1956 - 1957
Enrollment: Bible - 5; High School - 46
Brother Cecil T. Bailey of Winnipeg was hired to replace me as principal; his duties commenced in September. For six years Brother C. T. Bailey had been living in Winnipeg, preaching, attending University and teaching in one of the city high school. During that time, encouraged by his wife, he had completed his work for his Bachelor of Arts degree, Bachelor of Education degree and almost completed the requirements for a Master of Education Degree.
Brother Bailey already had the reputation of an excellent gospel preacher and was well liked by young people for his kindly and humorous ways.
During the summer holidays, through the untiring efforts of Ellis Krogsgaard, Lawrence Anderson, Allison Parker, Earl Jacobs and many other kind friends, a running water system was installed in the two main buildings of the campus.
You who have lived where you have accepted running water and bathroom facilities as a necessary part of decent living, cannot truly imagine life at a residential school without it. Through the years, it had been a constant battle with hand pumps that would run dry, melting of ice and snow and with tattle tale grey in sheets and even sometimes in a few faces of younger students. I note that one issue of the Trumpet headlines "Prominent Winter Sports at R. C. C." "Cutting ice, hauling ice, filling water barrels. Saturdays are busy days for the boys who volunteer for the ice cutting bees."
On Saturday evenings, a chief occupation for the boys was heating water or melting snow or ice on the kitchen stove so that they could revel in their weekly bath. We became very modern when a makeshift hot-water system consisting of two barrels attached to a stove could be used as a hot water supply. The boys had to haul water or ice from the river to fill the one barrel and in return the girls would do all the washing and ironing for the boys. Boys who attended R. C. C. in those days could tell tall tales about water carrying expedition.
We drank the water from the kitchen well. R. C. C. drinking water had a reputation all of its own. Certain types of medicine were never required by its drinkers. One of the most spontaneous roars of laughter I ever heard n the dining hall was in June 1956 at the Farewell Banquet with the staff providing the entertainment. In a short skit, Mrs. Williams and I, as char-women, were relaxing on a park bench when we noticed a man (Lawrence Anderson) apparently contemplating suicide by drinking from a bottle. After our struggling with him a while, I wrenched the bottle from his hand and read the label in a puzzled voice, "R. C. C. water." That joke was thoroughly appreciated by our audience.
I could not truly describe how happy we were to have all the comforts of a running water system in our dormitories when it arrived in November 1956.
We had many blessings that fall: a new principle, C.T.Bailey; a sports director; David Olson '53; and a Bible Teacher, R. Pectol, from the very first school day. (Recalling vividly the worries of the previous year I was especially thankful for that last blessing.) I was very happy with the progress and development of the school.
Imagine my chagrin, when Principal C. T. Bailey threw a bomb shell into our peaceful midst - our school should move to the airport at Weyburn. There were good buildings there and the government would rent them to us at a very nominal rate. This suggestion was an answer to the problem of lack of accommodation that had disturbed us for several years, but it was not the answer that many of us desired.
Leave R. C. C. Campus with its trees and river and its thousand and one memories - bonfires and sing songs by the river, campus radio broadcasting, twenty wiener roasts at a nearby hiking spot, the dear old battered buildings where boys had given their hesitant yet inspiring speeches at morning chapel services, where study periods had sometimes been conducted by candle light, where mistakes had been made and victories had been won - it just could not be done!
Nevertheless, at the annual meeting Brother Cecil T. Bailey proposed that the school move to Weyburn. A Committee consisting of Cecil T. Bailey, Ernest Andreas, Edgar Ashby and Mickel Jacobs was chosen to investigate the Weyburn situation. As a result of these investigations, a special meeting of the shareholders was called in March 1957. There were ninety shareholders present for this meeting. The morning had been devoted to conducting tours of visitors through the proposed buildings at the Weyburn airport. The first part of the afternoon meeting consisted of hearing two reports - one stating the advantages of the Radville site and the other stating the advantages of the Weyburn site.
In his report, Brother E. Ashby listed the following advantages of establishing the school in Weyburn: more and better accommodation, better transportation connections, better mail service, more opportunities for work, new radio station there, better staff accommodations, outside influences on the students offered a challenge for better training to cope with such influences. (Many people had questioned the wisdom of exchanging the present very private campus for one near a factory area and near a city.)
After a lengthy open-forum discussion, the shareholders voted on this question, "that we move our school to the Weyburn buildings if it is possible." The result of the balloting was 68 in favor of the motion and 15 against. With my heart heavy at the thought of leaving our beautiful campus on the banks of Long Creek, I cast my vote in favor of moving because I knew that our beloved school would have more room for expansion at Weyburn.
The committee chosen at the fall meeting was to continue its negotiations with the provincial government, while a new committee consisting of Dryden Sinclair, Allen Jacobs and James McCuaig was chosen to raise funds to liquidate a debt of $11,000.00. At the meeting, James McCuaig personally obligated himself to paying off one-tenth of the debt. Other liberal donations were made at the same time.
All the opposition to the proposed move was not overcome in a day. One gentleman declared that the only reason for the move was that Cecil Bailey was "more windy than J.C." (I might say right here that J.C.Bailey could see that the move had proved beneficial to the school, he admitted his mistake and is a very loyal supporter of Western Christian College.) The provincial government was very gracious to our committee and soon an acceptable agreement was concluded between the two parties.
By means of a rental agreement, the government of Saskatchewan through its Department of Public Works, made available to us four buildings at the Weyburn airport for a period of five years at the very nominal rate of seventy-five dollars a month. Furthermore, we were given assurance that our agreement could most probably be renewed at the end of this period with perhaps even more attractive terms.
When it was later learned that all of these buildings needed new electrical wiring, the Department of Public Works came to our rescue in arranging to have this work done with the department financing the project. An agreement was arranged whereby we were to pay the amount of six thousand dollars, the cost of this work, at the rate of one hundred dollars per month, without interest.
The question of moving to Weyburn over-shadowed all other events of the year. The teacher problem loomed on the horizon for awhile again when Brother Pectol was forced to leave Canada because of draftboard requirements, but it was solved when John Bailey, a former student studying at Abilene Christian College, consented to come and be a member of our faculty.
1957 - 1958
Enrollment: Bible - 3; High School - 84
Brother A. Parker and his sons, Elgin and Douglas, were the first people to move to the new campus at the airport as they started preparing the buildings for occupation in July 1957. Soon afterward, Ernest Andreas and his family moved into the second and only other prepared suite in the for large buildings which we rented. Whereas Brother Andreas had been the school business manager since March 1954, he had not lived on the campus before. Even before Brother and Sister Andreas lived on the campus they served our school well, but since they have moved to the campus they have most loyally laboured toward making our school lives run more smoothly.
During the summer of 1957, Brother Andreas and Brother Parker had the Herculean task of transforming two huge buildings with long, barren, empty halls into classrooms and dormitories. Occasional visitors to the campus wondered how it possibly could be done. Our workers were hampered by lack of funds to buy much needed material and by lack of time. They dared not incur further expense by hiring extra carpenters. The opening of school had to be postponed until September 16. Brethren from Estevan and Regina came to help build partitions and scrub floors. Parents who visited the school one week before school opening, expecting to choose the room for their son or daughter, were greeted by long halls, piles of lumber and sawdust strewn everywhere. It was amazing that one week later there was cleanliness and a semblance of order everywhere. However, Brother Parker had worked such long hours, straining every muscle and nerve to prepare the buildings, that he was sick in bed the day school opened.
Those first few weeks of school on the new campus were hectic ones: many of our school books and supplies were still at Radville; we had no commercial teacher until finally Ray Lock, a former student from Saskatoon, was persuaded to come; no furnaces running in either dormitory or classrooms, therefore no warm water; and a cold spell necessitated the wearing of overcoats during classes. By Christmas time, we had found places for everything and unearthed many lost articles, and long before that time we were all revelling in the heat of the furnaces and in the spaciousness of our new location.
Our new home consisted of five buildings, including our print shop moved from Radville, located in a group on the east side of the Weyburn airport. The campus is located close enough to a small city to benefit from city life, yet far enough away to have the quiet and peace of a rural community.
After years of struggling without certain modern conveniences, we surely did appreciate having them here, but assuredly our greatest blessing was the adequate space. We had classrooms for each grade, a typing room, a large library, a science room, a Bible room and a home-economics room. (Compare theses rooms with our three classrooms and typing room at Radville.) We had a game room near our classrooms. For our chapel services there was an Assembly Hall with a seating capacity of one hundred and twenty persons. There were large dormitories that would eventually accommodate 180 students, a dining hall which would seat the same number, and a large gymnasium for physical training classes. The gymnasium with its good stage and its seating room for four hundred is still used for programs and special services of the Church. Though I had been reluctant to leave our small buildings at Radville because of their dear memories, I was more than pleased with our new home at Weyburn.
Although we were very happy with our improved accommodations we were not living in luxury. In fact, I heard of parents who refused to send their children to Weyburn because the buildings were inadequate. They were not attracted by the weather beaten, unpainted shingles of the old barracks, nor by the long narrow dimly lighted classrooms, nor by the dormitories where the only walls between the rooms were imaginary ones except for the clothes closets built between every two beds.
Yet, in contrast to our quarters in Radville, we thought our new ones good. My own unfinished apartment with shoulder high partition separating my bedroom from Baileys' hallway to our shared bathroom was a decided improvement over my damp, never-warm-in- winter, tamped-earth house in Radville, simply because it was always comfortably warm.
Building do not make a school. It is nice to have good buildings but not imperative. When T. C. Douglas addressed Teacher's Convention one fall, he told of his visit to a famous school in Scotland that had produced many great statesmen, scientists, and literary giants. He mentioned his surprise to discover staircases worn with the pounding of many feet, dull faded rooms, and desks creaking with age. No, buildings do not make a school. The two essential ingredients for a good school are eager students and dedicated teachers.
Eighty-four students attended the school in 1957-58. The enrollment was double that of the previous year. Many opponents of the move to Weyburn became more reconciled because they realized that the increased attendance could not have been accommodated in the Radville buildings.
The official opening of our school at Weyburn was November 8, 9. The afternoon of November 8 was Open House. Touring parties were conducted by various students through all the buildings and then tea was served to visitors in the Assembly Hall. Brenda Meneer, a grade XII student, was in charge of the Open House. Morris Brown ironically described her fine work in the Trumpet in these words:
"It is well worth noting that under Brenda's excellent management only four touring parties managed to get lost and all but two of these have been located since."
In the evening, a banquet was served in the dining hall. Besides the board members and their wives, staff members and wives, there were guests from the city of Weyburn. Our guests of honour were the Honourable Mr. W. S. Lloyd, provincial minister of education, and Mrs. Lloyd, and His Worship Mayor J.H.Staveley and Mrs. Staveley.
At eight o'clock that evening, the banquet guests, together with many other friends of the school, assembled in the gymnasium to witness the official opening ceremony. For the occasion, the stage had been beautifully decorated in the school colours, green and white, under the direction of student Loretta Williams.
The following program was presented.
1. O Canada
2. Choral Singing - directed by Mr. John Bailey
3. Chairman's Remarks - by Mr. C. T. Bailey
4. Piano Duet - Noreen Johnson and Gaylene Mellum
5. Address - Mayor Staveley
6. Vocal solo - Betty Bailey
7. Address - Mr. R. Meneer
8. Piano Solo - Yvonne Laycock
9. Octet - directed by Mr. David Olson
10. Address - Honourable Mr. W. S. Lloyd
11. Official Opening Ceremony - Mr. R. Meneer
12. The school song - by the students
13. God Save the Queen
In his address, Mayor Staveley sincerely welcomed the school to the Weyburn area. He stated that in this age of materialism, a school that stressed the development of spiritual values would be an asset to the Weyburn community.
The Honourable Mr. W. S. Lloyd also wished us success in our new location. In the course of his address, he mentioned that a nation whose educational system stressed scientific and technological advancement was doomed unless those advancements were directed toward the service of mankind.
The official opening ceremony was simple but impressive. After a few appropriate remarks, Mr. R. Meneer, chairman of the Board of Directors, cut a white ribbon held by two students, Janice Mooney(secretary of the students' assembly) and Lloyd Hotchkiss (president of the students' assembly.)
In that manner our school was officially opened at its new location, but the activities of our official opening were not yet complete. The following Saturday morning, the alumni and the school football teams had their annual battle; the alumni defeated the students by a score of 14-7.
At the annual shareholders' meeting in the afternoon "Western Christian College" was chosen as the new name of our school. In reality three names were selected that day, but because two of them were illegal for us to use, automatically our choice was Western Christian College. In March 1958, by a special act of the provincial government, the name became legally ours.
In the evening of November 9, a variety concert given by the students of the school was the final event of the two-day Opening Ceremonies. Two plays, "The Keeper of the Land" written by a Saskatchewan Dramatist, Mrs. Arps, and Moliere's "The Doctor in Spite of Himself" was produced by the Drama Club. The same musical items that had been enjoyed on the previous night were given as well as a tumbling act. All the students and staff members had worked in the big co-operative effort of producing two days that will linger long in our memories.
An innovation, introduced by Principal Cecil T. Bailey that year received favourable comment from many people. All residential students were required to donate a number of hours each week (4) to the school. If a student worked above that number he would be paid at a reasonable rate. We believed that this phase of our school life was excellent training for our students. They would learn now to be responsible "on the job." While a few students tried to shirk their duties, the great majority worked very faithfully to "put in their hours." Sometimes when staff members became discouraged with careless workmanship, we suggested that if we could teach students to work well at these jobs we have really helped to educate them. Today (1969) the system has been revised so that while all students still have kitchen and dormitory duties, no record of time on the job is kept.
In February 1958, a new staff member was hired - D. W. Dryden Sinclair as Public Relations director. The previous year he had been chosen one of a three-man committee to raise funds to liquidate a debt. The committee had accomplished a great deal of the school during its year of operation, with travelling to different places, speaking publicly and privately, advertising in the Messenger and inaugurating the Pay-for-a-day Plan. Nevertheless, to provide for further expansion, the Board of Directors realized that a full time Public Relations Director was necessary. An important forward step was taken by choosing Brother Sinclair for this task. With his sincere devotion to God, great faith in the worth of our school, and his gift of making others realize their good fortune by sharing in the work, Brother Sinclair is ideally qualified for his position. During his year on the staff, he travelled thousands of miles and made many friends for the school.
Assisted by Allan C. Mitchell during the summer holidays, he raised money needed to pay off pressing debts and to prepare and equip our buildings more completely. Probably his two outstanding accomplishments of the year were the organization of the W. C. C. Women's Service Club and the American Western Christian Foundation, Incorporated.
The W. C. C. Service Club was organized on November 10, 1958. Brother Sinclair suggested to the ladies gathered at the gymnasium at that time that they could "render service to the school that would be directly beneficial to the students." Mrs. Allan C. Mitchell was elected to serve as president, while Mrs. Eric Johnson of Estevan became the secretary-treasurer. The first project that the group chose was the decorating and furnishing of the boys common room in the boys' dormitory. When this project was completed, I know the boys were grateful to the ladies of this club.
The Western Christian Foundation, Incorporated, is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Texas, set up to receive funds in the United States to be used for Christian education.. These donations are tax exempt by the government of the United States. The first president of this Foundation was James W. Kennedy of Rankin, Texas, and its firs vice-president was H. M. Holmes of Sheffield, Texas.
It is interesting to note here that Brother Kennedy and his family visited the old R. C. C. Campus in the summer of 1947. At that time he had been so very much impressed by the tremendous effort put forth there, and by the very fine hospitality shown his family by Brother and Sister J.C.Bailey and others that he remained a friend of out school throughout the years.
Jim Kennedy always a loyal supporter of Christian education , continued as president of the Foundation until his death in June 1969. Western Christian College owes much to Jim Kennedy - "a big man with a big heart, a man of service."
Besides the official opening, two other red letter days in the first year of operation at the Weyburn airport were the "Bible School Closing Exercises" and the "Graduation Exercises."
The Messenger carried this account of the Bible School closing:
"On March 28, the closing exercises of the Bible department were held in the school assembly hall. Mr. C.T.Bailey, principal, acted as Master of Ceremonies. In his opening remarks, Mr. Bailey emphasized the importance of the Bible Department in our school. He praised the progress of this year's student body and urged increased enrollment for next term.
"Larry Hoff, Vancouver, B. C., represented the students and spoke on 'The Abundant Life.' He suggested that, in order to live the abundant life, one must have good health, build a good home, and have a deep interest in spiritual values.
"Guest speaker for the evening was Brother R. Dacus, Estevan, Saskatchewan. His subject was taken from the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Just as the little boy was willing to share his food, and just as his unselfishness resulted in a blessing for thousands so we should be willing to share the little that we have, so that others might be benefited.
"Two plays were presented: 'Pyramus and Thisbe' under the direction of Gordon Hobbs and 'Corn-Fed Babies' directed by Shannon Pawlak. Acting awards went to James Johnson, Faye Mooney, and Bernice Johnson.
"Musical items were also on the program: piano solos by Phillip Bailey; vocal duet by Sharon Fisher and Fred Brehaut. The chorus, directed by Mr. John Bailey, concluded the program.
"After the program, Mrs. Brandt and some of the students served lunch and the wonderful evening was concluded with a devotional service conducted by Mr. D. Olson."
The Trumpet gives this description of the high school graduation exercises:
"Western Christian College held its first annual graduation exercises on Saturday, May 10, 1958. There were fifteen graduates.
"One hundred and twenty guests were served at the banquet. Grades nine and ten students were in charge of the banquet with David Williams as convener of the committee. Three short speeches, given at the table were made by Miss Torkelson, vice-principal; Mr. D. Sinclair, public relations director, and Mr. R. Dacus, chairman of the Board. These speakers brought forth valuable messages intended for the graduates.
"Following the banquet, the graduation exercises began in the gymnasium. After the ceremonial march of the graduates, Betty Bailey gave her salutatorian address. There were several musical items including songs by the Octet, Chorus, and Glee Club, a vocal solo by Betty Bailey; a piano solo by Jean Harkness and a piano duet by Noreen Johnson and Yvonne Laycock.
"The graduates then gave their Last Will and Testament and presented a skit written by Morris Brown.
"The ceremonial passing of the Torch was made by Lloyd Hotchkiss to Dale Start, a grade XI student.
"The speeches for the evening were given by Roy Davison, valedictorian, Dan Wieb, the Board of directors representative and John A. King, our guest speaker. The program concluded with the presentation of diplomas by Mr. Dacus. Our principal was master of ceremonies for the occasion."
1958 - 1959
Enrollment: Bible - 6; High School - 8
In the summer, the Board purchased the former Air Force school building. This building was partially demolished and we were able to save thousands of dollars by using its valuable material to make partitions in dormitories and build several new staff suites. There were three work bees during the summer. At one bee, seventy- five men were present to help with the task of demolition.
One wing of the purchased building was moved onto a foundation near our dining hall. This building, larger than our dining hall, was used as a waiting room for our newly constructed outdoor skating rink as well as storage and work room. Now, we have six buildings on our campus.
In order to distinguish more easily in conversation among the buildings on our campus, the Board decided at its fall meeting (1958) to name a number of them. The Board used this opportunity to honour a number of pioneers in the church work of this area and in the work of our school.
The Assembly Hall was to be known as the H. A. Rogers Chapel in honour of Brother Rogers who preached the Truth to so many of us on the prairies.
The dining hall was to be the H. C. Morgan Cafeteria in honour of Brother Morgan of Carman, who left our school a generous bequest ($5000.00) in his will. A portion of the money was used to install the much needed running water system in Radville.
The J.C.Bailey Library was to be a memorial to Brother Bailey who has worked in so many ways to help our school, and who has done a great deal to build up our library by donating all profit made through the sale of religious books.
The Wilfred Orr Residence (boys' dormitory) was to remind us of Brother Wilfred Orr and his sacrifices for the school in its beginning years. The school was first located on land given by him, and classes were first held in a building built by his volunteer labour or by volunteers working under his direction.
The girls' dormitory was to be known as Torkelson Hall, probably to honour the staff member who has stayed with the school through all these rich and rewarding years.
This year marked the appointment of the first president of the college. Our first president was Richard Dacus, a native of Oklahoma, U.S.A., then engaged in evangelistic work at Estevan, Saskatchewan. He had been a member of the Board of Directors since 1956 and a substitute Bible teacher at R.C.C. for several weeks at various times. Although a non-resident president during his two year term of office, he brought a stability to the administration that was appreciated by us all.
In the fall we were pleased to welcome three new faculty members. For a long time, we had felt that Grade IX students needed special attention because they were away from home for the first time and because they were entering the new high school situation. Mrs. C.T.Bailey, wife of our principal, became their home room teacher and did a very commendable job of orientating the class to its new situation. I have always thought that she was the best grade IX teacher I have ever known.
Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Mitchell were the other two members added to the faculty. They came from Helena, Montana, where Brother Mitchell had been a preacher of the Gospel for a number of years. Brother Mitchell, a graduate of Harding College, became our capable dean of boys and grade ten home room teacher. Mrs. Mitchell added new life to the home economics classes as their instructor.
A new activity of this fall term was the organization of the Personal Evangelism group managed by Thomas Eaves (local evangelist who arrived in October from Tennessee) and Allan C. Mitchell, and sponsored by the local elders of the church. This group met every Saturday evening at 6:30 and on Sunday afternoon. The students sang together, prayed together, learned of the work on mission fields, and considered how they could be of service to their Lord. Every Sunday afternoon they went to the Saskatchewan Hospital at Weyburn to sing for the patients or visit with them there.
This activity was only one of the many on the campus designed to bring the lessons of the great Master teacher before their lives- the regular chapel services, the evening devotionals in the dormitories, the Friday night hymn singing after "mixed" snack, (C.T.Bailey could not figure out if the food were mixed or the young people) and the regular Bible classes by dedicated teachers. If our students ever get so that they cannot enjoy spontaneous singing of hymns while doing dishes or ending an evening's entertainment with a few moments of devotion, then I believe the faculty and staff will need to take stock of both their purpose and their methods.
The mental hospital visitation project continued for eight years with a few changes. Twenty to forty students participated each year. When the patients who profited by this visiting began to be sent to half-way houses, our visits ceased. During those eight years several staff and students from Western received pins to honour their more than one hundred hours of visiting. The hospital administration was grateful for our interest in their patients, but I shall always contend that our students were the real beneficiaries of this project. As a result, there are hundreds of young people scattered throughout North America who have a better understanding of mental illness and a genuine sympathy for the patients.
In contrast to the rushing excitement of moving into new quarters the year before, the second school term at North Weyburn seemed comparatively uneventful. Two events of importance in the fall were the visit by T. C. Douglas, premier of this province, and our fall Lectureship. We were greatly honoured by the presence of Mr. & Mrs. Douglas on October 8. A program of chorus singing was held in their honour in the Assembly Hall. Mr. Douglas then gave an inspirational talk "The Secret of Successful Living." In his speech, Mr. Douglas suggested that the success of our lives is not measured by the fame we attain, the wealth we accumulate, or the knowledge we acquire, but by the personality and character we develop. In addition to charming the students with his ready wit, Mr. Douglas impressed them with their great privilege of attendance at a Christian school. At the conclusion of his address, he presented the coveted Douglas Trophy to Betty Bailey, the daughter of the principal. Since that time the Douglas Trophy has been presented annually to the grade XII student who has won the highest marks in the June examinations set by the Saskatchewan Department of Education.
There is an anecdote concerning Mr. Douglas and Western students that I tell occasionally:
The first year we were at Weyburn, Mr. Bailey arranged with Mr. Douglas, who was also the Weyburn member of the Legislative Assembly, for the grade XII students to spend an afternoon annually at the Legislative Buildings in Regina during the Assembly session. Mr. Douglas was always the gracious host of the class for luncheon at the cafeteria there. One year when I was in charge of the touring group, we discovered that there was no water on the table after we had sat down to the table in a small private dining room. Just as I was about to ask a student to fetch a tray of water glasses, Mr. Douglas, the premier of the province, jumped up and insisted that he would get the water for his guests. The students were greatly honoured by his attention and thoroughly appreciated his natural, easy manner with them.
The outstanding event of the 1958 fall term was decidedly the lectureship held November 8-11. The Western Christian Messenger carried this account of the event:
"How does one measure the success of any venture? To say that the first annual lectureship at Western Christian was a success is to deal in understatement. If we are to measure the success of the lectureship by the number of visitors who attended, then we must say it was successful beyond the dreams of the most optimistic. Over 500 visitors registered over the week-end. Roughly speaking, this comprises between 40 and 50 percent of the membership of the church in Western Canada. Besides our own Canadian brethren we had visitors from Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Texas. Canadian visitors came from distant places such as Edmonton and Calgary. One hotel in the city of Weyburn was filled by visiting brethren and the campus was overcrowded as well. On Lord's Day, the largest single gathering of brethren ever to assemble in the West met to worship God. As nearly as could be counted, 450 were present for the service. Yes, if we are to measure the success of the lectureship by those who attended, we must admit great success.
"If we want to measure the success of the program by the calibre of the lectures themselves, again we must announce success. Brother LeMoine Lewis of Abilene, Texas, presented a series of five lectures on the great theme: "A Changeless Gospel in a Changing World!' The challenge that he presented to the church will long be remembered. Those of us who heard each of these lectures will be strengthened and encouraged by them as long as we shall live. The lecture by Brother Harvey Childress of Minneapolis on "The Scope and Value of Christian Education" will likewise be remembered for a long time. The challenge that we have to make a success of our Christian schools is a huge one and Brother Childress certainly made us aware of our obligations along that line. Equally to be remembered and prayed about is our Brother J.C.Bailey's challenge: 'The next ten years will be the greatest for the church in Western Canada.' This lecture upon this theme will challenge day by day those who heard it and are working to make it come true.
"If we measure the success of the lectureship by the number of good men who had part in its program, we must again admit success. We shall never forget the part played by these men.
"The classes, too, were very successful with increased attendance at each session and lessons presented which will help each of us to better live the Christian way of life.
"So we must say that in every department, the First Annual Western Christian College Lectureship was a success and we want to thank each one who had a part in the planning and execution of the plans. Without your help we could not have been successful." (The planning committee consisted of A. H. Beamish, R. Meneer, and E.D.Wieb.)
A visitor and teacher at the Lectureship, Robert Boyle, Sheffield, Texas, was so impressed with our need for more religious books in our library that he raised $1,200.00 to be used for that purpose. This was the largest gift our library had received thus far.
For several years after moving to the almost barren, flat prairie of the Weyburn campus, we sorely missed the Radville river valley for hikes and picnics in the spring. To fill this void, in 1959, we began our weekend picnics away from the campus. Students motored to Lumsden, Pasqua, Katepwa and Kenosee to be near trees, water, and hills. At first, each grade went to different areas for the week-end; however, as arranging for accommodation became increasingly difficult, the undergraduates settled for a one-day picnic, and only the grade XII class picnic continued for the week-end.
I shall never forget the seven glorious week ends I spent at Pasqua Lake in beautiful Qu'Appelle Valley during the years I was grade XII home-room teacher. With comfortable accommodation in a friend's cottage and a neighbouring cottage or boat house, we enjoyed hiking up the steep high hills, boating and swimming in the cool waters, the games of archery, horse shoes and croquet on the sandy beach, and the pleasant wiener roasts with the evening sing-songs. The quiet lake frequently rang with shrieks of laughter as daring boys pushed timid girls off the rafts.
As interest in the class picnics waned, 1969 witnessed the debut of the Spiritual and Recreational Retreat at the site of Clearview Christian Camp on Kenosee Lake. Once more enthusiasm ran high as a bus load of eager campers from all grades participated in a week- end program packed with discussions, devotionals, quiet times and organized outdoor games. The weather was forbidding with its drizzling rain and unusual coolness during most of the weekend, but this was no damper on high spirits during the ball game nor during the discussions on Romans. The campers hope the Retreat will be repeated next year.
As a result of this week-end away from campus, the students seem better able to cope with the intensive study required during the month of June for the much dreaded yearly final examinations.
1959 - 1960
Enrollment: Bible - 6; High School - 127
In August, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Peterson were welcomed back to the faculty after an absence of three years. During that time Roger had completed his studies toward a Master's degree in Bible at Abilene Christian College. Roger came to teach science and Bible, while his lovely wife, Helen Marie (Sinclair) '49, became the new dean of girls.
Roger Peterson is a versatile man. During his eighteen years at the college (by 1969), three as a student in the Bible Department, and fifteen as a teacher, Roger has successfully occupied most positions available when the need arose, except kitchen cook and history teacher. He has been printer, chorus director, boys' dorm supervisor, telephone line builder, commercial teacher, science teacher, math teacher, Bible teacher, home-room teacher, vice- principal, principal, and mushroom grower.
Two additional courses were added this term. Ray Lock began a one year commercial course with eleven students. (Ray Lock has the distinction of being the first graduate to become a member of the Board of Directors.) His commercial course was a success.
Among those eleven students was Alma Schiller, who very soon began to work in the public relations office at Western. Since that time, Alma has been with us in one office or the other. Her cheerful manner, in spite of rugged physical handicaps, and her genuine interest in others, especially the homesick and the lonely, have been an inspiration to staff and students alike throughout the years.
The second course added for this year was Grade XIII, as we called our second year college work. The small class of five students consisted of Leslie Anderson, Fred Brehaut, Manley Gilpin, Warren MacLeod, and Bill Muirhead. The courses offered, together with their instructors, were as follows: Bible - Roger Peterson; history- -Allen Mitchell; psychology - Cecil Bailey; calculus - Lillian Torkelson; English - Cecil Bailey. The texts and course outlines were those used for second year college work at Abilene Christian College. Although our college graduates could not receive credits at the University of Saskatchewan, they would obtain credits at A.C.C.
While grade 13 was a very interesting experiment for both students and instructors, it was not repeated in succeeding years for the administration deemed there was insufficient demand for the courses to merit their continuation.
During the 1959-60 term, a rather elaborate citizenship program was instituted under the leadership of Dryden Sinclair, public relations director, and Principal Cecil T. Bailey. From among the students, each month, the faculty chose the Citizen of the Month. On Citizenship Day, the chosen student was presented a Citizenship Certificate during an assembly. Prior to the presentation, some Weyburn or provincial personality addressed the assembly on some phase of good citizenship. During that year we had some outstanding messages by such men as Judge Thompson from Weyburn, Mayor Henry Baker of Regina and Dr. Riddell, Dean of Regina College.
To encourage further interest in the development of good citizenship, the Lock family decided to present annually the W. M. Lock Shield to the best citizen of the year. This shield was donated by the family in memory of their husband and father who had been actively concerned with the welfare of R.C.C. in its early struggles. In June the first student to have his name engraved on this shield was Ernie Jacobs of Manson, Manitoba. Ernie was editor of the Northern Lights, president of the Debate Club, a judge of the Student Court, and a member of the volley ball and curling teams.
In addition, at the Farewell Banquet in June, five special crests were awarded to the top citizens of the school, together with ten achievement bars to another group of fine citizens. The students are still honoured to win these awards each year, but after two or three years the Citizenship speeches were discontinued.
Among the memorable Citizenship Days stands out January 29, 1960, when our guest speaker was Mayor Henry Baker of Regina. While Mrs. Bailey, Mrs. Mitchell, and I awaited the assembling of the students, we were dismayed to realize suddenly that no preparations had been made to entertain Mr. Baker after the program. Then decisively, Lavine Bailey turned to me, "Delay Mr. Baker after the program a few minutes while Mrs. Mitchell and I prepare at my apartment. We'll invite the faculty and the Citizen of the Month for coffee with Mr. Baker." At the conclusion of the address, the two ladies slipped unobtrusively from the building to make hurried preparations for an unexpected twelve to fifteen guests.
When the students were dismissed, Mr. Bailey and I considered ways and means of lengthening a tour of our small classrooms, concentrated in one wing of the building. I amusedly recall that Mr. Baker seemed restive over the delay. Finally, when we could no longer find excuses for procrastinating, we walked to the nearby Bailey apartment less than one-half hour after assembly dismissal. Imagine my surprise to find a bright and shining living room with delicate china cups and saucers attractively arranged on a tea table covered with a beautiful cloth. A gracious smiling hostess stood at the door. After a slight delay, the ladies served hot chocolate cake, ice cream, and coffee to the room full of guests. The cake had been mixed and popped into the oven after the program and the ice cream had been purchased from the canteen! We had a delightful afternoon of conversation ranging from the light-hearted to the serious. Mr. Baker seemed unaware of the last minute rush. Henceforth, plans to entertain our guest speakers were made well ahead of time!
During the Christmas holidays the old Air Force drill hall was converted into an indoor ice skating rink. Assisted by students Elgin Parker, Douglas Parker, Bill Muirhead, and Gordon Patterson, Mr. Parker built the dressing rooms and waiting room inside the building. To make the ice, they covered the floor with packed snow. Then daily they sprayed the snow with water until a layer of ice was formed. To level the ice and fill the cracks, next they covered the rough surface with hot water a few times, allowing freezing between each dousing. Saskatchewan young people often wish for cold weather so as to reduce the time required for ice making.
On January 5, the opening night of the winter term, the new rink resounded to the laughter of young people and the clash of skates on ice as Western celebrated the opening of the rink. Master of Ceremonies, John C. Bailey, led the students in a whirl of skating activities. He introduced variations from regular skating that encouraged the students to mix with one another. In the waiting room, Mrs. Andreas and her helpers served hot chocolate and hot dogs to the guests. This gala night was the first of many skating parties on the first day of school after the winter holidays. We have been very thankful for the indoor ice-skating rink. Young people always need exercise, and especially this truth is obvious in a residential school where living and educational quarters are close together. Many a time, the skating rink has reduced the headaches of the deans of the dormitories.
Our students achieved recognition in two sports during this school term. In the first place, the football boys (touch) won the South Saskatchewan Championship for the first time. The final game was against St. Oliver of Radville one cold, miserable day in October on the Weyburn Collegiate playing field. We won with a score of 14:13.
In the second place, the girls' curling team not only won the South Saskatchewan Championship, but almost captured the provincial crown. In the final games against Saskatoon, our girls lost in an extra end of the third game. After defeating fourteen other teams in the playdowns, they met their only set back in Regina. Shirley Hanson, the skip, said that she played the last end of the final game in her dreams all night - the result could have been victory if she had thrown her last rock in just a slightly different manner. The other members of the rink were Heather LaBatte, Yvonne Laycock, and Ardith LaBatte. John C. Bailey was coach.
Prior to the last game, Western sent a telegram to the girls signed by the entire student body, staff and faculty. Besides many telegrams of congratulation, the girls received pins, crests, and trophies and were entertained at luncheons and banquets in Regina. Although the curlers lost their final game, Western was intensely proud of the girls, because they won the reputation of being fine young ladies and good sports.
In the spring, our campus received its first side-walks. They were board walks with the boards just far enough apart to wreck the narrow high heels of careless pedestrians. Still these same board walks reduced the janitor's work considerably during the June rains.
For her fine dramatic ability, Marilyn Covell, grade XI, was awarded an all-expense paid trip sponsored by the Canada Council to the Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ontario. She was one of the thirteen Saskatchewan students selected by the Department of Education, Regina.
In June, as a protest against certain Board decisions, Cecil T. Bailey shocked everyone by resigning as principal of the College after four years in that position. Both parties acted in good faith, with high purpose, but the disagreement could not be settled. This resignation had far reaching consequences, not only because Western lost an exciting teacher loved by young people and a Christian gentleman who had devoted many years preparing himself to fulfill a dream, but also because some brethren blamed the College for his resignation so that for a period of time the College did not enjoy the wholehearted support of the Western Canadian brethren which it had previously sustained.
My heart will always ache a little whenever my thoughts turn to Cecil's resignation and its aftermath; nonetheless, I am firmly convinced that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord.
I am reminded of Milton's "On His Blindness." "His state is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed and post o'er land and ocean without rest," and the sonnet concludes with "They also serve who stand and wait." We should be slow to say how we can serve Him best or what serves us best.
1960 - 1961
Enrollment: High School - 100
In September E.D.Wieb was appointed president of the College. During his first year of office, he spent one-quarter of his time at the College and the remainder in Winnipeg where he was minister of the Erin Street congregation.
After graduating from high school in Winnipeg, Brother Wieb engaged in the printing business there for several years before he and his family moved to Texas where he enrolled at Abilene Christian College. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1955 and returned to Winnipeg to become minister for the Erin Street congregation. Brother Wieb had been a member of the Board of Directors of Western Christian College for three years.
He is married to the former Dorothy Stebbings and they have four children, Linda, Karen, Kent, and Allen, a chosen son. Another adopted son, Tommy, died in 1964.
The Wiebs have faced family adversity without bitterness. Karen, afflicted with polio at an early age, has endured surgery many times throughout the years, and Tommy's incurable illness was a lengthy one. These unhappy experiences have strengthened Danny and Dorothy's faith and deepened their purpose. Because Danny is an excellent Bible teacher, I regret that he cannot devote more time in the classroom. I share Aristotle's opinion:
"Those who educate children well are more to be honored than even their parents, for these only give them life, those the art of living well."
Some students will remember Brother Wieb for his informative, well- organized and thought provoking Bible classes, others will remember him for the personal counselling sessions in his office; still others for the curling games he organized but all students will remember him for "Jingle Bells."
During his years on the campus Brother Wieb has acted as master of ceremonies at many student gatherings. At the very first one in September, 1960, he opened the evening's entertainment by leading the assembly in the song "Jingle Bells." Since that time, winter or summer, "Jingle Bells" has been sung at all student social gatherings when he is present. Twice the chorus learned the song and sang it, as a surprise, to honour Brother Wieb. Several times at important basketball games the students have burst into "Jingle Bells." So has developed another heart warming tradition at Western.
The Daniel Pauls family came from Carman, Manitoba, to work at Western and have been here ever since. Brother Pauls is another example of the type of staff member a struggling school needs - a man willing to serve wherever necessity requires. He has been at various times dean of boys, kitchen supervisor, carpenter, and maintenance manager. For five years Mrs. Pauls cooked at the Morgan Cafeteria and is now (1969) available for special jobs of painting and cooking. Danny and Clara Pauls attended winter Bible school at Radville in 1942-43.
In the autumn, two other buildings at the air port were prepared for occupancy. The building south-west of the Administration building became the new chapel - Rogers' Chapel. Its foundations were repaired and gas heating was installed. Men of the congregation of the local church put up v-board for the chancel and painted the chairs, walls and ceiling. The chairs were discards purchased cheaply from Regina College. An electrical firm in Weyburn offered to supply the wire at 20% discount and let the men do the wiring under the supervision of its foreman. The renovations were made by volunteer labor as the local Church of Christ planned to have its worship services in the Chapel.
While the men were working at night in the Chapel, the students spent every spare moment renovating a low Air Force building located east of the Chapel to become a much-desired Student Centre.
Sometimes there were tasks that required more experienced hands than the students could provide. When this occurred, they came to the chapel and in exchange for a carpenter or plumber, they sent over as many as twenty students to wash windows, walls or floors in the Chapel building. Because of very fine co-operation among students and staff, both buildings were ready for use at the November Lectureship.
On the cool, shivering afternoon of November 11, one hundred and twenty people stood outside the Student Centre to witness its grand opening.
Just five months before, plans had been laid by the student council directed by John Muller, grade XII student, which culminated in this grand opening. The students had organized a campaign to obtain money for the project. They mailed one thousand letters during the summer and contacted personally many friends of the College.
John C. Murray was chosen by the student council to be head of the construction committee and student council president, Verner Ulrich, believed that J.C.'s organization of the work was the key to its punctual completion.
As the suggested opening date, November 11, drew nearer, student activity after school, after supervised study period, and into the wee small hours became feverish. David Sawyer was the electrician; Vaughn Warriner, the carpenter; while Dale Elford and James Parker say they were jack-of-all-trades. Marilyn Hope organized the girls into groups each with specified tasks such as sewing curtains, washing windows, walls and floors. The tired, yet elated students finished on the late night before or rather early morning of the official opening.
Because of his responsibility in organizing the work and encouraging the workers, in addition to working industriously himself, student John C. Murray was honoured by having the lounge bear his name.
Besides the lounge, the Student Centre included a canteen with counter and stools, a game room for ping pong, darts and small games, offices for student publications, The Northern Lights and Trumpet, and a club room. The student council was to be in charge of the canteen and supervise the Student Centre.
At the official opening on November 11, President E.D.Wieb as Master of Ceremonies mentioned the value of such a centre to the students. J.C.Murray expressed appreciation to the students for their splendid co-operation. Then Mayor Onstad of Weyburn cut the ribbon and declared the student centre officially open. The guests rushed into the Centre to get out of the cold and to inspect the new quarters. Soon student groups were busy playing various games. Free refreshments were served to all students and their guests at the canteen that day.
The Student Centre project demonstrated once again that teen-agers will accept responsibility and will gladly devote much of their time to hard work in a Cause.
In January, D. W. Dryden Sinclair, vice-president and public relations director of the College, and family moved to Wichita Falls, Texas, where he became executive director of Western Christian Foundation, Inc., organized in 1958. Because Dryden Sinclair and Western Christian College were both unknown among the brotherhood of southern United States, he had a struggle awakening an interest in the financial need of the College. In a report to the Board, May 1961, he stated that in three months, after travelling seventeen thousand miles, he had raised only nine thousand dollars. In those discouraging days, Dryden wrote:
"Have faith in God, Mark 11:22. It seems to me that we need these words so much these days. Always we try to figure out how am I going to do this or that. We are apt to forget about God...I am begging you, my brother and fellow worker for souls, let us pray more and as Jesus might say to us 'Have faith in God.'"
As we dip into the future, we can see that Dryden's perseverance, kindliness, and faith have made many friends for Western. There have been times when Western's financial crises have been weathered successfully only through the assistance of Dryden Sinclair and the Western Christian Foundation. We are deeply grateful to him and our kind and generous American brethren.
For the third straight year Vaughn Warriner of our boys' basketball team was awarded the most valuable player plaque. Our boys made history in basketball that year too. For the first time they participated in the provincial finals (March 18). The team won the consolation. Naturally, the boys wondered whether the out come would have been different if Vaughn Warriner had been playing. At the time, he was lying in the hospital sick with pneumonia.
Another first for Western-we entered the provincial drama competitions. On February 9, the students presented "A Game of Checkers," written by Coy Roper, one of our teachers, and directed by his wife, Sharlotte Roper, at the South-East Saskatchewan High School Drama Festival Marilyn Covell won the best actress award and Marilyn Hope and Timothy Hotchkiss received honorable mention. Marilyn Covell was convincing as an emotionally disturbed, middle aged woman who played with a beautiful big doll. During the five years (1959 1964) the Ropers were at Western, we participated in several provincial drama festivals and won awards in all of them. In 1963 we reached the provincial semi-finals with "Footfalls" and Martin Harvey as the blind shoemaker received the most promising actor award at this contest.
Still another first for Western - Sue Wilson with the topic "Upheavals in the Congo" won the Weyburn Unit Oratorical Contest. In our fifteen years of high school operation, Sue was the first to win the school unit contest.
There is a rather interesting side light regarding Sue's Africa speech. Two years before, Sue had won the all-school contest with a speech entitled "The Story of Africa". Later, when Sue went to Michigan Christian College, she met and married a young man from South Africa. Now Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Uys are missionaries in East London, South Africa.