1961 - 1962
Enrollment: High School - 79
Rumour said that Western Christian College might not open in September, but as usual, rumour was unreliable. True - the College was suffering from both financial and public relations problems. The Board and Administration were fighting indifference and some open antagonism in the brotherhood. At a special shareholders' meeting in June (1961) it was stated that $25,000.00 must be secured before August 31. The Western Christian Foundation volunteered to raise half of this amount. As Canadian donations for the month of June and July totalled only $1,811.08 prospects looked gloomy. Nevertheless, classes did begin and the financial pressure had eased somewhat at the time of the shareholders' regular meeting in November.
We were able to pay the Saskatchewan government the obligatory three thousand dollars on our building agreement through the efforts of Jim Kennedy and Dryden Sinclair of the Foundation. Total donations during the past year were $38,294.60 with approximately $12,000.00 coming from Canadian donors.
Furthermore, at the annual meeting, J.C.Bailey once again accepted nomination on the Board. J.C.'s faith in the worth of Christian education and the faith that the brethren had in him became valuable assets of the College.
The Board stood together during those trying days. "The storm was weathered and a new dawn is breaking for Western Christian College" wrote a retiring member of the board.
"What hopes are these, what dreams! But surely there is yet a hope that sixty-two can be indeed a pleasant, happy year, that Peace may reign and Joy and all Prosperity. Wherein such hopes? What right to dream of such a year? Wherein thy Trust? On what depend? Surely not in man! If not in man, then where? In God!!"
Students arriving this year were pleasantly surprised to find newly painted bedrooms, because so many ladies generously responded to the "paint the dormitories" campaign of the Women's Service Club. The entire upper floor of Torkelson Hall and one-half of the Wilfred Orr Residence were painted. In addition, the classrooms had been remodelled and redecorated to improve lighting and teaching facilities. An inspector from the Health Region Office previously had given a very critical report of the lighting in our classrooms.
In December the dormitories were converted into hospital wards and Mrs. Cutting, the Dean of Girls, became a Florence Nightingale over night when an influenza epidemic that swept across the North American continent struck our campus. Nearly every student became ill before the epidemic left us. All eventually recovered with no after-effects except the dining hall personnel's difficulty in recovering all the trays they had toted to the dormitories.
Marian Stewart, a grade XII student from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, reigned as Queen over our first annual three-day Homecoming festivities in February. On Friday evening, February 2, following a basketball game with Radville, Marian Stewart was crowned by alumni president, David Lidbury. Her princesses were Erna Seibel of North Weyburn and Carol Long of Missoula, Montana.
The Messenger reports:
"The homecoming program was the first and was considered to be a success by those involved. About fifty exes returned to the campus along with seventy-five junior high and high school students as prospective students. The activities of the week-end centered around sporting activities and other pro grams by the students of the college. "One of the highlights of the eventful week end was the construction of snow displays. The winning display was a huge snow man who belched fire from the top of his head to proclaim a welcome from the 'Fireballs' to the campus visitors.
"The students were victorious in each of their homecoming basketball games but were narrowly defeated by the alumni in the ice hockey game.
"A one-act play 'Pink and Patches' and chorus program rounded out the festivities and a Sunday blizzard added a real northern touch to Western Christian's First Annual Homecoming."
Among the many events that have been added to the festivities since that first Homecoming in 1962 are the annual banquet, basketball games for the alumni, the tea at Miss Torkelson's, honouring the Alumnus of the Year, and special guest speakers on Sunday. But the alumni boys still have their traditional moonlight hockey game on late Saturday night!
Homecoming has become a popular event, assuredly one of the highlights of the school year. Alumni declare that there is no better opportunity to renew friendships with so many former students.
This was an unusually cold winter. Small irritating problems and big serious problems developed because of the weather.
"Because of the age and construction of these buildings, there is a constant need for repairs and renovation. Especially in a severe winter such as this one has been, there is a need for this. For instance, one morning when the temperature dropped to 35 degrees below zero, some of the steam valves froze. Our custodian worked several hours to restore heat to the buildings.
"It is expensive to operate in such a winter. Besides the natural gas used in some buildings, our coal furnaces consume about 600 tons of coal during the winter. Heating, lighting and other utilities run into great expenses."
To aggravate further the financial situation this year, the enrollment was low. In fact, this was the lowest enrollment during all twelve years the College has been located at Weyburn. In the fall (1961) we started with 79 pupils but we concluded in June with only 66. When facilities exist to accommodate 100 pupils and there are only 66, the budget is upset. It takes just as much heat and rent; and we still have to pay the same faculty and staff salaries, yet the income is reduced by one-third.
Why the low enrollment? Several reasons, but I wish to mention two that may not be obvious:
When the College first moved to Weyburn, many parents of the surrounding area enrolled their problem sons and daughters - problems socially and academically. The school gained the reputation as a place where problems can be solved. Because the faculty and staff were Christian, they wished to help these youngsters become good citizens and successful students. In many cases we were rewarded with favorable results, but sometimes through lack of wisdom we failed to benefit the students. Those unhappy students withdrew from school, or we dismissed them for fear their companionship might corrupt the standards of the rest of the student body.
These actions caused a boomerang. Tales, often exaggerated, of the misdeeds of the uncooperative students spread far and wide. Consequently, some good Christian parents hesitated to send their children to Western for fear they would become contaminated. Thus our enrollment decreased. The smallest enrollment during our years at Weyburn was in 1961-62.
For several years, the administration was criticized for admitting so many problem students. Picture its dilemma. Christians must always be ready to seek and save the lost; yet, they must provide an environment conducive to spiritual growth of all entrusted to their care. For such a program to succeed, there must be a high percentage of good students or their influence will not permeate the whole. Possibly for a few years the ratio between the weak and strong students was not at its best.
At present (1969) the College gets students who are slow learners or who are poorly motivated, but the tough, social problems do not enroll, for the administration discourages the enrollment of all applicants not interested in our religious and spiritual programs.
In spite of doubtful interest from some quarters, an unusually cold winter, a flu epidemic, financial crises and discipline headaches, we had a very good school year (1961-62) with a Lectureship kindled by Otis Gatewood, an exciting first Homecoming, an enthusiastic visitation program at the Saskatchewan Hospital, a lively Drama Night, a memorable Spiritual Emphasis week with A. H. Beamish, a successful academic program with Tom Ulrich receiving the highest standing in seventeen years in June Departmental examinations, and with twelve students dedicating themselves to mission work.
What Two Southerners Think of Western Christian by Sharlotte and Coy Roper
"When we moved to Canada two winters ago, the first question asked by everyone was, 'Well, how do you like Canada?' Since we had been raised in the sunny climate of Texas and Oklahoma, the first answer that occurred to us was, naturally, 'It's nice-but cold.' It has remained our standard reply to that standard question.
"And indeed it is cold. We have adopted an entirely new concept of the weather. When after a cold spell it gets up to five below, we think it's positively warm. If it gets up to thirty-five above in the winter, it's almost hot. Two of the first words Dee Ann (who was born in Weyburn) learned to say were, 'Cold outside'. Our car, a solid southern vehicle, suddenly turned into a model of contrariness which only ran when it felt like it. Usually, during the winter, it didn't. It still hasn't become acclimatized.
"However, there are compensations for the cold. We have gone ice skating and tobogganing. We have curled (curling, by the way, is a game played on ice, not a method of setting one's hair). We have learned to enjoy Canada's most popular sport, hockey. Besides, we have learned to really appreciate warm houses, warm clothing, and hot food.
"But the things that really warm us in this cold weather are more intangible than clothing or houses or food. They are the inspiring things that happen almost every day. For instance, we can remember: ...cool spring nights when we have student devotionals around camp fires...spontaneous singing of hymns erupting on many occasions... outstanding performances by students in chorus, in dramatics, in sports...the improvement of student's attitudes toward good things...pleasant recreation at parties with staff and students...a student's suggestion that we have prayer before ball games...great moments of inspiration at lectureships and meetings and in our weekly worship services...the decision of twelve students to do mission work abroad.
"There are discouraging moments, too: when students are unreasonable or lazy, when the staff just can't seem to get along, when differences in customs do make a difference, when there is too much to do and too little time to do it, when the winter seems to stay too long, when prize pupils disappoint, and when we fail to help problem students. But of the things that really count - wholesome recreation, Christian fellowship, the opportunity to serve, a knowledge of permanent and perhaps, eternal good being done - there is an abundance, more than enough to outweigh the discouragements.
"Or, to put it another way:
"A boy came here three years ago who was a prime prospect for reform school. He showed no interest in Bible and little in anything good; he was almost sent home that first year for misbehavior. Last fall he was baptized. Today he is a dedicated Christian, often erring, but always trying. We taught him, we coached him, we visited with him. When he became a Christian, all the trials, and disappointments seemed worthwhile. It's easy to forget daily struggles in and out of the classroom, but it's impossible to lose the memory of young feet set upon the path of righteousness.
"Our friends in the South sometimes comment upon our 'sacrifice' in coming to Canada. But we are doing what we want to do, we enjoy doing it, and we are richly rewarded for doing it - not in money, but in satisfaction. Therefore, we are making no real sacrifice for we have given up none of the important things of life. We are part of a great work and proud to be part of it."
1962 - 1963
The Year Of Renovations
Enrollment: High School - 90
The Morgan Cafeteria was large enough to seat two hundred people comfortably, but the building required a great deal of renovating. The sanitary inspector pronounced the plumbing unsatisfactory; there was no proper kitchen area; facilities for dishwashing were inadequate.
Spurred on by the Women's Service Club's purchase of a natural gas food table, the administration remodelled the Cafeteria during the summer holidays. The dining room was painted in attractive tones of turquoise and yellow. New yellow drapes were hung at the windows and four large, beautiful landscape prints gave the dining room a cheerful, home-like appearance.
The work area of the building was subdivided into four rooms: the receiving room, the grocery storage, the kitchen and the dishwashing room.
All the work of renovating was done by the college staff. This work included renewing sections of old plumbing as well as the installation of new plumbing. If contractors had been engaged, this job would have cost the College a large sum of money.
Besides giving a new look to the Morgan Cafeteria, the administration spent several thousand dollars to provide facilities urgently needed in three academic departments - science laboratory, woodworking shop and home economic department.
Roger Peterson built laboratory tables to accommodate experimental equipment. These tables made it possible for sixteen students to work independently on their experiments. Estimated purchase price of each table was four hundred dollars, but by building them on the campus from used materials, the cost was much less. The Alumni Association decided to equip the laboratory with twelve hundred dollars worth of much needed science materials. Everyone was proud of the now comparatively up-to-date laboratory.
For our Woodworking Shop, Norman Straker built some four-place benches. Again, by using old lumber, they cost only a fraction of the three hundred dollars each if purchased at a school supply house. More than a thousand dollars worth of tools were placed in the shop for our new shop teacher, Bernard Straker, and his students. We are eager to show this reasonably well equipped building to touring visitors.
After many years of shifting from the college kitchen to the apartment of the home economics teacher, the home economics classes finally found a home of their own, equipped with cup boards, stove, sink, refrigerator, tables and sewing machines. Compared with modern home economics rooms in provincial collegiates, this room seems very primitive, but compared with previous facilities at Western, it seems to be an improbable dream come true.
In early July the staff and faculty began renovations on the gymnasium, formerly the RCAF recreation hall. This project continued until November.
The entire interior was very shabby because of the lack of paint; "Old Smoky," the furnace, was faulty; since there was no ceiling in the building, it was very difficult to heat. During a basketball tournament the previous winter, the teams played with a cool 35 degree temperature within the building. The Messenger reports the various phases of renovations that were made:
"In July, work began with the tearing down of the balcony and the laying of hardwood flooring to extend the floor. Materials obtained from the dismantling of the balcony were useful in laying the floor and much of the lumber was used as strapping for the ceiling.
"The next project was to equip the building with a lower ceiling. By removing some plywood panels from one of the unused buildings on the campus, a full ceiling was placed in the gym. At least one thousand dollars was saved by dismantling and rescuing this used material.
"Then the entire area was given a coat of paint. Twenty-five gallons were required to cover the walls and ceiling.
"The old furnace was overhauled and a new motor purchased to insure heat for the winter.
"Sanders were rented and the floor was completely sanded to remove the old varnish and paint. Then lines were painted for basketball, volleyball and badminton courts. Next the floor was given two coats of varnish. The gym floor now has the appearance of a new floor.
"New, sturdy frames were constructed of pipe to hold the basketball hoops. The frame at the stage end of the floor is equipped with pulleys and a winch so that it can be raised to clear the stage front."
By using our own staff plus used materials and volunteer labour, the cost of providing this adequate recreational facility that some Unit high schools envied, was 10% or 15% of the cost if the job had been done by outside contract labour.
Whenever I think of remodelling old buildings on the campus, I always think of Ernest Andreas, our bursar, for he has made the plans for the remodeling and then has saved money for the college by working long hours at plumbing and other tasks rather than hire outside artisans at high wages. In addition, he has travelled many miles among the brethren raising the money to pay for these renovations.
A special meeting of the shareholders was called on November 17, 1962, to consider by-laws regarding disposal of assets in the event of the dissolution of the organization. It was agreed, "that the Board shall distribute all assets of the society to another organization or organizations to be used in such manner as the Board's judgement believes will best accomplish the purpose of this society, and no shareholder or group of shareholders shall benefit financially therefrom; or the assets shall be sold by tender or auction and the proceeds given to the organizations that in the judgement of the Board will best accomplish the purpose for which the society was organized."
February 1963, was victory month for Western. "Footfalls," directed by Coy Roper, won the South-East Saskatchewan Drama Festival at Oxbow and Martin Harvey won the best actor award. Later, at the provincial semi-finals, Martin won the most promising actor award in the same play.
Our boys' and girls' basketball teams also tasted victory at the East District tournament at Avonlea.
Derald Staveley won the Bryant Public Speaking Contest zone finals in Regina with his speech "The Training of an Astronaut" and proceeded to the provincial finals in Saskatoon. Although he did not bring back the provincial cup, we were proud of Derald as he was our first student to reach the final contest. In fact, only once before had a student from Weyburn ever reached the finals in forty years of Bryant Public Speaking history.
For the first time in College history, Western girls played in the Provincial basketball tournament. Although they were defeated by Lebret, they were happy they had reached the finals. After the games, Western played host at a banquet to the four participating teams.
It was a good year with improvements in the buildings, and with victories in sports, public speaking and drama. School spirit ran high. This was the year also of S.O.S. (Students Organized for Service Club.) Martin Harvey, class president, valedictorian, and first winner of the President's Award, expressed the sentiments of the graduates: "The class that leaves this year is a class full of gratitude to our parents, our teachers and our Lord. Thank you all. We shall do our best, and as you have been of service to us, we promise through skill and good faith to be of service to all."
1963 - 1964
Enrollment: High School-109
The Clinton Brazle family arrived from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to work with the Weyburn Church of Christ. Clinton and Faye Brazle have six children; the two girls enrolled at Western.
When the College was located at Radville, Brother Brazle had conducted a special gospel meeting for the church there. At the time we were so impressed with him that when we were scouting for our first college president, we contacted him. Brother Brazle declined the offer. Now we are happy to have him on the campus in a different capacity.
Straightway, he revitalized the Mission Study class which met on Sunday evening. Its theme, song became "I know the Lord will find a way for me." Soon the class became infected with Brother Brazle's ardent evangelistic spirit. His messages to the class this year, and in succeeding years, created a mission-minded student body.
Among the number of the charter class who will be witnessing for Christ in their daily lives in later years were Eleanor Pauls, in a summer campaign-for-Christ in Germany; Sharon Parker, wife of a missionary in India; Dorothy King, Bible study teacher in her nurses' residence; Marilyn Brazle, counsellor and teacher at summer camps; Ron Surry, minister for the church at Brandon, Manitoba; Ervin Nelson, establishing the Lord's church at Thompson; Orland Wilkerson, studying Bible at A.C.C.; and...
Furthermore, Brother Brazle initiated another program that he has continued faithfully in succeeding years - the Preacher Training Class, later renamed the Young Timothys. Twice weekly, before breakfast, a volunteer group of boys from the College, together with pre-high school sons of faculty and staff meet to learn how to serve their Master better from the pulpit. In addition, Brother Brazle arranges speaking appointments for the older boys at seven nearby small congregations. During our Lectureships and our gospel meetings, the guest speakers always give a special message to our Young Timothys.
The charter class of twelve boys (average attendance throughout the years is seventeen) were Bob Andreas, Mark Brazle, Mike Brazle, Arden Start, Ervin Nelson, Orland Wilkerson, Don Straker, Ken Floyde, Ron Surry, Bob Parker, David George, Bryan Meneer.
Dipping into the future, I see Bob Parker as missionary in India; David George preaching in Duke, Oklahoma, Bryan Meneer studying Bible at A.C.C.
I maintain that Brother Brazle's work with the Young Timothys is one of the finest programs on our campus. Only the judgement day will reveal the extended achievements of this project:
"Our echoes roll from soul to soul And grow forever and forever."
No account of the influence of the Brazle family on the campus of Western Christian College is complete without referring to Mrs. Brazle's Teacher Training Class with the high school girls. Before her illness, she conducted these classes on Wednesday nights in the chapel. As soon as her affliction from multiple sclerosis subsided somewhat, Mrs. Brazle taught the classes bi-weekly on Sunday afternoons at her home. This training series included not only discussion periods, but also practice teaching sessions. Countless little children will have more effective Bible teaching through Mrs. Brazle's efforts.
The autumn statistics for the college this year were as follows:
A 22% increase in the student body enrollment; 28 students in the largest graduating class thus far in College history; 50% more boys than girls; Roger Peterson, the new principal.
The salary schedule adopted in the spring came into effect this term. The schedule is 75% that of the Weyburn School Unit. Each salary will depend on educational attainments and years of service. Teachers are entitled to twenty days of sick leave annually; the unused portion of sick leave may be carried over to the ensuing year. A teacher on sabbatical leave will receive 2/3 of his salary.
This new agreement eases the financial burdens of the faculty. Before the adoption of this schedule, faculty members with several children lived on a very restricted budget and in some cases found it necessary to ration certain foods such as meat, to a once a week appearance on the menu.
Western Christian College has always had to struggle to obtain qualified teachers. It is hoped that this new agreement will encourage more teachers to apply. Hitherto, many young Christian teachers already handicapped by debts incurred during college years could not possibly afford the luxury of teaching at Western.
At the October shareholders' meeting, Walter Straker, reporting for the Board, expressed satisfaction with the progress of the school in the past, but encouraged consideration of the establishment of junior college work. During his president's report, E.D.Wieb also suggested that in the very near future, junior college courses should be included in the curriculum.
The seed of an idea is sown!
At the annual meeting of the Alumni Association held during the Lectureship, a new constitution was adopted. The purpose of this constitution was to develop a more orderly pattern for managing alumni business, and to provide a framework within which the Alumni could better assist their alma mater. "Nothing is more important than the critical and knowledgeable interest of our alumni. It cannot possibly be measured in merely financial terms" declares one university president.
I was appointed the first executive secretary of this association. One of my pleasant new duties is to publish quarterly the Alumni Reporter. Another incidental blessing derived from the office is receiving invitations to many weddings.
In February, the first annual Bible Reading Contest was held. To encourage better oral reading of the scriptures, the Sinclair family donated a trophy to the winner. This trophy was donated in memory of their father, D. A. Sinclair, who read the Holy Scriptures with beauty and reverence. The finalists in the contest were Brian Braithewaite, Gregory Close, Bryan Meneer and Orland Wilkerson. The trophy winner was Orland Wilkerson.
Excerpt from the class prophecies:
"I was passing near Italy, so I stopped in to see the former Eleanor Pauls and her husband who run an Italian restaurant. Their specialty that day was government pork, creamed onions, beet pickles and hot chocolate. Somehow the meal evoked memories of the cafeteria at WCC."
No story of Western Christian College is complete without reference to government pork. In 1960 the Saskatchewan Government decided to dispose of a meat supply held in storage by the Emergency Measures Organization to institutions of the province. Western received 1320 cases, each containing 24 cans of pork. Because money was scarce and the meat was free, this so-called government pork appeared on Western's menus rather frequently. At first the students ate it enthusiastically but soon their appetite dwindled. In their Last Will and Testament the graduating classes bequeathed tons of government pork to the cooks. Even when the meat was prepared in tasty fashion, the standard remark became, "What! government pork again?" Since it is estimated that that supply will last the college twelve years, several graduating classes will still have to endure the delicious aroma of government pork!
The most impressive ceremony of our high school graduation exercises is "The Passing of the Torch" introduced by Cecil T. Bailey when he was principal. This year Principal Roger Peterson remodelled the torch so that a real flame could be lighted. Although I have witnessed this ceremony many times, I am deeply stirred at each performance.
When the lights grow dim, from back stage, appears the senior class president holding high the flaming torch. As he walks solemnly toward the front of the stage, the grade XI class president comes to meet him from the audience. The flaming torch is presented to the undergraduate president standing a step or two below the senior president who gravely reminds the undergraduates that this flame is symbolic of the light that must be kept flowing in the hearts of the student body. During the presentation and acceptance speeches only the torch and faces of the two class presidents are visible in the darkened hall. After his acceptance speech, the grade XI class president walks slowly down the centre aisle holding high the lighted torch while the graduates sing spiritedly, "Ho my comrades." At the first notes of the class song, the audience rises to attention. A truly unforgettable experience!
Because the presentation speech of Barry Ellis in 1964 is not available, I'll record that of Bob Andreas (1969) as a composite of all the speeches delivered by senior class presidents:
"As each senior class passes from the campus of Western Christian College, it must surrender to its undergraduates the responsibilities it has shouldered for the past school term. This torch symbolizes one of the most sobering tasks laid on the grade 12 class, that if creating and maintaining high conduct. It is not to be taken lightly. It demands the concentrated and unfailing efforts of the whole student body and you, the leaders, must be doubly determined to succeed. We trust as you ceremonially accept this torch, you will also accept the sometime common and unpleasant duties of fostering a healthy atmosphere on our campus.
"As president of the graduating class, I charge you to keep an active school spirit, an enthusiastic optimism and, above all, a living Christ both in your hearts and on this campus. We place our confidence in you!"
It was a good year with the Mission Study Class, Preachers' Training Class, the welcome parties, class picnics, chorus tour, sports, sing songs, the flaming torch ceremony and even government pork. "Our deeds shape our destiny." - Motto of the graduating class.
1964 - 1965
Enrollment: High School - 107
When the College first moved to the Weyburn campus, we rented all four buildings used, at the nominal rate of seventy-five dollars a month. This rental was insignificant considering the size of the buildings and the facilities provided.
After a few years the Administration began negotiating for the purchase of those four buildings and of eleven others located at the airport. There was delay in making the final agreement because the land was owned by the federal government while the buildings were owned by the provincial government.
In the spring of 1964, unexpectedly we received notice that we could gain ownership of the buildings if we paid $36,733.30 by July 15. This was a saving of $10,600.00 from the originally suggested price as all accrued interest would be dropped.
Immediately, the Opportunity Campaign went into full gear. Here was an opportunity for us to own our college buildings that we had occupied since 1957. President E.D.Wieb and Ernest Andreas committed themselves to contact personally every member of the Church of Christ in Western Canada to give them an opportunity to assist in this great campaign.
On July 14, a certified cheque for $36,733.30 was sent to the Department of Public Works for the Province of Saskatchewan as complete payment for the fifteen buildings on our campus. A day of jubilation! A day of humble gratitude!
To make this day possible, 275 separate contributions were received in less than ten weeks from Canadian donors. This represents a majority of the wage earners in the churches of Christ of Western Canada.
During our campaign for building fund money in Canada, Western Christian Foundation undertook the task of raising sufficient money to balance our operational budget.
At the end of our fiscal year, it was revealed that Canadians had given almost forty-thousand dollars to the College during the past year and that donations from Western Christian Foundation totalled thirty-five thousand dollars. Canadian donations had increased 150% over the previous year and Western Christian Foundation donations had increased 90%. This is the only time since the foundation was organized in 1958 that Canadian donations have exceeded those from the foundation.
The Opportunity Campaign is one of our big success stories, "275 persons gave nearly $30,000.00 in 60 days." E.D.Wieb and Ernest Andreas declared that never had the work of fund-raising been so rewarding. Our Canadian brethren proved that they needed the College, wanted the College, and were determined to own the College campus.
When the Student Centre was first opened in the fall of 1960, it was supervised by the Student Council. This supervision included responsibility for housekeeping. This system of supervision worked well for two or three years. Then as the novelty of the Centre wore off and the student council had more difficulty in obtaining the co-operation of the student body in housekeeping jobs, the faculty and staff were supposed to rotate as supervisors. As the periods of supervision came only infrequently, sometimes the faculty and staff neglected to do their part. Consequently, the Student Centre was becoming a dismal-looking place that students did not visit except during canteen hours.
To remedy the situation, during the summer of 1964, the administration decided to build two apartments in the southern part of the Centre. One apartment housed a young couple, Ken and Bev Bolton from Winnipeg. While Ken attended College, Bev became the Student Centre supervisor.
Soon the Centre took on a cheery, spotless appearance that attracted the young people. Once again it became a busy centre of student activity. Bev's pleasant and friendly ways encouraged the students to go there; yet, her standards demanded that they treat the area with respect. Since 1964 the Student Centre has been managed by adults.
The construction of the two apartments in the Student Centre raised the number of campus apartments to twenty. Only two apartments existed in 1957. Converting long, narrow, dusty halls of old air force buildings into comfortable and convenient living apartments is no easy task. Some of our staff and faculty have worked many hours, building new apartments to accommodate our enlarging staff and faculty. These apartments range in size from four-bedroom apartments to a one-bedroom apartment where the bathroom is almost as large as the combined kitchen-living room. Visitors to the campus are often pleasantly surprised to see the comfort and attractiveness of our apartments. They are likely expecting the same drabness as the unpainted shingles of the walls and roofs of the apartment buildings themselves.
In the late summer of 1964, Western Christian College purchased a fifty-four passenger bus of 191 Ford variety. Daily this bus transported to public school in Weyburn nineteen children of our staff and faculty together with other children living at the airport or near the airport. The college students themselves greeted enthusiastically this addition to our facilities because now more students could attend off-campus sports events and the touring chorus could be enlarged. The slogan, "Canada needs more Christian Youth" was place in large green letters on the freshly painted white bus with green trim. Using the school colours made the bus truly our very own. The "hearse" as our old panel truck was nicknamed before its school colour paint job, was now relegated to being mail truck and delivery wagon.
The students can recall many happy rides in the new, big bus, but they can also recall a few break downs in cold winter when the long mid-night wait for help was shortened by sing-songs and story telling, or they recall the unexpected blizzards so thick that brave boys had to run ahead to indicate the obscured road.
Throughout the years, considerable dissatisfaction with the life membership of the shareholders had gradually developed in our organization. Since their original five dollar payment required to purchase a membership in 1945-46, some shareholders had exhibited very little interest in the school. They had not donated any money to help with its financial struggles for twenty years, nor had they visited the school nor written letters of encouragement, yet these same shareholders had the right to vote for the directors of the school.
At one time, it had been proposed that all life memberships be canceled. However, some shareholders objected to this proposal as they considered that the life membership had been promised at the original organization of the college and that the suggested change would be violating a contract.
Last year at the 1963 annual meeting, after pointing out some weaknesses of life membership, Manley Jacobs suggested that the by-laws be amended whereby future memberships be secured on an annual basis. As there was considerable support for this proposal, it was agreed that a draft of such an amendment be considered at the next annual meeting.
During the past summer the Administration circulated forms among the shareholders asking their opinions regarding the proposed change in the membership system. The returns of this survey indicated that a large percentage of the shareholders were willing to turn in their life time shares for annually renewable ones.
On October 10, 1964, the shareholders decided at their annual meeting to make membership in the corporation annually renewable. Memberships henceforth may be granted by the Board of Directors upon application, to be valid for one year only. These memberships will be renewed only if the members have donated to the college at least five dollars during the year. Although the original shareholders were asked to relinquish their life shares and apply for the new type of membership share, they still had the privilege of retaining their life shares if they so desired.
This new membership system should develop an alert, active corporation.
After serving the Board of Directors for eight years, six as Board Chairman, Richard Dacus of Sidney, Montana, declined renomination to the Board. While announcing this refusal, the Western Christian College Messenger praised Brother Dacus for his years of faithful and capable leadership:
"He has served faithfully throughout his terms and was helpful in making the transition from Radville to Weyburn. Brother Dacus served as first president of Western Christian College, along with his position as Board chairman. He also served as Bible teacher while he worked with the church in Estevan. Western Christian College owes much to Brother Dacus for his persistent efforts through the trying years."
At their May meeting the Board determined to rely on a "Pay-for-a- Day" scheme for meeting the operational deficit. According to averages over the recent years, the College requires $120,00 per day above the earned income. Since this May meeting, there has been a campaign to induce members of the corporation, friends of the College, and alumni to agree to "Pay-for-a-Day." While the response has been good, we still have many days not paid for. Consequently the bursar and office manager still have endless problems juggling the income to pay salaries and other debts fairly near the due dates."
In June, the A Cappella Chorus, under the direction of John S. Close, pressed its first record "O Lord Most Holy" with soloists Melinda Brazle, Pamela Stone and David George.
Our A cappella Chorus had its beginning in the fall of 1948 when it was organized and directed by Doris Lewis. From its beginning, the Chorus enjoyed a good reputation in the community. Very few small high schools had mixed choruses as not many could induce their boys to sing. Our students have always loved to sing; especially they enjoyed harmonizing without an instrument. As the enrollment increased, our chorus became larger under the fine direction of Roger Peterson, David Olson, John Bailey, Jack Close, Max Mowrer, and James Willett.
The chorus has toured various parts of Canada and the United States each year since the first tour piloted by Roger Peterson in 1956. In 1965 the chorus toured Montana - twelve engagements in ten days - one day at the beautiful Bow and Arrow Ranch near Yellowstone National Park.
Making the first record is an important milestone in school history. Since that time we have made one each year. When Max Mowrer came, he organized a singing group of nine girls, "The Skylarks," and in 1969 James Willett added a boys' chorus and several other small singing groups. Mr. Willett allows all those interested in singing to enroll in the large chorus; in 1968 and again in 1969 more than ninety students enrolled in this chorus (total school enrollment 132 and 116).
We receive many lovely compliments for our musical activities. Last December a Weyburn school teacher made sure that she attended the Carol Festival the night Western sang. At a recent music festival, our entries received more audience applause than any of the singing groups. Our chorus has performed for service clubs where the students have received standing ovations.
With apologies to Fletcher's "Give me the making of the songs of a nation and I care not who makes it laws," I insist that if I hear the songs young people delight to sing, I can predict the future of the church.
1965 - 1966
Enrollment: High School - 94
During the 1965 winter session of the Saskatchewan Legislature, the government decided to extend educational grants to private schools. Before this time, the public and separate schools received grants but private schools, such as Western, received no financial assistance from the government.
Since many people do not understand the difference between separate schools and private schools, let me explain. Separate schools may be organized in districts where a specified percentage of the taxpayers belong to a certain religion. Then these taxpayers designate that their school taxes be used to operate a school to teach their religious principles along with academic subjects. Private schools receive no local property tax money.
As the Saskatchewan Department of Education considers that private schools are performing a worthwhile service to the community, it has promoted the giving of provincial grants to them. These grants began September 1, 1965.
In order to qualify for the grant, the private schools must employ at least four certified high school teachers, must have a minimum of eighty students enrolled, must follow the provincial curriculum and must be open for regular inspection by the provincially appointed superintendent of schools. I might be wise to state here that the superintendent interferes in no way with our religious activities.
Since Western's faculty is eligible and since the College has always followed the curriculum of the Department of Education and has always been visited by the superintendents, the College had no difficulty qualifying for the grant. The grants are based on the number of Saskatchewan resident students. This year's grant is approximately four thousand dollars - scarcely enough to pay the salary of one teacher.
It is the faculty that received the greatest benefit from this new government policy. Now, we are members of the Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation and will automatically qualify for a low rate group insurance for extended sickness allowances, and for a retirement pension. Although former years of service at Western may not be counted when calculating the amount of the pension, at least now the faculty will be eligible for a more adequate pension from the government at retirement.
It is true that the Board had arranged for a group pension plan with an insurance company in 1961. The faculty had been pleased with that group plan, but the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation arrangement is superior. Because of this advantage and other benefits derived from membership in the Federation, the faculty rejoiced that at last the provincial government had decided to recognize private schools.
In January the chorus sang for the Weyburn Rotary Club. "The Weekly Spoke," a bulletin of the Club, February 7, 1966, described the event:
"The disciplined students of Western Christian College made the gathering a very pleasant occasion. Any group of singers that is accorded two standing ovations during the course of a program of song can rest assured that their contributions were appreciated by everyone in attendance. They can rest assured also that people still continue to enjoy good music.
"As we listened to these young voices give forth with sincerity, as we heard them respond to every flick of the hand of their conductor, we were more certain than ever before that whenever good example and leadership are at work, our young people do not seek escape by becoming beatniks or by becoming associated with the twisted attitudes of the fringe elements. We were also convinced that a well directed discerning Christian atmosphere that allows the young people ample scope for the expression of their youthful exuberance in a socially acceptable manner is still the best way of keeping them prepared for the role of responsible citizenship in a civilized community.
"We are certain that every father present would have been proud to see his daughter or son a part of that chorus..."
In the fall of 1964, the shell of an annex to the gymnasium was built. After Old Smoky had been honourably discharged, a new heating system was placed in one section of it. Now this fall, dressing room and washroom facilities were added in the regular gymnasium. The large annex was divided into sports' equipment room, drama storage room, canteen, a section for bleachers, and a foyer. These improvements were completed for Homecoming 1966.
We truly appreciate the large foyer where spectators or audience may remove coats and rubbers instead of milling around the entrance of the gymnasium, partly on the basketball court. Now we obtain refreshments from the canteen in the building instead of running fifty yards to the Student Centre during basketball half-time. In addition, when the games or concerts are finished, we use the connecting corridor to proceed directly from the gymnasium to Morgan Cafeteria for lunch instead of encountering a raging blizzard or freezing rain, but most of all we appreciate the bleachers which accommodate 150 people. Now, we watch the basketball games in comfort instead of standing around the edges of the basketball court.
The Pay-for-a-Day Campaign continued unabated throughout the entire year. I don't believe a publication came from the president's office that did not encourage people to become part of the program. The faculty and staff agreed to be responsible for thirty-five days. Becoming infected with the campaign, the student council with Gary Zorn's direction decided to raise money to pay for a day. Each grade became responsible for a certain portion according to its enrollment. When Principal Roger Peterson promised an evening with special refreshments to the grade which first reached its quota, the students began in earnest to consider ways and means of raising money. Among other money making schemes, they organized a slave sale and a car wash. The grade ten class with class president Ben Wuttunee was the proud winner.
The students became such successful fund raisers that they paid for two days - Graduation day and Farewell Banquet Day. At the Homecoming program Gary Zorn presented the $240.00 to Ernest Andreas.
In March, Lynn Anderson '55, the first Alumnus of the Year chosen by the Alumni Association, held a gospel meeting for the local church of Christ. He presented dynamic lessons on the theme "The High Cost of Holy Living," depicting the sacrifices of God and Man in the way of salvation. These challenging lessons inspired seventy-one to respond during the gospel meeting. To the young people it was a period of great revival.
At their April meeting, the Board of Directors made two important decisions. In the first place, it decided to make the airport location the permanent site of the College.
When the College moved to the Weyburn airport in 1957, the Board expected this campus to be only a temporary site. The city of Weyburn offered the College forty acres midway between the city and the airport for a new permanent site with the understanding that Western begin construction within ten years. A Regina architect's representation of the new campus was displayed in the public relations office for several years. Weyburn people often asked when we would move to the new campus. It was the original intention that the administration and classroom building be ready for occupancy by 1970.
Nevertheless, with the passage of time, other considerations arose and the Board delayed making definite plans for construction on the proposed new campus site.
In the first place, Weyburn was growing in a northerly and easterly direction. If that trend continued, it would not be long before the proposed new area would be enclosed by the city. The Board preferred a more remote and quiet section.
In the second place, as the buildings on the new campus would be erected over an extended period of time, some of the airport buildings would necessarily continue to be used. It would be inconvenient to use the two campuses at the same time as they were separated by two miles of country road with no regular bus service.
In the third place, cost of construction is high, and the College is continually struggling with financial problems at its present site. Renovation and care of the present buildings would hold costs to a minimum. Someone has estimated that it would cost over a million dollars to reproduce the present facilities in new buildings.
Consequently, the Board agreed that the present airport site will be the permanent site of Western Christian College.
The College surrendered her rights in the forty acre site and in return the city leased Western thirty-three acres adjoining our present campus on the East.
The second important decision made by the Board on April 3 was that September 1968 would be the target date for adding one more year to our academic program. To carry out this decision, more classroom space must be made available. The renovation of the "old mess hall" came under consideration. One more small step toward the goal!
With the financial assistance of the Radville Weyburn Alumni chapter, two hundred six-foot poplar trees were planted on our campus this spring.
This is only one of many attempts to beautify our barren campus during the past nine years. The first attempt was the hauling of sand and gravel by Ray Lock and Ernest Andreas in 1958 to make gravel walks lined with stones. Someone might comment that this was a very primitive attempt at beautification, but I can assure you that the campus looked neater and more attractive afterwards. In addition, the gravel walks were much easier on shoes in rainy weather than the sticky clay!
A few years later grass was planted in front of the two H buildings and in the square between them. Disappointment resulted as much of the grass was drowned in the low-lying sections.
Then in 1962 Sam Seibel and Norman Straker hauled one hundred and forty truck loads of rich soil to spread over these low-lying areas. Next, our famous thousand dollar grass was planted. This time it grew beautifully, surviving would-be careless feet because of Mr. Straker's stentorian voice ringing through the air, "Keep off the grass!"
At various times throughout the years, staff members planted a few flowers around the buildings, but it was not until 1967 that Mr. Straker brought colour to our surroundings with flower beds and hundreds of flowers in them. Now (1969) that Mr. Straker has built his green house, we have still more flowers. He had one giant geranium that grew nearly six feet tall. In fact, if our buildings were painted, we would have a pretty campus now with trees, grass and bright flowers. For much of this beauty we must thank Mr. Straker.
Brother and Sister Straker joined the staff in 1959. Since that year, he has been custodian most of the time, and she has been one of our good cooks. They have five children, all of whom have attended Radville Christian College or Western and have married former students of the College.
The school year of 1965-66 was an interesting and exciting one. This year tackle football was introduced to the campus by Ken Starnes. Our boys won the South-East region but were routed 50-0 by Assiniboia. The game with Assiniboia resulted in our fullback, John McMillan, receiving two crushed vertebrae and several weeks' holiday from school.
This year our first school spirit week was organized.
This year the graduating class was so large that its home room was in a different building across the street from the other classrooms.
This year the Mustangs won the Weyburn Collegiate Basketball Tournament, the first time in history. It was also the first time any Weyburn team had won the tournament.
This year our player, Daryl Ellis, was judged the most valuable player of that same tournament.
This year four graduates received Canadian University scholarships and one a Nursing Scholarship because of their high marks.
This year the Skylarks were organized; Torkelson Hall had its first open house; the chorus sang at the Weyburn Festival for the first time and as the Northern Lights suggested:
"Led by an energetic president, the council planned some new activity at almost every week's meeting."
The graduates went "Out of the harbor into the Sea."