St. Jones Within Elementary

Reprinted from the August 1992 issue of The Informer, published by Southwest Arm Regional Development Association.


St. Jones Within Elementary School by Marilyn Bishop

As of June 18, 1992 the last pupil left the St. Jones Within School and the door to the school that served the community for approximately forty-four years was permanently closed. Many years ago the school was located on Squires’ land across the road from the Government Wharf. This building was moved and placed on land on the upper side of the road from the present school in May, 1942.

The building of the new two-room school was started on November 16, 1943. Most of the work was done by free labour. Many of the men from the community worked on the building. The names of some of these men were Silas Tucker, George Miller, Allan Tucker, Eli Tucker, Ches Brown, Boyd King, William Hillyard, Elijah Hillyard, William Robbins, Hayward Tucker, Adam Rodgers, Samuel Holloway, Hezekiah Miller, Isaac Holloway, William Butt, David Benson, Wilson Price, William John King, Guy King, Albert Benson, William King, and E.J. Robins.

In April, 1994 William Hillyard was appointed foreman on the school building. He agreed to work two days free labour, then he would receive forty cents/hour for work on the foundation of the building. He would then receive fifty cents/hour for work on other parts of the building.

In April, 1945 Mr. Hezekiah Miller became foreman with Mr. Eli John Robbins, Mr. William Hillyard and Mr. Allan Tucker as sub-foreman. Each foreman had eleven men under him with one group working one day and another group working the next.

The first room of the new school was open in September 1948 and the second was opened September 25, 1950 by Mr. Heber Elliot. The first public affair held in the school was a polling station in 1948 and the first public meeting was held by Hon. S. J. Hefferton in 1949. The school was also rented for movies or shows in the early days.

There were many teachers who taught in the school over the years. Some of their names were Dorothy Avery, Miss Abbott, Miss Noel, May Sterge, Clarence Toope, Elsie Greeley, Miss Bridal, Heber Elliott, Bert Swain, Hazel Marsh, Sadie Howell, Anita Vey, Alma Legge, Annie Robbins, Ray Robbins, Sharon Robbins, Clayton Halfyard, Wilfred Button, Geneva Tucker, Clarice Tucker, Bruce Morris, Iris White, Mr. Dalton, Susie Whalen, Minnie Robbins, Neil Pelley, Arlette Slade, Mr. Freake, Raymond Bailey, Barbara Baker, Mr. Badcock, Ron Robbins, Marie Loder, Debbie Price, Vivian March, and Marilyn Bishop.

For many years the school was used as a two-room school teaching Grades Kindergarten to Eleven. Finally it became a one-room school with pupils from Kindergarten to Grade Six. The remaining pupils attended school in Clarenville from Grade Seven to Eleven. Approximately four years ago the number of grades taught at St. Jones Within became Kindergarten to Grade Three.

Most people were very sad to see the school close but because of the decline in enrollment over the past few years, we think we are lucky to have a school open in the community as long as it was. It is often said that pupils that attend a multi-grade school do not get as good an education as pupils in larger schools but I think that the pupils who attended the St. Jones Within school got a pretty good education because most of them went on to university or trade school and became nurses, teachers, or obtained jobs that will give them a bright future to look forward to.

The main aspect of the school that will be missed by pupils is the happy family atmosphere that was apparent to everyone that visited the classroom. The pupils could not wait to get to school in the morning and hated to leave in the afternoon. They had many events to look forward to during the year: a few field trips, a Christmas concert, their graduation and the fun of their annual school trip at the end of the year.

I would like to thank the people of St. Jones Within for the information they contributed about the building of the school and the names of the teachers. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Tucker, Mrs. Sandra Tuck, Mr. Allan Tucker, Mrs. Isaac Holloway, Mr. Gilbert King, Mrs. Emily Robbins, and Mr. George Brown.