Part Three:
Western Christian College
Diary Update:
by Lillian M. Torkelson

Written in 1989

1969 - 1974

1969 - 1970

Enrollment: High School - 98; Junior College - 15

On June 21, at the annual meeting of the members of the society of Western Christian College, amendments to the by-laws of the society were proposed and later adopted by vote of the society to enlarge the directorship to include four ex officio directors and nine elected directors. The four ex officio directors will be the president of the college, the business manager of the college, the president of the alumni association, and the president of Western Christian Foundation, located at Wichita Falls, Texas.

In July, James W. Kennedy of Seminole, Texas, was laid to rest. He was a good friend of Western Christian College. Much of his time and energy during his last 10 or 12 years was devoted to helping Western Christian College as president of Western Christian Foundation. We honour and respect our good friend.

In August, Mrs. Ellen Massey, the first full time college librarian, died of cancer. Although she spent only one school year here, her contribution to the college during her brief stay is invaluable. She came from Ohio Valley College to establish the library for the new junior college program which began last year in September. The library is in good condition to continue the program that she inaugurated.

Prior her death, Mrs. Massey's book of poetry, Quiet Moments, was published. The publishing rights for the book have been given to Western Christian College and all proceeds from the sale of her book are to be used to further Christian education.

After acting as principal for five years, Roger Peterson resigned in June to return to school at Abilene for a Master's degree in counselling. Thus when classes began in September, the high school had a new principal, David Lidbury. He had been made dean of the junior college when its classes began in the fall of 1968. David is an alumnus of the college and has already served on the college faculty for nine years.

For the first time in the history of the Women's Service Club (established in 1958), the Fall Fair was introduced as a money- making scheme. Ellen Massey had suggested the project at the annual meeting in 1968. The Fall Fair of baking and knitting, crocheting, quilts and hobby craft articles was a great success. The Fall Fair became an annual event. In 1969, the Women's Service Club president was Shirley Straker and the secretary was Linda Laycock. The annual Fall Fair continues to be a big money-making project for the club. The largest sum realized at the fair was in 1980, with proceeds reaching $3,382.87.

February 7, 1970, was a red letter day for me. During homecoming at the Saturday evening program, Alumni President Walter Straker presented me with a $2,000 cheque to defray expenses for a trip to Europe and the Holy Land. I was too astonished to appear excited. I could not believe it was true when he made the announcement. I just stood on the stage staring at Walter with my mouth open. I shall never forget the day nor the kindness of the alumni and other friends who contributed toward the generous gift.

During Easter holidays under the direction of James Willett, the college chorus presented several concerts in the three prairie provinces. At Edmonton the chorus sang for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the Honourable Grant McEwan (a noted prairie author). His Excellency presented the chorus with one of his wood carvings. It is proudly kept in a display case at the college.

This spring saw the beginning of a new school tradition: the annual school project for raising money for the college. First it was a walk-a-thon, next a skate-a-thon and then came the work-a-thons. The students have raised many thousands of dollars with this annual project. In five years they had raised more than $50,000.

This year the majority of students, faculty, staff, and several alumni participated in the 30 mile walk-a-thon. The walkers were led by President E.D.Wieb and Mayor Tom Hart of Weyburn. Not all participants completed the entire 30 mile limit (Lillian M. Torkelson walked only 11 miles). Don Kemp of Nanaimo, B. C., won the award for finishing the course first.

Friends and relatives of the participants sponsored them for a definite sum for each mile walked. Starlet Sinclair of Wichita Falls, Texas, won the award for bringing in the most money. She walked the entire 30 miles but the last two or three miles were rather unforgettable experiences. Many lame and tired young people limped around campus that Saturday night. Next morning, everyone was full of energy again. Such is youth! The proceeds from the walk-a-thon were used to pay the teachers' salaries. This had been a year when there was no way of predicting when the monthly pay cheque would arrive.

In May, 28 high school students and 10 junior college students were presented diplomas by President E.D.Wieb. Sherrie Noyes was valedictorian and Lane Brehaut was salutatorian. The president's medal winner was David Krogsgaard and the dean's award was given to Debbie Sinclair of the junior college.

Associate of Arts degrees were presented to Bob Andreas, Debbie Bailey, Mike Brazle, Bonnie Davies, Sam Hawkins, Ron May, Charles Muller and Debbie Sinclair.

The first second-year Bible graduates of the college were Christopher Bathini of India and Dale Elford of Regina. Christopher returned to India where he operated an orphan's home until his death in the early 1980's. Dale Elford has preached at Regina, Vernon, B.C., and now (1989) for many years at nearby Estevan.

During the summer holidays (1970), I took my trip to Europe and the Holy Land. Because so many people connected with Western Christian College made that trip possible, I shall include my article printed in the fall Messenger describing that trip:

...On July 9, Mrs. G. Weeks, our home economics teacher, and I left by jet from Regina on our journey that took us through fourteen countries during the following forty-six days. During that time, we visited friends in Roeselare and Klagenfurt, met missionaries in London, Heidelberg, Vienna, and Athens, toured historical sites at Ypres, Rome and Paris and viewed art treasures in Ghent, Amsterdam and the Vatican. We enjoyed a Shakespearean production in Stratford, a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle, a symphony concert in the Royal Albert Hall and an opera at the Baths of Caracalla.

We travelled by train through England, France and Italy, by bus in a guided tour of eight countries that included Switzerland and Germany, by boat down the beautiful blue Danube and across the English Channel, by car in Belgium and Israel, by horse at Killarney and by jet over large bodies of water, stopping at ten different airports.

The highlight of countless rich experiences was our visit to Israel. How does a rather conservative northerner express one's gratitude for having the opportunity to stand on the Mount of Olives, to climb the Tower of David, to see the tomb of the patriarchs at Hebron or the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem or the wilderness of Judea or the hills of Nazareth or the Sea of Galilee?

After four years of faithful service, Walter and Glenda McAlister left for teaching positions in Carruthersville, Missouri. Glenda McAlister will be remembered especially for organizing one of the best intramural programs the college has ever had.

Mrs. Amy Bissell (1967-70) left to teach in Pueblo, Colorado. It has been nice to have a pleasant and cheerful young lady on the faculty.

Mrs. Gertrude Weeks (1966-70) has been our librarian and capable home economics teacher. She was my good companion on my trip to Europe and the Holy Land. She decided to retire from teaching and returned to her home in Guymon, Oklahoma.

1970 - 1971


Enrollment: High School - 103; Junior College - 17

E.D.Wieb resigned as president of the college after serving 10 years in that capacity and has become a full-time teacher. He is teaching Bible, French, composition and literature classes. At the annual pre-session institute for the staff and faculty, Mr. Wieb gave his final address as president. Afterwards some faculty members commiserated with him for his "stepping down" as president to teacher. I congratulated him for his promotion to the position of "teacher!" I consider that that profession, with the exception of parenting, is the most rewarding profession with the greatest opportunities for service.

As no president has been chosen to take his place, the board of directors appointed three men to serve as a decision making committee: Royal Stone of Calgary, Ivar Kristianson of Estevan, and Henry Grasley of Regina.

The directors continued to look for a replacement. Because no one suitable could be found, Mr. Wieb was re-instated as president. On December 17, as the re-instatement was announced, staff and students alike received the news with a standing ovation.

Another staff change has occurred in 1970. Ernest Andreas has left the position of bursar to work for Western Christian Foundation.

Ernest has been actively connected with the college since its beginning. Ernest was elected to the board of directors in 1949, and became business manager of the college in March 1954, while he was still the accountant at the Sodium Sulphate Co. Ltd. near Gladmar. For three years he handled the two jobs, but when the college moved to North Weyburn, he resigned his position at Gladmar to become a full-time employee of Western.

While working as bursar, Ernest has been architect, plumber, fund- raiser, publisher, planner, secretary to the board, school policy maker and adviser.

During her years at Western, Louise Andreas has also been a very versatile person. At various times she has been accountant, assistant postmistress, clerk, bookstore operator, and in charge of the mailing room. In the early years much of her work had been on a volunteer basis. Louise not only served faithfully in these various positions, but she will be always remembered for her hospitality and her desire to assist those in need.

Both Ernest and Louise are alumni, as are their two children, Bob and Leila. While working for Western Christian Foundation, Ernest and Louise will be stationed at Nashville, Tennessee.

Because we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our college during this school year (1970-71), we have decided to have three homecomings during the year. The first special homecoming was held during the fall lectureship. All students who have attended the Bible department since the college began were invited to a special appreciation dinner on October 9. Because Radville Christian College was an outgrowth of the Radville, Ogema and Horse Creek Bible Schools, former students from those schools were guests at the appreciation dinner also. The Alumni Reporter states that the dinner tickets cost $2.50. Guest speaker for this special anniversary dinner was Don H. Morris, chancellor of Abilene Christian College. He had previously visited R.C.C. during the first year the high school department was in operation and had been speaker at the lectureship at that time.

I always enjoy seeing alumni at a homecoming, but I was truly delighted to see Magnar and Joan Knutson of New Market, Ontario, at this special homecoming. In 1953-54, they had lived upstairs in the two small rooms of my cold tamped-earth house at Radville so that Magnar could attend Bible classes at R.C.C.

The upstairs rooms of my house were so low that the only place Magnar could stand up straight was in the middle of the rooms. In addition, there were so many airy cracks, that Magnar used several pounds of crack filler to make the rooms more habitable. In spite of these handicaps, Magnar and Joan were always cheerful and happy. They afterwards became missionaries in Norway for a few years, worked for many years for the churches in New Market and Regina and are in 1989 retired but busy with volunteer work in London, Ontario.

Now back to 1970. In the fall the board of directors initiated a new fund-raising drive called "Can Do," with J.C.Murray as head of the program. The purpose of this drive is to raise the money for operating expenses among Canadian brethren so that the money received from Western Christian Foundation will be free for other needs. The Canadian brethren "Can Do" this, is the motto. J. C. Murray is to raise $82,200 for the fiscal year (September 1, 1970- August 31, 1971) and to visit everyone on the college's mailing list in western Canada.

James Willett assumed the position of director of the college chorus when he arrived on the campus in 1967. Anybody who wished to sing could be a member of the chorus. No auditions were required. Sometimes he would have as many as 115 students in the chorus. Such a group was too unwieldy for distance travelling. Thus during the 1970-71 school year, for the first time a smaller, separate travelling chorus has been selected from the full chorus. The full chorus is used for at-home functions and the smaller chorus for programs at a distance.

In October 1970, students of the junior college started Saturday morning Bible classes (JOY School) for children living in the vicinity of the former church of Christ building at 10th & Bison in Weyburn. The school is the brain child of two college students, Lorna Ashby and Marlene Pauls. There are nine regular staff members and some substitutes, all young people, mostly from the college class.

JOY stands for Jesus first, Others second and You third. The school meets on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The children ranged in age from three to 11 years and in number from 10 to 40.

According to records available, the JOY School operated for four school sessions (1970 71, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1975-76) until the JOY buses began in 1976. For the last session the student director was Duncan Perry (son of alumni Lillian Ross and Sheldon Perry) who was killed in a truck accident in 1982.

The second homecoming celebration during the 25th Anniversary Year was held the first weekend of February (February 5, 6, 7, 1971). In addition to the usual guests of honour (graduates five, 10, 20 years ago) at that second homecoming, the special guests were all the high school students who had attended at Radville Christian College during the first year that high school classes had been taught there (1946-47).

Of the 11 high school students in attendance that year, five returned for Homecoming 1971: Pauline Perry O'Neal, a widowed nursing assistant living in Yorkton; Harold Orr, research engineer from Saskatoon with two children at Western; Leo Seibel, Co-op manager at Pangman; Kay Johnson Hotchkiss, wife of a gospel preacher at North Battleford with one child at Western; Gordon Taylor, farmer-postman from Carman, Manitoba with two children at Western.

During the Saturday evening program of that homecoming, Glen McMillan from Saskatoon presented a model of a cow, "Saskachimo" to President E.D.Wieb. In its efforts to help Western financially, the Saskatoon alumni chapter had purchased a purebred Hereford. Wilfred Rogers, alumnus of Western and a farmer-rancher agreed to keep Saskachimo at no cost. Each year, Saskachimo's calf will be sold with the sale price going to Western. The Saskatoon chapter is the second one to buy live stock. In the fall of 1970, the alumni chapter at Manson, Manitoba, purchased a sow, which Lloyd Jacobs agreed to keep. The Manson chapter acquired in 1971 another sow, kept by Calvin Elford.

The alumni are very active in their support of the college.

That spring the student council sponsored a skate-a-thon. Participants skated 20 miles on nearby Souris River. David Krogsgaard of Regina completed the race in record time. Sharon Reddick of Manor won the girls' trophy. Janet Bailey of Elrose raised the most money. The student council used its income to purchase a school bus and a small tractor. Wendell Bailey, student council president, had the first ride on the tractor.

The third and final homecoming of this anniversary year was held in April at the same time as the Saskatchewan Homecoming was celebrated. Following a buffet supper and a concert by a folk group directed by James Willett on Friday night April 9, Mr. Wieb delivered a thought-provoking address, "A Look at Our Nation and Its Future."

In his address, Mr. Wieb maintained that today's problems are not much different from those that have confronted mankind throughout the centuries, except that now the masses are involved because of modern media. The solution to the problems is Jesus Christ. In the application of this solution, the speaker emphasized that his present audience must be among the seriously concerned and not among the indifferent.

Saturday, April 10, was devoted to morning devotionals, attending open house in the dormitories, viewing the remarkable displays of the history of various activities of our college, seeing the slide presentations and visiting with friends over a cup of coffee in the afternoon at the library and followed by a banquet at the cafeteria with J.C.Murray as master of ceremonies.

The highlight of the 26th Anniversary celebrations was certainly "Radburn's Memoirs," a musical pageant written and produced by President Wieb and presented in the gymnasium Saturday evening.

The readers in the pageant were David Lidbury and Jim Pennington. Music was provided by the college special chorus directed by James Willett. J.C.Murray and David Lidbury were the stage directors; Brenda Oberkirsch (grade 12 student) and Janet Bailey (grade 11 student) were in charge of the "living pictures of memory." Some of the text for this pageant was based upon excerpts of my book, Radburn's Memoirs. The narration, singing, living pictures, slides and lighting all combined to produce a spectacular history of our college that will not soon be forgotten by the appreciative audience.

On Sunday, April 11, the guest speaker was Cecil T. Bailey, former teacher (1948-50) and principal (1956-60), who recently returned from teaching at the Mount Zion Bible College in India. His text was "Having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His, and let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness."

It is estimated that there were 400 present for this special homecoming weekend.

1971 - 1972

Enrollment: High School - 104; College - 11
Budget: $231,042
Gift Night: $6,200 ($7,000)
High School Annual Fee: $1,300

(While 74 students are from Saskatchewan, the following places are also represented in the enrollment: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, California, Kansas, and Pakistan.)

As a result of study by Dean Lidbury and a brief presented to the Department of Education, the college introduced the semester system this fall in both the secondary and post secondary curricula. The first semester in high school runs from September through January with the second one going from February through June.

There are several advantages to the semester system. The students take fewer classes at one time. In the non-semester system, the students take an average of eight credit classes for a full 10- month term, while now they will study four classes each semester. This reduces the monotony of extending classes over a long period. In addition, the semester system allows students to transfer to other semestered schools at midterm without loss of credits.

In practice, I found that the system worked well in history and English but not in mathematics or French. I think the material "sinks in" more permanently over the longer period of time. However, I do admit that the semester system reduces stress on teachers and students alike.

Albert Kleppe, born and raised in Winnipeg, joined the Bible faculty September 1. He is the associate minister of the Weyburn church and holds a Master's degree from Harding Graduate School. Albert is married to Donna Meneer, an alumna, and they have three sons and two daughters.

After a two-year leave of absence to pursue his studies toward a Master's degree in counselling at Abilene Christian College, Roger Peterson has returned to the college campus this fall. Roger has been a part of Western's family since 1951 and Helen since her marriage in 1954. Roger will teach again, as well as be guidance counsellor, while both he and Helen will be dorm parents in Hanes Hall. Roger and Helen have six children with Wadell, the eldest, attending the college.

The 1972 alumni project is called the "Western Christian College Alumni Investment Fund." By this plan, alumni send money to the college to be invested, and the interest will be used by the college, while the invested money will be held for future use by children of the investors, when they attend Western. This fund is under the oversight of the board of directors but operated by alumni.

At the annual meeting in June, Dale Elford, alumnus, reported three involved in the deposit fund and 28 in the education fund. In 1973 at the annual meeting, Dale again reported that 50 students were involved in the fund. This alumni project continued until the College Endowment Fund began in 1979-80.

Two new school activities, that remained popular among students for several years, were introduced this year (1971-72).

The first is the weekly Bible quiz directed by Albert Kleppe and assisted by Jim Pennington. The quiz is patterned after television's "Reach for the Top" and the students compete for a trophy. The students have one week to prepare for questions on a specifically stated section of the Bible. The final quiz covered the entire Bible.

This year 16 teams entered the competition and after 15 rounds of quizzes, Peter Brazle (grade 10) and Kirk Roberts (grade 11) were declared the winners. In the final quiz, they were opposed by Jack Hansen (grade 12) and Anna Venini (grade 12). The last four quizzes were very close with the winners in each case, achieving the top by only one question. There was a great deal of excitement and drama in the chapel during that final quiz.

The second new school activity is intercollegiate debating. Intercollegiate debating on the high school level in Saskatchewan is a comparatively recent activity. Students from Western had participated in local debates in 1971 without much success but in 1972 the college attended the Provincial Debate Tournament in Regina. Here the four debaters, Marjorie Maw, Cathie Olson, Nancy Orr and Jack Hansen, won seven of eight debates and Jack Hansen (grade 12) from Kansas walked off with top honours. Jack then represented Saskatchewan in the National Debating Seminar in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. There he was also chosen as the top Saskatchewan debater. According to the Saskatchewan coach, Gordon Cochrane, Jack placed nationally in the top 10.

President E.D.Wieb was Western's team coach with college student, Ruth Orr (later to become a lawyer) as his assistant. The subject of the provincial debate was "Foreign Investment in Canada," while the topic for the National Debating Seminar was "Free Enterprise versus Socialism."

The following year David Mann of Victoria, B.C., was the top debater and joined the provincial team at the national tournament in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In 1976, Western was host to the provincial tournament. Eddie Willett came fourth in the province but was disqualified from the provincial team because he had not debated in the required number of tournaments during the year. Sarah Nixon won the bronze medal in the novice class. The novice team of Lyle Asbill and Bernard Olson came second in the province. President E.D.Wieb organized the 1976 Provincial Debate Tournament at the college.

Now after my flight into the future, I switch back into 1972 again. This year the student council began its most successful of marathon races, the work-a-thon. An annual work-a-thon has been staged at the college since that time.

Under the direction of student council president, Lew Young, some 115 students contributed 10 hours each to the physical improvement of the campus. Grounds were raked, windows washed, classrooms, offices, laboratories cleaned, trees planted and walls painted. The student body divided into teams and each team under the direction of a staff member worked with a spirit of happy cooperation. As the day closed, the campus had taken on a new look.

Once again students had contacted friends and relatives to sponsor them for various amounts of money per hour they worked. The students had agreed to raise the money to redecorate the interior of the gymnasium and to paint the exterior of the administration building.

Because the work-a-thons have been so successful in improving our campus and in developing school spirit, I wish to list what they have accomplished financially during the years:

1972 paint ($5,400.00)
1973 paved street
1974 band instruments, trophy case, track and field equipment
1975 debt reduction and small projects on campus
1976 new school bus
1977 pay on new school bus
1978 half to new school bus and rest to insulating and sheeting the skating rink ($12,225.05)
1979 insulating and sheeting skating rink plus paint $8,989.76)
1980 court yard and repairs to roof of education building ($11,193.50
1981 rink floor ($8,897.60)
1982 back stop, athletic field improvements and storage building ($6,578.00)
1983 storage building and redecorated chapel ($12,229.73)
1984 room for new student life building ($11,825.82)
1985 ($8,771.54)
1986 no fund-raising, just a work bee
1987 purchased a used van ($7,482.68)
1988 continued to pay for the van
1989 no funds raised, just a work bee

Many of the previously mentioned projects were carried out under the direction of J.C.Murray.

For the 1978 work-a-thon, staff and faculty participated by requesting sponsors. They received donations from the premier of Saskatchewan, a cabinet minister, a member of the House of Commons and from the lieutenant governor of Tennessee. Probably those donors agree with the educator, Wm. Lyon Phelps: "...I thoroughly believe in a university education for both men and women; but I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college education is more valuable than a college course without the Bible."

Salute to the work-a-thon - a fine college tradition.

Now once again, after a far flight into the future, I return to 1972. During this summer the exterior of two buildings on campus were finally painted. From the very first, when I arrived on campus in 1957, I was unpleasantly impressed by the drab ugliness of the weather beaten, unpainted buildings. Then as the years went by they became even more sad looking.

Throughout the years, several unsuccessful attempts had been launched to paint the buildings. During the lectureship in October 1965, a "Paint the Buildings" campaign was initiated. For this purpose almost $2,000 were donated on gift night. The interior of Wilfred Orr Hall was painted but not the exterior of any building because the two coats of fairly good paint on the south wall of the gymnasium had faded within a year. Thus, we continued to live in the dreary looking buildings.

In 1972, the idea of painting the buildings came into the minds of the student council and J.C.Murray as they hunted for a project for the work-a-thon money. They finally decided that the inside of the gymnasium would be completely redecorated and paint would be purchased for the exterior of the administration building and the gymnasium.

Under the capable direction of J.C.Murray, the newly appointed director of development, the students, alumni from as far east as Winnipeg, as far west as Victoria, and as far north as Prince Albert, together with other college friends, staged two "scrape- the-old-paint days" (August 19 and 26 in 1972) to prepare the surface of the administration building and gymnasium. Next over 400 gallons of paint were sprayed on the two buildings.

This painting of two buildings started the paint brushes rolling so four years later all the main buildings had been painted. The following timetable was used: 1972 administration building and gymnasium - cream and white 1973 Torkelson Hall and staff apartments - cream and white; student centre - brown and white 1974 staff apartments (the Red Barn) - maroon and white 1975 Hanes Hall - caramel and white; Rogers' Chapel and music room - white and orange

The Women's Service Club gave several donations toward the painting project. J.C.Murray sprayed all the buildings and Wesley Mann '72 painted the trimmings for three summers.

Campus dwellers are grateful to the student council, the Women's Service Club, J.C.Murray, Wes Mann, Palmer Pederson and many others who laboured to create a more pleasant looking campus. Only those who lived here "before" can truly appreciate the amazing difference "after!"

1972 - 1973

Enrollment: High School - 122; College - 13
Budget for the School Year: $303,895
Gift Night: $5,200
High School Room, Board and Tuition: $1,350

This is going to be a planning year - an optimistic dip into the future of the college on the North Weyburn campus. To facilitate growth and development, the college decided to have a five-man board of administration: President Wieb, Dean David Lidbury, Business Manager Ed Ashby, and two newly-appointed members - Dean of Students, James Willett, and Director of Development, J.C.Murray.

As the new dean of students, Mr. Willett is in charge of the dormitories, both students and personnel, the student centre and canteen, the behaviour of students, the work program and is chairman of the admissions committee.

J.C.Murray is to spearhead the long range development program. The board of directors had previously authorized the administration to pursue the initiation of a 25 year program of campus development.

An architectural firm was soon engaged to study the present facilities and to recommend "a program of phasing out the current buildings in a gradual replacement over the next quarter of a century." J.C.Murray presented the plan to the board of directors and it was approved in principle.

At the annual meeting of the shareholders in June 1973, the plans were shown and discussed briefly. The development includes saving of certain existing buildings, preparation of grounds and zoning for future use. By June 1973, in preparation of the grounds, 7,000 trees have been planted. The program of painting existing buildings will continue.

Actual construction of the new buildings will take place when finances and school growth merit it. The plan suggests that the first new building should be a student life complex consisting of dormitories, dining hall and student centre.

We were certain that Western Christian College had started on the road to a great future at the North Weyburn campus.

The 1972-73 year brought not only the 25 year development program but also our first Oriental students.

We have had overseas students before, Janette Sookoo (1969) from Trinidad and Christopher Bathini (1969) from India, but Nobu Suzuki from Japan and Alan Hung from Kowloon, Hong Kong, were the first of many fine Oriental students that came in the succeeding years.

The college has appreciated the ambitious Hong Kong students that have attended (1972-89). In 1973, 10 Oriental students enrolled. In my Christmas letter to friends and relatives that year, I wrote, "I am teaching Canadian history to seven eager boys from Hong Kong. Their interest and diligence inspires more activity on the part of the entire class."

Readers may wonder why Hong Kong students come to Canada for high school and how and why they chose Western Christian College.

Because the university in Hong Kong is not large enough to accommodate all students who wish to attend, many ambitious Hong Kong young people seek enrollment in foreign universities. Although they have studied English in high school at Hong Kong when they enroll in Canadian universities, our universities discover their knowledge of English is inadequate. Consequently, the universities have decided that they will accept only Hong Kong students who have studied at least one high school year in Canada.

The Canadian authorities furthermore have suggested that the Hong Kong students should attend residential high schools. Attendance there will give the students more opportunity for a necessary association with Canadian students and consequently more conversation in English.

I once asked a student how she chose Western Christian College. She replied that she had written to the Saskatchewan Department of Education requesting a list of residential schools with descriptions of each school. After reading the list carefully, she chose Western! In later years many of the brothers and sisters of former Oriental students applied for entrance.

Because most of the Oriental students have been deficient in English, the college has instituted two very beneficial programs for them. The required daily Bible class for all Hong Kong students is taught by J. E. Pennington. In these classes he spends a great deal of time discussing meanings of words, often words we take for granted that everyone knows, such as the word, "saviour." In addition there is a regular E.S.L. (English as a second language) course, which is a compulsory subject for all foreign students during the first semester and optional for the second semester. Velda Coulter and Raymona Pennington have taught the E.S.L. classes.

In recent years (1980's) the Hong Kong students have had a special Wednesday night Bible class at the Weyburn Church of Christ. These classes have been taught by Doug and Cheryl Cox and Dan and Vivian Dunn.

During the years, the Penningtons, the Olsons and the Dunns have faithfully provided our Oriental students with "a home away from home."

At various times, the Oriental students have entertained the faculty, staff, and students with spectacular "Oriental Nights" giving us a taste of their culture through food, songs, skits and fashion shows. These celebrations are another benefit to the Canadian students from the presence of our Oriental students.

These foreign guests in our country have caused almost no discipline problems. There may be three reasons for this good behaviour. In the first place, they do not wish to disappoint their parents. Secondly, there is danger that their student visas will be revoked if they become serious discipline problems and thirdly, because over 90 percent of the Orientals wish to enroll in a Canadian university, they are serious students.

Our Oriental students usually shine in mathematics and science subjects and often struggle with history and English. However, we have had some excellent, all-around students. In 1974, Joseph Lee was salutatorian of the graduating class; in 1982, Gail Li was valedictorian of the class and again in 1987, Sarah Leung Fung Li was salutatorian.

Although most of our overseas students have studied mainly in the high school department, a number have been enrolled in the college liberal arts and Bible programs. Christopher Bathini from India graduated from the two-year Bible program in 1969; Barrett Udom from Nigeria studied one semester in the liberal arts program after graduation from high school in 1974; Willy Chidowe from Zimbabwe spent a year (1976-77) in the Bible department. Others that have enrolled in post secondary courses are Alan Hung, Simon Chow, Agnes Chau, Eddie Chau and Billy Leung.

1973 - 1974

Enrollment: High School - 105; College - 19
Budget: $303,895
High School Fees: $1,500 (annually)
Junior College: Tuition: $25 (per semester hour)
Room: $125 (per semester)
Board: $200 (per semester)
Pay For A Day: $168

Pay For A Day had previously been $120 but because of increasing costs it has risen to $168. This means that in addition to the board, room and tuition paid by students, $168 a day must be raised by donations to cover the cost of financing the college.

Because President E.D.Wieb has been suffering with some health problems, his doctors have advised that a change of scene might benefit his health. Accordingly the board granted him a sabbatical beginning August 1. He plans to do some travelling in United States and Mexico, and take education classes at Oklahoma Christian College. During his absence, one of our other administrative officers will be the committee in charge of the college.

After an absence of eight years, John S. (Jack) Close has returned to the staff of Western Christian College. In 1963-65, Jack had been both dean of boys and a teacher. He has recently completed his Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Jack brings with him his wife Karen and his son Allen.

Michael and Sandra Ensley are new members of the staff. Michael has a Master of Arts degree in teaching, from the Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and Sandra has a Bachelor of Science degree in music education. Michael's major field of study is history, and he has done post graduate work in the field of library science.

During the summer, an underground sprinkler system was installed by John Wedler of Chilliwack, B.C. This work was financed by the Van Valley Alumni Chapter and the Women's Service Club of Vancouver.

At Homecoming February 1974, the Regina Alumni Chapter announced that it had purchased a registered Black Angus cow. The chapter had a unique, laughter-provoking method of announcing the purchase. It was later described this way: "This year's presentation of alumni scholarships and gifts was enlivened by the unannounced entry of a cow apparently from Regina whose function was to draw attention to their chapter's donation. The children in the audience were delighted and even the adults were impressed with this creature's unusual method of lying down. There were a few anxious moments, however, as the beast on her (?) way out of the gymnasium, charged Miss Torkelson."

Since 1970, the herd of alumni cows has grown to number over 15. These cows are being kept at no cost to Western, by various alumni farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Five first-time events in the history of Western occurred this school year (1973-74): the first junior college class to be accepted for accreditation by the University of Regina; the first time that Western had a band; the first art classes taught in high school; the first accreditation of a grade 12 class and teacher; the first youth rally, held on Victoria Day weekend.

In the fall of 1973, the Western Christian Messenger made this significant announcement: "We are pleased to announce that junior college students at Western, will be able, for the first time, to obtain some credits from the University of Saskatchewan (Regina Campus) for classes taken here. The University Accreditation Committee began by accepting our Calculus 100 to be taught by Dr. John Harvey. Two other classes are also being considered for this semester."

This welcome announcement has resulted from several years of planning and negotiation, spearheaded by David Lidbury. In January 1972, Principal David Lidbury and Business Manager Ed Ashby met with Dr. John Archer, principal of the Regina Campus to present him with a brief requesting that the university recognize the post secondary classes taught at Western Christian College. As early as 1970, Dr. Archer had suggested that such a formal presentation be made. The brief was the work of David Lidbury with the assistance of E.D.Wieb at the request of the board of directors.

Following the reception of the brief, Dr. Archer was sufficiently impressed to appoint a three-man committee to visit the college to study the matter of recognition in greater detail. It was decided that accreditation would be by individual class and qualifications of its teacher rather than by judging the standards of the entire college program. As a result of further negotiations, Dr. John Harvey's calculus is the first class to be accredited.

Henceforth, Western will submit annually the classes for accreditation to a University of Regina committee under the chairmanship of Dean R. R. Robinson. Following a review by the department heads at the university, the courses are either accepted or rejected.

In 1976, six courses were accepted for university credit: English (E.D.Wieb), communications (J. E. Pennington), statistics (J. Harvey), psychology (R. Peterson), music appreciation (J. Willett) and chemistry (J. S. Close).

In 1977, art history (L.M.Torkelson) and in 1981, history (M.Ensley) were added to the accredited list.

Therefore, Dr. Harvey's accreditation in calculus in 1973 was the beginning of Western's growth as an accredited liberal arts institution. Dr. Harvey is also the first teacher at Western with a Ph.D. degree (received from Montana State University).

John Harvey and his wife Carol with their three children, Janna, John J. and Jamie moved to North Weyburn during the summer of 1972 from Byron, Wyoming, where he had been employed as a teacher. In addition to teaching mathematics at Western, John with the aid of his wife was supervisor of Hanes Hall last year. He also assisted in the business office during his first year at Western.

Sandra Whitehead Ensley a graduate of David Lipscomb College, Nashville, organized Western's first band in the fall of 1973, with 17 students: Paul Brazle, Willy Chidowe, Brenda Goodwin, Roberta Goud, Norman Hope, Miriam Husband, Shelley Jacobs, Sherry Kleppe, Dick Lindell, Sarah Nixon, Marjorie Olson, Wilfred Olson, Walter Orr, Ian Rich, Robin Shook, Eddie Willett, and Lyonell Young. The first concert, on November 31, was at a home basketball game. The selections included "O Canada" and "Men of Harlech."

The students with their walk-a-thon, together with the Women's Service Club, raised almost $2,000 to match a Saskatchewan government grant to purchase a tenor saxophone, the French horn, euphonium, bass, timpani and bass drum. Chapters of alumni and Women's Service Club also donated instruments.

The band gained credit status during its second year. It has participated in the Weyburn Music Festival annually since 1976. The band holds several concerts during the year, besides playing on lectureship weekend, at homecoming and at youth rally. In the fall of 1982, Sandra formed a smaller group called the Jazz Ensemble, which is popular. Sandra has directed the band each year since 1973, except when she had a year's leave of absence to work on her Master's degree in music education from the University of Brandon.

In September 1973, Roland Olson introduced art classes in high school. He taught drawing, photography, pottery, calligraphy, macramè and batik. Later, oil painting, water colour and art history were added.

The art classes were well received by the students. When they were added to Western's curriculum, I was delighted. The classes gave an added interest for students who are neither sports-minded nor music-minded.

One afternoon I asked Gail Li how she planned to spend a certain half-day holiday, and she replied with a gay lilt in her voice, "I'm going to spend all afternoon in the art room!"

The first art room was the very inadequate, dilapidated workshop behind Morgan Cafeteria. There is good running water in this superior fine arts building. Roland Olson is kept running to the cafeteria for water! The Sinclair Vocational Arts building was a very welcome change for both teacher and students when the art classes moved there in 1980. One student said that the new art room was larger and better equipped than the one in a Regina collegiate where he had attended previously. In 1979, Roland Olson added short courses in art history to each grade. The art history was relevant to the world history that each grade studied:
Grade 10: Ancient Greek - Roman - Early Christian Byzantine - Renaissance
Grade 11: Baroque through modern European art
Grade 12: Canadian art

My slides were used and in the first two years I taught the high school art history, but since then Roland Olson has taught the classes.

During the summer of 1973, I attended the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation Professional Exchange Seminar in Saskatoon. Afterwards I was considered as fully accredited in grade 12 history. That meant that I would compose the final examination for my students in that subject as well as have the privilege of marking the examinations myself!

In 1969, the department of education had changed the evaluation system for grade 12. There was to be partial accreditation for all teachers of all grade 12 subjects in which the department-prepared, machine-scored examinations were given; teachers assigned 50 percent of the student's final mark and the department assigned 50 percent.

This type of examination (machine-scored) seemed to be suitable for my mathematics classes, but my students in history did not fare so well as they had when the examination had been partly essay type. That is why I attended the Professional Exchange Seminar in 1973, to gain full accreditation. The results benefited the students, but by 1977, I had become so tired of correcting grade 12 final examinations that I quit teaching history! No faculty member has since used his full accreditation status.

Another "first" for this school year (1973-74) is the Youth Rally on May 24, 25, 26. Because it is the first Youth Rally at the college, I shall describe it in considerable detail.

Under the direction of J.C.Murray, the student council organized this rally to replace the Prospective Students' Day that had been in existence for several years.

The song leader for the rally was Gary Mabry from Abilene, Texas. He had recently written "Blue Skies and Rainbows." The keynote speaker was Doug Kostowski of Inglewood, California.

Friday night was devoted to registration, devotionals, singing groups and discussion.

On Saturday there were three main talks, ("What I Believe," "Why I Believe," "How to Share What I Believe"), a band concert, introduction of faculty, and a singing group.

Then Saturday evening the musical "Oliver," directed by junior college student, Paul Brazle was presented. The musical was followed by a bonfire and devotional near The Rock.

After church service Sunday morning, the guests left for home.

The first youth rally was voted a decided success. Because a successful event advertises itself, attendance at the youth rallies increased throughout the years. Van loads of young people would come from as far away as Vancouver. Many alumni attended so that youth rally became almost a second homecoming. Joining lectureship, homecoming, and graduation, the event became the fourth large annual gathering held at Western.

"Oliver" was Western's first musical. Presenting the musical at youth rally became an annual event. The musicals (The Sound of Music, Brigadoon, Oklahoma, The King and I, etc.) have probably been the big drawing card for adults to attend the youth rally. They have been time-consuming projects but also excellent projects for developing cooperation and leader ship skills. Marge Roberts and J.C.Murray have been the chief staff members involved with the musicals.

To present a school musical was the dream of students Paul Brazle, Peter Brazle and Doug Ashby. When they first ventured to suggest the project to administrative personnel, they were denied permission. It is likely that the faculty concerned, considered that they were already overburdened with work without adding another task, and furthermore that the presentation of a full length musical was too immense a project for a school of such limited enrollment as Western. Finally, after persuasive arguments, the boys were allowed to proceed if they could persuade a staff member to assist them. After hearing their plans, J.C.Murray agreed to help. J.C.says, "Actually the boys basically did the first musical themselves."

You will note that the staff member at Western assisted the student director rather than the student being the assistant as would have been the case in most collegiates. In this way the musical production at Western has been unique.

After 44 years of teaching, I officially retired from full-time teaching at the end of June, 1974. For another eight years I continued part-time teaching, Canadian history for three years and art history until December, 1982. At that time, the art history course was being changed drastically at the university and I was not qualified to teach the new course.

It was a lucky stroke for me to get into the art history field in the first place. Jim Pennington had been the college art appreciation teacher. When he went to Abilene in 1971, to work on his Master of Divinity degree, I asked to teach the subject. The surprising answer was a simple, "Yes." I did not have a good background for teaching a college-level art appreciation course. My chief qualification was a deep, lifelong interest in the subject. However, that year started 10 of the most interesting years of teaching and study in my life. During those years, I enlarged Western's art history and appreciation library and developed my own library. I studied two art history university courses at Vancouver and Regina and expanded my slide collection of art masterpieces to number over 1,000. Former students travelling in Europe assisted me greatly in that hobby.

Still, I did officially retire from full-time teaching in June 1974!

1974 - 1975

Enrollment: 134 - 1st semester, 140 - 2nd semester
Graduating Class: 55
Budget: $349,250
(There are 39 students attending Western this year who are sons and daughters of alumni.)

At its March, 1974 meeting, the board of directors announced that Glen Dods has been appointed president of the college. He is to commence duties August 1. Glen Dods is the third president of the college since its organization in 1945.

Glen Dods was born in Kincaid, Saskatchewan, in 1937. After high school, he held several positions of sales and management in the business world. In 1961, he entered Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee, to study for the ministry. From 1963-68, the Dods family worked with the church in Dauphin, Manitoba.

In July 1968, the Dods moved to Edmonton where Glen preached until moving to Weyburn in August of this year. During his Edmonton years, Glen took a 10 month leave of absence to attend Oklahoma Christian College.

Glen and his wife Gwen have four children, Danny, Tim, Jacki and Janet. Danny (grade 10) and Tim (grade 9) are students at Western Christian College.

After living three years in Eastland, Texas, the Jim Pennington family has returned to Canada. Besides completing his studies for his Master of Divinity degree at Abilene Christian College, Mr. Pennington preached at Eastland during his years of absence. At Western he will be chairman of the Bible department.

After a year's absence, the Wieb family returned to Western where Dan Wieb has become a full-time teacher.

Lectureship was unique this year as all the main speakers and teachers were alumni. Here is a list in order of their appearance on the program: Ray McMillan '58 of Kennedy, Saskatchewan; Walter Straker '53 of Bozeman, Montana; John C. Bailey '53 of Hurst, Texas; Elvin Meakes '68 of Memphis, Tennessee; Verner Ulrich '61 of Garland, Texas; Lynn Anderson '55 of Abilene, Texas, and Betty Roemer '40 returned missionary from Germany and Austria.

President Dods reorganized the administration this fall. David Lidbury was appointed dean of the college. He will be responsible for all operations that affect the lives and activities of the students. In addition, he is responsible for the entire operation of the college when President Dods is absent. Under Dean Lidbury's direction, James Willett will serve as Chairman of Student Affairs and Jim Pennington as Chairman of the Bible Department.

The board of directors has decided to restrict the number of overseas students to approximately 10 percent of the total enrollment. The board has also levied a per semester ($270) surcharge upon overseas students. The main argument in favour of such action is that operational expenses are paid partly by donations from Canadians and Americans but there are no donations from other foreign countries and the college is going into debt. I think that it is unwise to have such a surcharge because it may be construed as a form of racial discrimination when the overseas students are all from one area, as at present.

A radical change in the supervision of the Bible department occurred this fall. The Board of Directors of Western Christian College asked the elders of the Weyburn church to oversee the Bible teaching of the college. Since that time the elders have assumed responsibility for staff, financing and curriculum of all Bible classes.

While attending Memphis School of Preaching, Ernest Andreas visited many congregations in Tennessee and persuaded them to assist financially with the Bible teaching at Western. For a number of years now (1989), Jim Pennington travelled each year through Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Oklahoma or Texas to report to congregations that assisted the Bible program financially.

In the college Bible department (in 1974) when the elders of the Weyburn church assumed control, there was a two-year program including speech, New Testament Greek and textual studies. High school students have a daily Bible class. The high school students take six Bible classes each year. A Bible quiz is given at the beginning of the school year to determine which courses they should take.

Western students have always been interested in sports. Because it is a residential school, the students need organized activities to keep them healthy, both physically and mentally. Thus, the intercollegiate team sports of basketball, volleyball, and hockey (inter town) have been played for many years.

However, there was one important sporting event in the spring of 1975 that was not connected with either intercollegiate or intramural sports. It certainly was a unique event in the sporting history of the college. It was the Leapfrogging Marathon.

Fourteen boys set a new world record (lost within a month) when they leapfrogged for 110 miles from Weyburn to Regina and back to Milestone. Their feat has been described in the daily papers of the province and even on the national television news. The leapfroggers were George Fowler, Glen Elford, David Jacobs, Brian Olson, Kerry Roberts, Kim Straker, Nobu Suzuki, Allan Wieb, David Sigle, Danny Goud, Willy Chidowe, David Pennington, Lyn Meter, Ken Heywood and Duncan Perry (helper). Rick Davies was the driver of the van that went with the leapfroggers. George Fowler and Brian 0lson were the head frogs, meaning that they organized the sporting activity.

The motto of the leapfroggers was "One small leap for man, one giant hop for frog kind!!"

Published in The Old Paths Archive (

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