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History Of Coronation Public School

Coronation School, built in 1953, was appropriately named by the Board of Education in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in June of that year.

It was designed by Architect J. D. Kyles of Hamilton and built on a four and one quarter acre site which was purchased from Mr. E. G. Langs. The original one storey building consisting of five classrooms, a kindergarten, a principal’s office, a combination teacher’s room, nurses’ room and kitchen, an auditorium and necessary washrooms was built by Hamill Construction of Galt for $148,000.

On November 12, 1953 Coronation Public School on Concession Road was officially dedicated at the opening ceremonies held in the auditorium of the new school. Parents of the children and members representing various municipal bodies taxed the new auditorium to its capacity. The Rev. H.G. Cleghorn, of Knox Presbyterian Church, representing the Preston Clergy, performed the invocation and dedication. Chairman Sydney Freeman on be half of the Board of Education welcomed the guests. E.H. Drage chairman of the building committee was given able assistance by other board members, Wm. Blake, Mrs. A. Sullivan, Leslie Hird, Robin Shantz, Robert McCormack, and secretary-treasurer, Mrs. E.K. Wilkens. Representing the town of Preston Mayor Ford I. Wilson, in congratulating the Board of Education and the contractor said, ” We have come a long way since the days of the old school house”. Mr. R.M. Myers, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Waterloo South appropriately stated, ” We perhaps tend to think of school as only a place to learn but the future of Canada really depends on what knowledge the children acquire at school”.

Mr. J.D. Hynes inspector of elementary schools in South Waterloo, made the introduction of the guest speaker Mr. G.L. Duffin assistant superintendent of elementary education. As a basic theme for his address Mr. Duffin chose an excerpt from the book of Genesis. He also stated that the school would have to cooperate with the church and that through these two powerful mediums many of the good traits are brought forth.

Marshall McCorquodale, Principal of both Central and Coronation schools introduced the staff of the new school. They were Whilla Small, Mrs. Margaret Finlayson, Mrs. Mary Schiedel, Miss Joyce Brethour, Miss Mildred Hughes, Mr. J.C. Isaac, vice-principal and Mr. Wm. Ferguson custodian. Members of the Board of Education and the teaching staff welcomed the public to an open house on the following Sunday afternoon, November 15.

Five years later another building program was launched by the Preston Board of Education. Under the able leadership of the Building Committee, Chairman Dr. H.A. Borden, a six room addition was completed and put in use in September 1959. Designed by Kyles and Kyles of Hamilton the $108,00 addition, which included a teacher’s room, supply room, and six classrooms was built by the Schiedel Construction Company of Hespeler. Other board members rendering assistance to Dr. Borden in this building project included Chairman Robin Shantz, Robert McCormack, Sydeney Freeman, Mrs. Wm. Bergman, Rev. A. Vair, Harold Schultz and Secretary-Treasurer Mrs. E. K. Wilkens. A similar programme of dedication to the original opening described earlier in this article took place with Mr. Ian Snider, the mayor of Preston participating. Others included in the Invocation and Dedication were Rev. W.H. McWhinnie, Mr. Robin Shantz, Mr. Roy J.Steckley (Principal), Mr. E Bartley (Supervisor of Music), Dr. Borden, Mr. C. Cornwell (Inspector of Public schools), and Mr. J.C. Wilker.

Our school colours, red, white, and blue, were chosen when our parent-teacher association sponsored a crest competition. David Craven a university student, now living in Toronto, was winner of this event. Mr. Joe Hauser, a parent and a skilled craftsman in many fields, reproduced a large crest which today hangs in the auditorium.

Mr. Roy Steckley continued as principal of Coronation School until June of 1968, when he was appointed principal of the new Wm. G. Davis Sr. Public School on Langs Drive. He was replaced by Gerald Steinman who had previously been the principal of Grand View School. At this time, Coronation became a K-6 school since the pupils in Grades 7 and 8 moved to Wm. G. Davis.

With rapid development in the area east of the school, the enrolment increased rapidly so that by September 1970, the grade 6 pupils had also been transferred to Wm. G. Davis. One portable classroom was added in September of 1970 with a second being moved in during the middle of November of 1970. The following year a third portable was added.

In September 1973 the last addition to Coronation School was opened. This addition was designed by architect Ludwig Gindle and consisted of five classrooms, in a pod formation, an additional kindergarten room, office, and gymnasium. Many changes were made at this time to the interior of the building including the changing of the playroom to a library, the outfitting of the new staff room and the incorporation of a courtyard. This addition was constructed at a cost of $418,300 and built by Newtown Construction Company of Toronto. In 1981 Mr. Paul Class joined us as principal, and was principal of Coronation School for 4 years. In 1984 the grade 6 pupils rejoined us from Wm. G. Davis. It was in the next few years that Coronation’s enrolment rose to 447 with classes from K-6, and a staff of 16 teachers, 3 aides and consultants from the Waterloo County Board. The principal at that time was Mr. N. From who came to us from Highland Public School.