A GOLDEN JUBILEE AT CAIRO SCHOOL - 1922

Three Hundred Former Teachers and Pupils Took in the Event.

The celebration of the golden jubilee of a rural school is an event unique in the history of such institutions in this part of the country at least, and seldom heard of in any section of the Province, but “Cairo” School carried such an occasion to a most successful issue on Thursday, Aug. 24th, when, from far and near, about 300 former teachers, pupils and ex-pupils, with their friends, gathered in the grounds of this fifty year old red brick schoolhouse, erected, as its name-plate signifies, in 1872. Invitations had been sent out two weeks in advance, and a reception committee made all guests warmly welcome immediately upon their arrival. Fortunately the rain clouds which had threatened all morning cleared away about noon, and a genial enthusiasm prevailed as, with happy babel of voices, old neighbours were seen and recognized, and former pupils, now grown up and with children of their own accompanying them, greeted teachers who had imparted instruction to their young minds “in days of yore.” At least three generations of the student life were represented, from white-haired grandfathers and grandmothers, to the small boys and girls who form the present-day pupils. Miss Helen Waterman, whose home is in the immediate vicinity, being the teacher now in charge.

Cairo School belongs to two sections, No. 9, Cavan, and No 4, North Monaghan, and tradition asserts that it received its name from the fact that some of the early settlers, who were all good North of Ireland stock, “the royal stock of Canada” as one speaker expressed it, once came into this part of the country to buy corn, thereafter calling it “Egypt” (having Biblical knowledge in mind), and its academy of learning, “Cairo,” after the capital of that Eastern land. The school is situated about mid-way between Fraserville and Springville, on the Provincial highway, and has at the present time 42 pupils’ names on the roll—an unusually large list for a rural section.

Former teachers who were present and gave brief reminiscent addresses were: John M. Roszel, of Fort Frances (1,100 miles distant); T.A. Mills of Bobcaygeon; Douglas D. Barton, of Enniskillen; Miss A. M. Vance, of Millbrook, and Miss C. E. Cruikshanks, of Peterbourough (the last two named asked to be excused from speaking), while the ex-pupils included: Rev. G. M. McCall, of Brockville; Messrs. Fred. And Will Preston, of Midland; Thos. Hunter, of Springville; Rev. R. M. Paterson, of Fraserville, acted as chairman, and Mr. F. Clarke gave the address of welcome, the pupils of the school singing “O Canada” during the programme. Rev. G. I. Craw, of Springville, made the concluding remarks, emphasizing the place and importance of the school in the community.

With their usual whole-hearted hospitality, the ladies of the section served a bountiful picnic tea, and afterwards races for the younger element were run off in a nearby field, though the fast gathering darkness prevented the juniors having their intended ball game, nor could the tug-of-war between Cavan and Monaghan be brought to a decisive issue.

An unusually interesting event during the afternoon was the reading of a historical sketch of Cairo School by Edgar H. Finlay, an ex-pupil now of Kansas City, Mo., giving important facts and dates since the time of its erection in the summer of 1872, the pleasing manners in which the sketch was delivered adding greatly to its effectiveness. Mr. Finlay stated that “in periods varying from a few months to one, two, three and four years, a long list of teachers have helped to lay the foundations of education (and incidentally of Empire), at Cairo. In approximate succession came the following: Johnston, Armstrong, Sanderson, Britton, McKague, Troop, Robertson, Strike, Miss Strike, Miss Vance, Miss Howson, Hawkins, Mills, Foley, Breckenridge, Gilmore, Roszel, Miss R. Fair, Miss Rutherford, Miss Walsh, Miss Weatheritt, Mr. Barton, Miss Waterman. This school has given to the world ministers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and farmers, many of whom have attained prominence in their chosen professions, and is not without representation on “Flanders’ Fields,” since two of its pupils, Bert Elliott and Bruce Fisher, paid the supreme sacrifice during the Great War.

The trustees of the school, which is in excellent state of preservation, had its interior handsomely redecorated for the occasion, while the flag flying at top-mast, flowers blooming, etc., add in its outdoor attractiveness. Mr. G. Bennett, now of Buckhorn, who, as a young man, had assisted his father in the erection of the building, was present, and received many compliments on the splendid workmanship in connection therewith, the passing years having proved its enduring qualities. General regret was expressed because Rev. Harvey Strike, of Ottawa, an ex-teacher, was unable to be in attendance, the older folk agreeing in their opinion that “Mr. Strike was the most popular teacher Cairo School had ever possessed.” A letter was read from Mr. Strike, stating his great disappointment that circumstances prevented his acceptance of the invitation to be present.

Much credit for the success of the golden jubilee is due to Mr. Fred. Clarke; with whom the idea originated, to Mr. W. Waterman, and others of the trustees who cheerfully assumed the arduous labours connected with it, and who certainly spared no pains to make the occasion one that will long remain a pleasant memory with those who were privileged to attend the re-gathering.

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