Western Christian College
1951 - 1955

1951 - 1952

Enrollment: Bible - 4; High School - 31

During the summer, H. E. Peterson, chairman of the board and building supervisor, together with the help of others, finished the basement of the Air Force building sufficiently so that it could be used as dining hall and kitchen for this term. Mrs. J.C.Bailey had the pleasure of being the first cook in the new quarters. The enlarged dining room and the kitchen free from water seepage were enjoyed by both students and cook. In all their years of labouring for the school, that was the only one in which Brother and Sister Bailey lived on the campus. The boys especially enjoyed her home-made buns and cinnamon rolls.

Brother Peterson, a farmer living ten miles from Radville, was one of the five original members of the Board of Directors. He remained on the board for ten years. During that time he laboured tirelessly for the school. Since he is a good carpenter, he spent hours finishing the buildings, laying cement floors, hanging doors and making many necessary repairs during the term. Even though he did not live on the campus, he did much of the work of a custodian.

From its very first year, Radville Christian College had its annual oratorical contest, and it has always been compulsory for all students to participate in this event. Our winners would then enter the Unit competition, but we won no awards until the 1951-52 term, when our representative placed second in the school unit contest (our school unit had ten high schools). We were very proud of Mavis Bailey and her silver cup. Her topic was "Learning to Bear the Burden in Our Youth."

In the fall, the merit system was introduced into our school and for many years we found it an effective (though not perfect) way of encouraging the young people to strive harder in their academic life, extra-curricular activities, and character and personality development. At the annual farewell banquet where the staff entertained the students on June 21, 1952, a number of awards were given to the students for the first time in the history of the school. "Esprit De Corps" crests were presented to the students who were prompt, cooperative, courteous, and obedient. Achievement bars in various fields were presented to many students. The Bible Scholarship winners in each grade were Mavis Bailey, Carole Krogsgaard, Alice Orr, and Ruth Rogers. The presentation of awards for the year has since become an integral part of the annual Farewell Banquet.

1952 - 1953

Enrollment: Bible - 3; High School - 38

During the summer holidays, Roger Peterson, with the help of Walter Straker and Bernard Straker (two Radville Christian College students) built the kitchen cupboards and the apartment for the Andersons. The large rooms at each end of the Air Force building were divided into bedrooms and washrooms for the boys. The two middle rooms became our classrooms. The old classroom in the girls' dormitory had been divided into a new bedroom and a living room. The credit for decorating and furnishing the new living room certainly goes to Mrs. H. E. Peterson. When school opened, we were surely proud of that room. For the first time in the history of the school, we had a common living room where students could visit, play quiet games, and have their numerous hymn singing sessions.

That fall Brother and Sister L. Anderson were added to our staff. Brother Anderson was the first boys' supervisor who actually livedon the campus with the boys, and he was also the first caretaker of the school. Sister Anderson was in charge of the kitchen and taught cooking and sewing to the home economics girls. For five years Brother and Sister Anderson created a fine home-like atmosphere for the boys. Brother Anderson cared for the boys like a wise and thoughtful father, and Mrs. Anderson managed the kitchen very efficiently during those years, taking time off to repair trousers or sew on buttons for the boys and play the occasional game of Scrabble with them.

Sister Williams was also added to the staff that fall. She came as girls' supervisor and part time cook. The Trumpet says the following about her arrival and work:

"From way down south in Cortez, Colorado, has come our new supervisor, Sister Ruth Williams, (Aunt Ruth as some of the girls call her). Sister Williams is interested in art and is sponsor of our Artists' Club. We feel that this year is going to be one of the most enjoyable and profitable years for both girls and supervisor."

Mrs. Williams served seven years and during that time she was truly a mother to the girls and a very loyal and conscientious member of our staff. I shall let the Trumpet describe the arrival of the Donald Perrys too:

"Brother and Sister Donald Perry arrived at Radville Christian College on September 16 and moved into the house formerly occupied by the Eugene Perrys. Brother Perry is busily engaged in devising various ways and means of interesting his students in physics, biology, geometry, and the like, while Sister Perry is getting accustomed to the routine of housekeeping.

"Brother and Sister Perry have been married recently. Sister Perry was formerly a nurse in Toronto (a graduate of the University of Toronto school of nursing). The Perrys met when Brother Perry went to Toronto to study at the University there and to preach for one of the Toronto Churches of Christ. They were married shortly after Brother Perry decided to teach at Radville Christian College.

"Sister Perry, besides managing her new home, is teaching a course in home nursing to the grade IX and X home economics classes. The only regret the older students have is that they cannot take the course.

"We extend a hearty welcome to the 'new' Perrys and hope that they will enjoy their stay here at our college."

The Perrys stayed three years. After leaving Radville, Donald Perry has taught several years at Great Lakes Christian College and now (1969) is in his seventh year as headmaster of the Mawlai Christian School at Assam, India.

We did appreciate the more complete staff and better facilities that year. One great benefit of starting with few advantages is that every addition, no matter how insignificant to others, seems such a marvelous blessing.

We won the Field Meet Trophy again. During the entire eleven years our school was located at Radville we won many awards in Local and Unit Field Meets. In the parades, our school placed first or second every year. In the track and field events, our students won medals and crests for receiving the highest number of points in their division from the very first year (1947) when Kay Johnson won a medal. We have had many R.C.C. students participate in the provincial semi-finals at Estevan, and one of our runners, Daryl Tucker, received a placing in the Provincial finals at Saskatoon.

H. E. Peterson had long argued that as Radville Christian College existed for the purpose of educating children of parents who paid taxes to the public schools, Radville Christian College property should not be taxed. Brother Peterson, together with Ernest Andreas, discussed the matter with government authorities at Regina and after a period of negotiation, in March 1953, the provincial government passed an act to incorporate Radville Christian College. This act also provided for the exemption of taxes on all land and all personal property owned by our school "while used for school and educational purposes."

That year we were very proud to have ten graduates. The South Saskatchewan Star carried the following account of the graduation exercises:

"More than one hundred guests attended the annual graduation banquet and exercises of the Radville Christian College held on Saturday, March 28, 1953. For the occasion the dining hall was beautifully decorated in mauve, green and white. The dinner was prepared and served by the students.

"Verna Floyd read the last will and testament of the graduating class and Carole Krogsgaard read the prophecies.

"Alice Orr gave the valedictory address. She recalled amusing and interesting incidents of school life, and from these, suggested some worthwhile lessons learned.

"Donald Perry was the faculty speaker. He pointed out that opportunity favours the prepared mind and said that the lives of the graduates would prove the worth of their instruction at Radville Christian College.

"Chief speaker of the evening was Alvin Jennings of Saskatoon. He emphasized the need to study oneself and to continue education after graduation.

"Two plays were presented: 'Fixers Incorporated' and 'Paul Splits the Atom.'

"The girls' Sextet sang 'Precious Memories.' The girls' chorus sang 'Mah Lindy Lou,' 'My Curly Headed Baby' and 'There's a Balm in Gilead.'

"Five selections were given by the mixed chorus, 'Smilin' Through,' 'Ol' Man River,' 'Deep in My Heart,' 'Bluebird of Happiness,' and 'Goin' Home.'

"The choruses were directed by Roger Peterson and student Bernard Straker was chairman for the evening."

These ten graduates are all good citizens today serving God and man in their various communities. Among them, we have our first graduate to receive a college degree, John C. Bailey; the first one to be awarded a doctor of philosophy degree, David Olson; the first graduate to become president of the Women's Service Club, Shirley Lewis Straker; a co-worker of our first mission team to the Indians of Northern Saskatchewan, Alice Orr Williams; and the first dean of our Junior College, David Lidbury.

Graduation has always been a memorable day for the undergraduates but this was especially true at R. C. C., because the activities of the day were their responsibility. With a minimum of direction, the food, decoration, and program committees carried out their tasks. Visitors were frequently amazed to note that our regular cook had a holiday on that day, and the preparation of three or sometimes four course meals for 125-140 guests would be done by students under the watchful eye of some sixteen year old Grade XI girl. The After-Grad party was washing, sorting and packing all the dishes they had borrowed from friends in Radville!

At the time of the 1953 graduation exercises, the Radville Christian College Alumni Association was organized with Raymond Lock of Saskatoon as first president, and Doris Lewis Husband of Wawota as our first secretary. This association has been helpful to our school in many ways, such as purchasing books for our library and partly financing the building of the telephone line to the school. The largest single gift to our library while located at Radville was a nearly three hundred dollar set of books from an alumna - Leona Start Fleming.

1953 - 1954

Enrollment: Bible - 6; High School - 50

At the annual meeting, there was a lengthy discussion regarding the possibility of constructing a third building on the campus. With our increased enrollment, the dormitories were filled to capacity. In fact, the boys were over crowded. Six boys slept in one room the size of an ordinary bedroom. Moreover, the Board realized that if the fifth year of school work should be added, as Donald Perry was so urgently requesting, more classroom space was required. At the conclusion of the discussion, a motion was made and carried, authorizing the Board to make plans for starting the construction of a $50,000.00 school building and made plans for a $15,000.00 boys' dormitory. Roger Peterson was replaced by Gladys Gibson on the teaching staff, and starting April 1, 1954, he devoted full-time travelling among the brethren to raise money for this project. The Board planned to employ the "Broadway Finance Plan." so called because the Broadway Church in Lubbock, Texas, used it.

Let me explain the operation of this plan. The school would sell interest bearing bonds of different denominations and maturing at different dates. The interest coupons would be honoured by the Radville Bank of Commerce, and in this bank was also set up a trust fund into which donations would be deposited to pay for the bonds on their maturity dates.

Roger Peterson spent six months travelling among our Canadian brethren selling bonds and gaining pledges for regular monthly donations. While he raised several thousand dollars in this manner, the money had to be used to pay off pressing overdue debts rather than constructing our much needed boys' dormitory.

During the summer while Roger Peterson, J.C.Bailey, and the various members of the Board of Directors were struggling to raise the school out of financial quicksands, a new idea arose that aroused considerable interest among the shareholders. Alvin Jennings, a young evangelist from Texas who had established a congregation in Saskatoon, our University City, had received an offer of fifteen acres from the town of Sutherland, a suburb of Saskatoon, for a school campus. The mayor of Sutherland and other officials of both Sutherland and Saskatoon showed by letter and by direct interview that they would willingly support in many ways the establishment of a Christian school in that area. As there was no public high school in the town of Sutherland, all the high school students were taken by bus to Saskatoon. Brother Jennings and the other brethren of Saskatoon considered Sutherland's offer a tremendous opportunity to enlarge our enrollment. Brother Jennings widely publicized the offer in his Saskatoon Star, and he urged the Board of Directors to move the school from Radville to this new location. The suggestion stirred up a genuine interest in the school. "To move" or "not to move" was the conversational topic among us all.

Finally, on September 4, a special meeting of the shareholders was called to consider the question. The largest attendance of shareholders present for a meeting was recorded at that time. Many who had been shareholders for several years attended for the first time. Many present had very decided opinions regarding the best location for the school. Raymond Meneer was chairman of the meeting. We had several very eloquent and persuasive speeches. After a long day of debate and discussion the final outcome was that the school would remain in Radville; for if we had been unable to raise $15,000.00 to build a much needed dormitory, how could we reasonably expect to raise sufficient money to build a completely new set of buildings on the vacant campus at Sutherland?

Although Brother Jennings and other brethren from Saskatoon were disappointed at the turn of the vote, their campaign really benefited Radville Christian College in many ways: It aroused a more definite support upon the part of the local congregations, made the Canadian brotherhood at large more aware of the value of the school, and awakened the town of Radville itself to the benefits of such a school in the neighbourhood.

When our school first began, the town was indifferent and a few of the citizens were antagonistic toward us. One public school teacher later told me that he objected at first to the word "Christian" in our name, as if suggesting that those who taught in a public school were not Christians. The small boys sometimes derisively referred to us as the "mud rats" and the "river rats." But as the years went by and our students proved their success in the Department of Education final examinations, harmonized so beautifully in the A Cappella chorus, won many awards at Field Days, worked so faithfully picking stones for the local farmers, and played so strenuously at their hockey games, opinions in Radville were changing. J.C.Bailey wrote of some incidents that reveal the changed attitude:

"Last winter (1954) just after our hockey team skated onto the ice, a coach for one of the other teams said to me 'I did not know there were that many gentlemen left among young people today.

"That same year I once overheard this conversation between two men as our boys came onto the ice for another game.

'There will be no fighting in this game.'

The other man asked, 'How do you know?'

The first man replied, 'The Christian College is playing.'"

As concrete evidence of their friendliness to our school, the day the shareholders met to discuss the possibility o moving to Saskatoon, the Radville Town council met with the Board of Directors, openly expressed its desire that the school remain in Radville, agree to use the far end of the nuisance ground, to build a new road into it, and give us a ninety year lease on the road leading to our school.

For many years, one of the bones of contention between the town council and our Board had been the nuisance ground located across the road from our campus. This nuisance ground was a breeding spot for rats and flies and a horrible stench would sometime cross our campus when the wind came from the east. In the spring of 1947, I remember thinking wearily as I was crossing the campus hurriedly to escape the nauseating odour, "Must I endure this smell for twenty years?"

As the years went by, the town council had made war on the rats and had eliminated the stench, but the unsightly mess of a town nuisance ground still existed. Therefore, we were very happy when the town council made the above mentioned agreement with the Board on September 4, 1954.

Using a bulldozer, the council got rid of all the trash and consequently we had a more pleasant entrance way to our campus. Thereafter, I laughingly told visitors that complained about the difficulty of finding our campus - "The road to our campus is really well marked. Turn right at the sign 'Cattle Crossing;' turn right again at the sign 'Nuisance Ground, 1/2 mile east;' and then turn right at the sign 'No Dumping here,' and you are at the Radville Christian College campus."

1954 -1955

Enrollment: Bible - 12; High School - 45

In spite of our crowded quarters we had a good year. Club activities - Debating, Melody, Home Nursing, Athletic, Art, Literary, and Drama - flourished that year.

To the consternation of the older members of the local congregation, James Williams and Jelsing Bailey grew beards for the play "Pipistrelle of Acquitaine;" Mary Bailey was the dynamic Maria in the same play; Donna Meneer as Grandma O'Hara was mistaken for a boy in her cowboy scene; and Rita Lewis was the "Lonely Lady."

Since the beginning of our school, amateur theatre has played a big part in our extracurricular activities. With an attendance of forty-five, we would often present then or eleven one-act plays besides skits and pantomimes during the year. All students who wished to participate, regardless of ability, were always given parts in plays at R. C. C. We never strove for perfection in stage performance, and we were not interested in making professional actors out of our students; nevertheless, we encouraged this activity because we believed that amateur drama was a very good way of teaching speech, developing poise, and encouraging certain qualities of good citizenship. We believed that young people became better citizens who were subjected to creative rather than spectator entertainment. At one of the public entertainments given by our school in the Radville Memorial Hall, a businessman was overheard talking to one of the local policemen. They were commenting on the quality of the program and the policeman ended the conversation with these words, "If there were more of this sort of thing, I would not be kept so busy in my job."

As usual this year the students published a year book. At Radville Christian College, publishing the year book meant not only taking the pictures, writing and arranging the material for it, but also printing the book and binding it. When Roger Peterson was a student in the Bible department, he learned the printing trade form J.C.Bailey who was then editor and publisher of the Gospel Herald. That winter (1949-50) the first year book, ten pages was published under the Precious Memories, with Roger Peterson as editor and publisher. The following year the name was changed to the Northern Lights, which is still the name of our annual publication. Our book has become bigger and better one with the passage of time and many students have learned the rudiments of the printing profession by working in the print shop on this book. While yet a student in high school, John Bailey published two year books and Roy Davison and Alex Muller Published three. Both John Bailey and Alex Muller have put to good use their printing knowledge since high school graduation.

1955 - 1956

Enrollment: Bible - 4; High School - 46

During the summer the east end of the Air Force building was change from boys' dormitory rooms to a much needed third classroom. The tamped-earth Orr house just off the campus accommodated the overflow of boys from the other dormitory rooms. Ellis Krogsgaard was responsible for the greatly improved appearance of the classroom area when school opened that fall.

Ellis Krogsgaard was then a teacher on the Radville public school staff. We are very grateful to him in many ways. For several winters, Brother Krogsgaard coached our hockey teams. One tern he taught our boys wood-working and drafting. Some of the furniture in our present campus common room reminds us of the work he had done for our school.

The fall term opened with clean, bright looking classrooms, but other points of our school landscape were rather dark and gloomy. As one views the past, certain incidents and years are recalled with pleasure and others with depression. I shall always think of 1955-56 as the Teacher Trouble Year. Do not misunderstand me. It was not their personality nor their character that disturbed me, but their elusiveness.

Early in the spring, Brother Donald Perry had resigned from the faculty with the intent of continuing his studies in a college of education. Although we regretted his impending departure, we realized that his reason for leaving was legitimate. The problem was - "Who will replace him?" To our surprise, very soon we had hired a young man from Central Christian College. In July, news arrived that because of an accident, he would be unable to teach. Through advertisements in various papers, we contacted another young man, Mr. X, who promised to be at Radville for the beginning of September classes. When Mr. X had not arrived, the Saturday before school opening, or business manager telephoned him only to learn that his present employer would not release him from his duties before January.

What a quandary! Teachers have always been difficult to obtain for our school as there are so few in Saskatchewan who are members of the church. For a time, no solution to our predicament seemed available. One classroom had no teacher the first day of school. Then Richard Dacus, evangelist from Estevan, came to our rescue promising to teach one month. Next, Ernest Hillman of Regina helped us by offering to teach until Christmas time. These gentlemen motored to Radville Monday morning and returned to their homes Friday afternoon.

In the late autumn we received word from Mr. X that he would be unable to be with us for any of the present term. Another search for a teacher! A former graduate David Lidbury, became our "man of the moment" by offering to complete the spring term.

Why were the courses of this one teacher not divided among the other three teachers? We were busily occupied teaching the classes that the Department of Education requires. Besides teaching all day, without any spares, I regularly taught evening classes four nights a week.

There was one very bright spot in the fall of 1955 and that was the installation of our telephone system. As we lived two miles from town by car road, not having a telephone was extremely inconvenient at times. Financed by the Alumni and the Board of Directors, Roger Peterson, aided by our students, built a telephone system to our campus and installed six telephones in various buildings. I still remember the first long distance telephone call received at the Girls' Dormitory. It was Ernest Andreas calling from Gladmar, but I would not have been more thrilled if it had been a man from Mars.

That fall the J.C.Bailey print shop was moved out onto our campus. During Christmas holidays, an office was made from a portion of this building and in January, Shirley Lewis, another Radville Christian College graduate, became our first full-time campus secretary.

Anxious moments over the seemingly "ever changing" faculty and over a few boys who needed a stern father rather than an irritable mother, encouraged me to resign as principal of Radville Christian College. I had occupied the position for ten years. At an early spring meeting of the Board of Directors, I acquainted the members with my decision. My resignation as principal was accepted and I note that the minutes of the board meeting state that I was to be retained as a "normal" teacher. (Some students feel that teachers are never normal.)

Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)

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