St. John Bosco celebrating 50 years

BARRY’S BAY – From chalkboards and rotary telephones to smart boards and iPads, St. John Bosco Catholic School has seen a lot of change in 50 years.

This year, the elementary school, located at the end of Peter Street, is celebrating 50 years in the community. Construction to the original section of the school (the gymnasium wing) began in July 1964. It contained seven classrooms, a general purpose room, gymnasium, small library, teachers’ room and principal’s office.

The school was dedicated to St. John Bosco, patron saint of youth.

Garnet and gold, the alma mater of Regiopolis College, Kingston, of which the school’s first principal (Bronis Glofcheskie) was a graduate, became the school colours.

In 1965, the school opened and accommodated Grades 1-6 and 9-10. Founding teachers included Greta Bloskie (Grade 1), RoseMarie Trader (Grade 2), Elizabeth Shalla (Grade 3), Veronica Kelly (Grade 4), Mercedes Conway (Grade 5), Lucy Vitkuski (Grade 6), and Bronis Glofcheskie (Grade 9 and 10).

According to Theresa Prince, local historian and retired St. John Bosco teacher, Grades 9-10 were transferred from Bosco to the newly built Madawaska Valley District High School in 1967. All students in Grades 7 and 8 attended rotary classes at St. Mary’s (Red School), while St. John Bosco School held classes for a total of 230 students in Grades 1 to 6.

In 1969, the local school boards were phased out and became amalgamated under the Renfrew County Roman Catholic Separate School Board (now Renfrew County Catholic District School Board) whose head office was and still is located in Pembroke. 

Get your September 16, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.