dykes more closely, they slept on the classroom floor. Those were tense hours for us all. Then late one night, the water broke through the dykes. As we looked through the open door, we could see the water swirling madly around the building. I hastily called the girls from their beds upstairs. At the time, I marvelled at their speed in dressing. Later, one girl told me that she had been lying in bed in her jeans waiting for me to call. Except for one student who was upstairs weeping from fear, the entire student body (sixteen) worked feverishly to clear the basement floor, where our dining room and kitchen were located, of all the supplies, movable furniture and more than a hundred heavy bags of cement. Once I saw a little girl carry alone a bag of cement up the stairs. The final trip was made in water reaching the arm pits. The task was completed in less than thirty minutes. I have never seen young people work so efficiently nor so rapidly as upon that occasion. After a gab fest, discussing the amusing incidents of the evening, we sang a few hymns and retired for the remaining hours of the night.
Next morning, because the spillway below the campus had broken, the water receded to its normal course and we were left with a dining room full of water and a disorderly array of dishes, food, and cement in the hallway and on the Bible classroom floor. We laboriously carried the necessary kitchen and dining room equipment to the empty Orr house nearby, (the Orr family had moved to Moose Jaw), and used it as a dining room for the remaining months of the term.
We had student cooks during those two months. They rallied gaily to their task, but three items - chocolate cake, prunes, and string beans - occurred rather frequently on the menu. Their frequent presence engendered much good-natured repartee and I recall with amusement that the first course of the Farewell Banquet that year consisted of an inch square of chocolate cake, one prune, and four pieces of string beans!
1948 - 1949
Enrollment: Bible - 20; High School - 19
In the fall Cecil T. Bailey and Doris Lewis were added to the staff. Brother Bailey taught for two years, and afterward went to Winnipeg to further his education at the University there. Miss Lewis taught for nearly three years, and then she left to marry one of the Board members, George Husband.
I used to say that if my bed-sitting room in the school could talk, it would relate some interesting tales. It was used as classroom, committee room, counsellor's room, reception room canteen, and even the room where our popular young commercial teacher received a proposal of marriage on a cold, blizzardy February evening.
In the late fall of 1948 one-half of the H shaped Air Force building from Estevan finally arrived on the campus. Immediately after the Christmas holidays, this building was used as a Bible school classroom and boys dormitory. The following summer the other half of the building was attached to it.
>From the Messenger a report on construction reveals the problems that confronted the school at this time:
"Considerable progress has been made in developing the physical accommodations a Radville Christian College. The present building has been improved by the addition of storm windows which were sorely needed. Several more students' desks are on order and a washing machine has been purchased. Students' laundry problem has been a real one because the only laundry in Radville closed shop some months ago.
"The foundation for the building purchased from the War assets Corporation has been completed with the exception of the floor, and one half of the building now has been moved into place. The other half is still in Estevan, ninety miles away. It will be impossible for the mover to complete his contract until the roads clear up in the spring. The moving of the building has been a trying proposition. Many months of negotiation took place before we could get a mover who was able and willing to undertake the job. We were finally successful when we cut the building into halves so that they could be moved separately. This, of course, considering the cost of cutting it, and then having it rebuilt intact, has run us into a further expense. It will be still a very cheap building to us when the job is completed.
In the meantime, while we are waiting for the completion of this work, many inconveniences and hardships are being borne both by teachers and students. Without their willingness to bear these burdens, R. C. C. would never have been born. We should ever be grateful to them.
In the spring of 1949, Radville Christian College had an influenza epidemic. Many of the thirty-nine students (nineteen high school, twenty Bible department) became seriously ill with the disease. As girls' supervisor, I attempted to nurse the sick girls. One evening during the siege, I became rather frightened when a student reported that a girl who had been well enough to eat supper in the dining hall, now two hours later, had a very high fever. Although worried, I tried to appear unconcerned because I have lived sufficiently among young girls to know that an adult must maintain an outwardly impassive attitude toward sickness or their sympathetic imaginations will often leap forward to a tragic ending. Upon further examination, I realized the report had not been exaggerated. Hesitating to call the doctor, because he did not appreciate night calls, I decided to act as doctor and nurse myself, giving remedies and nursing treatment suggested by a home doctor book. Because I had so very little previous nursing experience and because I felt so responsible and alone in the night, I can yet recall very vividly my intense relief when much later in the evening the patient's temperature had dropped to 100 degrees.
The sick girls fared tolerably well with our attempts at nursing, but I really pitied the boys those March days. Except for the first year the school was in operation, the boys did not have a supervisor living with them until Brother L. Anderson came in the fall of 1952. Although a staff member was responsible for their general behaviour, the boys managed their dormitory lives except for an occasional check by the staff supervisor. This year fifteen boys were lodged in one room of the Air Force building, and the others lived in a tamped-earth house a few rods away from the school. In cold and disorderly rooms, the sick boys had to lie. I remember that Doris Lewis and I went to visit one sick boy in the Knutson house. Since the fire in the coal heater had gone out, the room was cold. I am sure the room had not been swept for a week, yet the patient was cheerful and uncomplaining. He informed us that his roommate would build a fire as soon as he came home. No fire in the stove in March in Saskatchewan!!!
In those years, the students grumbled less about their really poor living conditions than they do now when conditions are comparatively good (Young people are not alone in this failing!) The Knutson house was an extremely cold and drafty building because it was unfinished. It did not improve the comfort of the building to have forgetful boys in charge of refueling the coal heater. In spite of all the imperfections of their dormitory, the boys cheerfully joked about life there.
In the winters when the boys lived at the Knutson house and the Torkelson house (another unfinished tamped-earth building on the river bank), the chief topic of conversation at the breakfast time was how cold their dormitories were. It was so cold, they said, that their words froze as they came out of their mouth. The boys would discuss what these words would sound like when they thawed out in the spring. Alice Orr states in her valedictory speech entitled "Memories of Yester-year:"
"I remember hearing the tall tales told by the boys each morning of how cold it had been in their dormitory, now Miss Torkelson's home. One I couldn't quite believe was that it was so cold the flame in the stove froze and each morning they had to light a match to thaw it out."
We had heavy snow fall accompanied by fierce blizzards during the first years our school was at Radville. Some winters the roads were blocked to the school, so that the mail, bread, milk and other necessities had to be hauled over to the school on a hand sled. For years, visitors complained about the inaccessibility of our campus. In winter the side roads were closed by huge snow drifts, and in spring we sat in a sea of mud.
We always attended church services up town at the meeting house. Although the walking distance, even by crossing the river on the ice, was almost a mile, the students were always present at all services no matter what the weather was like. No faint heart would have dared to suggest that the weather was too cold or too stormy to miss worship services - the other students would have been shocked at the suggestion. The Trumpet says that when Amy Perry sprained her ankle in January 1950, she was able to get to meeting on Lord's Day because several of the boys volunteered to take her in the hand sleigh.
1949 - 1950
Enrollment: Bible - 18; High School - 18
For a few years, I directed the cleaning of the classrooms and dormitories in preparation for school opening. I recall that this August, Myrtle Bailey (Mrs. J.C.B.) from Radville and Ann Johnson from Estevan were assisting. Looking at the drab, brown walls and ceiling of the northwest room of the girls' dormitory, minus the finish coat of plaster, we determined to plaster it ourselves. After persuading J.C.Bailey to mix up the plaster, we lugged bucketsful upstairs and cheerfully began plastering. As he felt sorry for the inexperienced plasterers, J.C.B. soon began to assist us, though he had other pressing business. You can well imagine our problems, especially mine, as I am awkward with anything in my hands, except a piece of chalk. Eventually, I fell to smoothing the plaster with my bare hands. When the job was completed, we were rather proud of the only slightly bumpy effect, but my plaster- eaten hands were sore to the touch and sharp pains shot through them when they contacted water. I shall never forget how grateful I was to Kay Johnson '47, then a young teacher at nearby Great West School, when she washed all the floors for me on Saturday.
This year (1949-1950) we had a lively grade IX class. When I heard of the escapades on the river of four of the boys, I shuddered and then reflected that all boys in their early teens must assuredly have guardian angels, and that those angels must needs work overtime.
In all our years at Radville, with our campus on the river bank, we were fortunate never to have had a major water accident or even a minor one that had any serious after effects. Those four boys, that year, delighted in riding logs almost before the ice had broken up, or in paddling old Air Force oil-drum boats.
Some river incidents could have been serious. During the first year of high school at the time of the spring thaw, the boys had a special game of hopping from one ice floe to another (the staff did not know of this game). One floe sailed away from the others too fast for the two boys on it to be able to get near another. There they were on a small chunk of ice, having a free ride down the river. They began to yell for help and another student, hearing the yells, rescued them with a row boat.
Two other boys, skating on forbidden thin ice near the bridge, fell in and escaped with only a few minor cuts made by the sharp edges of the ice. Every year some enterprising students were punished for going on thin ice too soon in the fall or too late in the spring. We always breathed a sigh of relief when the dangerous periods were over and all students were safe. I hope you can understand why I believe that young boys have guardian angels.
In spite of our worries, the river at Radville was a great source of pleasure to our students. They skated and played many hours of hockey in the winter, and swam many hours during the months of May and June. Some students had a longer swimming season than that. Rumour says that Harold Orr and Raymond Lock had their first swim in the spring the day the ice broke up and that their last swim in the fall was the evening before the river froze. During the 1946-1947 term, one boy made a kayak and all the boys had to try using it. For a few weeks, we had many wet clothes and dripping boys until the boys had mastered the technique of balancing the craft.
One year, two boys (Warren MacLeod and David Williams) built a sturdy cabin near the river out of scraps from the nearby nuisance ground. Here during most of their free hours, they entertained their guests and lived unmarred by the sins of civilization. The cabin was behind the trees on the far corner of the campus, out of ear shot of all school bells and other distracting forces.
Often, when I think of the river at Radville, my mind turns to hockey games, and then I have an amusing recollection of Jim Williams' first hockey game. In the early winter of 1952 when he arrived on the campus from Cortez, Colorado, the boys at R. C. C. were organizing the hockey team for their first game of the season, but they lacked a goalie. Why not ask the new student? A good idea, except that Jim had never played hockey; in fact, he had not even been a spectator at a hockey game. These minor disqualifications did not deter the enthusiastic spirits of our youthful sportsmen. After a minimum of oral instructions, big Jim was persuaded to stand guard at the goal net. As he acquitted himself well during that first game, Jim remained the star goalie for the R. C. C. hockey team during the two years he attended high school.
Now to return to the 1949-1950 term. It was in the spring that our aforementioned lively grade IX class wrote a play for the graduation banquet. "The Worm Turns," with David Lidbury as the "worm," is lost to posterity but lives in our memory.
While students enjoyed the river and their amateur theatricals, the Board of Directors was attempting to raise money to improve the physical plant. It is interesting to read an article in the Trumpet written by assistant editor, Roger Peterson, describing the needs of the school that spring:
"Radville Christian College is in its fourth year of operation. During these four years a great deal of progress has been made. The pioneering years have not been easy either for the teachers or for the students. Nor are the pioneering years over, but they are well on the way out.
"A great deal of time and money has been spent in building Radville Christian College to its present condition. It is estimated that present property can be valued at twenty thousand dollars.
"But we have not yet reached the end of the road. As students we are not complaining about our lot, but we would like to see both of the buildings of Radville Christian College completely finished before the beginning of the fall term in September.
"In order to accomplish this we must have your (The readers') help. About half of the cement in the new dorm has been poured. It must be completed before fall. A large entrance, now partly constructed, is to be finished on the front of this building. The basement, to be used as kitchen and dining room, is to be plastered and decorated for this purpose. Each of the four large rooms on the ground floor must be decorated and painted. Besides this, there is a host of other jobs which must be done before the opening of the new term.
"Friends, we need your assistance. Any financial help that you could give would be greatly appreciated. Why not have a part in building a place in Canada where young people can come together to study from God's word and better prepare themselves for service in the vineyard of the Lord?"
1950 - 1951
Enrollment: Bible - 11; High School - 25
Though Roger had ambitious plans for the construction work for the summer, very little was accomplished because of lack of funds. The October issue of the Trumpet carries a short descriptive notice of improvements:
"Before the students arrived, Miss Torkelson directed the cleaning of the buildings. Assisting her were Mrs. J. C. Bailey, who also cooked for a few days, Blake Van Horne, Brother Boyer and Alice Orr. The walls and ceilings in both the classrooms, the hall and stairways were painted or varnished. Brother Boyer cleaned the boys' dormitory.
"A helpful addition to our equipment was some book- shelves built by Brother E. Perry."
We welcomed to our campus that fall Brother and Sister Eugene Perry. They were hard working and capable members of our staff for two years. I think people with low salaries should take lessons on how to live comfortably from the Perrys. They surely knew how to stretch their few dollars.
Because we had no caretaker, the grass and weeds had grown waist high by the time the Perrys arrived. Although they must have been stunned by the sight of our unkempt campus, they said very little. Great self-control on Eugene's part!
Brother Perry, a graduate of Abilene Christian College, became full-time instructor, sponsor of a very popular mechanics club, and boys' supervisor. Mrs. Perry was girls' supervisor and was given the sum of five dollars a month for her duties. In 1952 the Perrys left R. C. C. to join the faculty of the newly established Great Lakes Christian College at Beamsville, Ontario, Brother Perry's home town.
I have not previously mentioned the salaries of our high school teachers. They were of necessity very low because the Board had very little money to give. When Cecil T. Bailey first taught at Radville Christian College, he received eighty-five dollars a month. He and his wife had five children to clothe and feed on that sum. To supplement the income, Mrs. Bailey taught in a nearby public school. The staff members never complained about their low salaries and became embarrassed when visitors commented on their sacrifices.
In the spring the water seeped into our basement dining room and kitchen more than usual. Mrs. Tinlin, our cook, wore rubber boots while she was preparing the meals. The building had been built too close to the river and because the cement was cracking, it was not possible to keep the kitchen dry. In desperation, we moved all the kitchen and dining equipment, except the stove, over to the new, empty Bible department classroom in the Air Force building. There, Mrs. Tinlin cooked for twenty-five students under very adverse circumstances for several weeks - no stove but a hot plate, no cupboards but a few boxes, and no refrigerator. Yet, Mrs. Tinlin cheerfully maintained that cooking that way was better than walking around in two or three inches of water.
After we moved from the basement, the water continued to rise. When school closed, Bernard Straker used the row boat to enter the vegetable room of the basement and collect his mother's fruit jars. He was very proud of his accomplishment! Needless to say, that basement was never again used for our dining room and kitchen.
That spring, Roger Peterson became our commercial teacher, and director of our A Capella Chorus (following in Miss Lewis' footsteps). During the first five years Roger Peterson taught at the school, with the gradually increasing enrollment, he developed a fine A Capella Chorus which sang at public concerts, Teachers' Conventions, and travelled to other towns and cities to present musical programs and consequently advertise our school. In many ways our A Capella Chorus has been our school's best advertisement, as few small high schools in the province have chorus groups.
That was the year Lois Orr took all of her grade XII and half of her grade XI. She received a good A average on the twelve departmental examinations written in June.