From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

From The Scrap book

April 13, 1990

By Dr. Bill Randall

Harvey High School 

I write frequently about structures that once were, or may still be, significant to the History of Harvey. Today’s story is about a structure that was: Harvey Regional High School.

My first stop ever in Harvey was at this building. One of my “moon-lighting” adventures was promoting magazine subscription campaigns in the High Schools for Collier’s Publications. From previous acquaintances in Charlotte County, I knew the Principal, Warren Armstrong, so I phoned him to ask for an opportunity to speak to the Stu dent Body. He offered a Friday afternoon Assembly period, and I accepted, in the fall of 1953.

I was immediately impressed with the enthusiasm of the music the Student Body generated under the direction of their music teacher and pianist, Linda Little. In fact, I got so involved that I became a participant in their music program. From a salesman’s point of view, it was the perfect set-up. The kids were enthused and I was accepted along with the subscription sales project.

By some stroke of good luck I decided to divide the school into two competitive teams divided geographically by the rail road. So we had Out-The Road and Out To The River, a division which I have subsequently found to be a natural one in local competitiveness. 

I Believe Janice  Lister was the team captain for the Western Division and Marilyn Smith was the captain of the Eastern Division. The Western Division, of course, representing the area from the railroad track to Christie Ridge, and the Eastern division from the railroad tracks to the St. John River.

The sales program was immensely successful. My second visit to Harvey was to another assembly to present awards, at which time I was invited, well in advance, to be the guest speaker at the High School Graduation of 1954. Taking care of the pleasant contacts I had made in Harvey, I returned for a third time to solicit participants for a Dale Carnegie Course in Public Speaking which I was conducting in Fredericton. Some of the names I remember were Ed McLean, Bev Swan, Willie Craig, Herb Swan, and Ersel and Alton Corey.

In later years, there would be many others from the area who took the course, but of those named above, subsequently, Ben Swan, invited me to be a guest preacher at the Knox Presbyterian Church and Ed McLean invited me to be the guest preacher and the St. Andrew’s United Church. As a result of that visit to the Community I was invited to become the Minister of the St. Andrew’s United Church and came for that purpose in November of 1954.

I boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dow until the Manse was renovated and my family moved in after Christmas. Our three children graduated from the Harvey Regional High School, Carol in 1962, Donna in 1964 and Bill in 1968– so you can see that building, that was, is a significant part of my thirty-seven year association with Harvey.

To try to understand the historic background of the building of the School is a glimpse into the political and sociological struggles of the area. What is now a part of District 27 was once seventeen different schools, not one of which could provide graduation from Grade 11. If a student wished to go to High School that person would go either to McAdam or Fredericton, most often McAdam. They would leave Harvey by train Monday morning, board with a family in McAdam and return by train Friday evening.

Something better was wanted and the already Provincially conceived concept of Consolidation seemed to be the logical answer. Logical but not accept able to everyone. It pointed to ward centralized control, and this meant for many individuals, loss of prestige and loss of input into curriculum. The debates led to an eventual conclusion. Harvey children must have an opportunity to graduate from grade 11 in Harvey!

In 1945, a High School was conducted in the Taylor Hall for grades nine, ten and eleven. In 1945, the building of the new school was undertaken. Harry T. Swan, a local carpenter, began the work when the bids by outside construction tenders seemed too high in price. Mr. Swan soon concluded that he was not equipped to do the job properly and so there was a delay of several months until one of the earlier outside bidders, Ashley Colter, was eventually contracted and construction continued. This delay forced the 1947 High School year to be be gun again in Taylor Hall. During the Christmas break the move was made into the new school and their graduation was celebrated in the new auditorium.

A part of the consolidation program involved transportation and two school buses were involved. The Principal, J. W. Bedall went to Christie Ridge and collected students. Don Graham brought students in from the St. John River. Students from Cork came by train until the Crowley girl got her driver’s license and brought a car load from the area. Magaguadavic students met the bus at York Mills and Lake George and Magundy students came by sub-contract down the Lake Road.

One can only speculate the pressures and tensions coped with. In 1947, the first class graduated from grade 11. There were four of them—Grace Essensa, Muriel Grieve, Bryce Lister and Ethel Grieve. In 1980, the graduating class numbered 49, but the school Assembly Hall was considered unsafe, structurally, for such a large gathering and the graduation exercises were held in the Rec Centre. By November of 1980, a new school was ready and the last of the classes moved out.  The building was unceremoniously demolished in 1981. There were tears shed.

READERS NOTE: I have done my best to identify those present in the picture. Additions or correc tions will be appreciated.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

Recommended Reading

Interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Harvey region? Here are a few blog posts that might pique your interest: