Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Schools Days

I was talking with Aunt Agnes recently on the telephone, asking her endless questions about her school days.  She told me they attended the Shamrock School in Lakeview, Harbour Main.  My mother had also told me about the Shamrock School, I remember questioning my mother," It was really called the Shamrock School?" but living in a community of many Irish descendants,  it was a good choice for a school name. In Christianity, the Shamrock is a symbol recognizing the Holy Trinity. In Canada, education during this time, was denominational.

Aunt Agnes went on to tell me, of how the Shamrock School was a one-room school house for grades 1 thru 9.  The school was just down the road, up by the Cross, a 5-7 minute walk from Flynn's Hill. During the winter months, they walked through the cold snowy blizzards.  She remembers, the teacher allowing them to stand near the pot-belly stove to warm themselves and to dry their weather dampened clothing.   The children took turns bringing firewood and coal from home contributing to the schools heat supply source.  Occasionally, she states, they would stay home from school to help with duties around their house, like digging up potatoes for the winter.  She emphasised, that this did not happen very often, especially since their mother was a former teacher and their education was a priority. But at times, it was necessary.

Mary Costigan- Teacher at The Shamrock School
(woman on the Rt- in white dress)

To further their education, which was optional for grades 10-11 , the children in the community attended the Convent School operated by The Presentation Sisters in Chapels Cove.  My mother was one of the first to attend this "Commerical Course", which offered lessons in bookkeeping, typing and shorthand.  Aunt Agnes said, she attended the Convent School also, with the determination  of following her older sister, (my mother) to get a job just like she did on the U.S Navy Base Argentia.  She not only got a job on the base, but took my mother's position as secretary to the Supply and Fiscal Commander, when my mother left for New York. The skills taught at the Convent School were mostly utilized by young women.  Further education for young men was obtained by actual on the job training, learning from their fathers or men in that trade or moving to the city for additional schooling.

During his visit last year, Uncle Ray helped to identify the above photo, Aunt Agnes then confirmed that this was their teacher Mary Costigan.  The Flynn children attended the Shamrock School in the 1930's and 1940's.

The Flynn Children
Front Lt to Rt - Agnes, Rose, Ray
Back Middle - George
In my conversation with Aunt Agnes, she mentioned that she has a postcard of the Shamrock School, hearing this, I could not hold back my response," OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" we both laughed. She promised she would look for it and would send a copy when she found it,  Thanks Aunt Agnes.

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