A Webster Lion Pride spring tea and market will give a nod to the past as the Warfield elementary school turns 70.
Although the first day of class in the Warfield grade school was actually a week later in April 1949, two events today are highlighting this milestone year for what is now, both a learning centre and community hub.
“Webster PAC is hosting a community tea and fundraising market,” says Rachel Jansen. “We are raising funds to support the purchase of re-usable classroom supplies such as scissors, rulers, and pencil boxes, to reduce overall costs for families at the start of each new school year.
“Webster is turning 70 this year, so there will be items from the past on display as well.”
The tea will run from noon until 2 p.m. and a market/silent auction fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Both events will be set up in the school gym, with admission by donation. Proceeds will go to the Supplying Our Pride initiative.
To mark this special anniversary, the school hung a banner announcing the start of its septuagenarian years to the immediate community and to everyone who passes by the Schofield Highway locale.
On the banner is Leo, the official school mascot since 1978.
Leo’s creator was Grade 4 student Julie Truant. These days she’s Julie Aitken, a well-known high school teacher, who lives and works locally.
“I clearly remember the contest,” Aitken said. “Grades 4 to 7 were given the opportunity in class time to create and enter a logo. This makes me laugh whenever I see it: definitely created by a child, complete with youthful artistic imperfections!”
She doesn’t recall if there was a prize for Leo’s design, but does remember being asked to go to the front of the gym during an assembly to receive a certificate of sorts.
“I seem to end up being given mugs, ball caps and t-shirts, with my logo on it, all the time,” Aitken said. “As enough locals know that I drew that little lion. [And] my grandgirls think it’s pretty cool.”
The Kootenay Columbia Heritage Society, a group of retired professionals dedicated to preserving the region’s educational legacy, has amassed some information on how Webster Elementary came to be.
The first record of a school in Annable, now part of Warfield, was in 1912. It was a one-room wooden structure on Montcalm Road.
It had 18 pupils in its first year. It operated at this location until 1934 when a new and larger school for the area’s children was built on land donated by Joe and Mary Shutek on the highway from Trail to Rossland near Bingay Road. This school had two rooms and was also named Annable School.
In April 1949, this school was replaced by James L. Webster Elementary School on property next door.
Annable School still stands and is used by School District No. 20 for its Trail area maintenance services. James L. Webster Elementary School was named after a former MLA. This school remains in use and serves Warfield, Rivervale, Oasis, Genelle, Tadanac and West Trail.