The history of schools in our area is fascinating. The establishment of schools in the homesteading days followed a particular pattern where schools were established. In each township, sections 11 and 29 were set aside as school sections although the schools were not necessarily built on school land.
There were 10 country schools in the vicinity of Donalda: Buena Vista, Centennial, Ibsen, Norbo, Poplar Grove, Science Mound, Skybo, Spruce Coulee, Up-to-Date and Willow Park.
The earliest school in the Donalda area was Willow Park built in 1904. It stood near Wessington Post Office. The Norbo School District was organized in 1905. In 1918 it was moved and finally dismantled in 1949. The Spruce Coulee District was organized in 1905 and closed in 1955. The Poplar School was formed in 1906 but closed in 1917. The school building was later moved to Donalda which required skidding the building. The Science Mound School (named for a hill of red shale nearby) was built in 1906. During the early years, it was also used for church services.
The Buena Vista School (a name meaning beautiful view) was built in 1908. The Skybo School was also opened in 1908. The Ibsen school was built in 1910. The uniquely named Up-to- Date School was built with lumber hauled from Stettler.
Centennial School, which opened in 1919 east of Donalda, was the last of the country schools to be built in the Donalda district. In 1949 when the Norbo School was torn down, the Centennial School was moved there.
In 1911, the Donalda School District was formed. Classes were first held in a house, then a vacant store, and by 1913 a two-room school with 38 children was built where the present elementary school is located. Poplar Grove and Seven Nations School District (which did not build a school) combined with Donalda in 1918 to form the Donalda Consolidated School. There were 101 students who attended by that time.
More on the history of schools in another article.
The Donalda and District Agricultural Society is hosting its annual fall supper Saturday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. A family movie is shown at 6:30, free with the meal.
The popular COW BUS, “Classroom on Wheels,” is coming to the Donalda Public Library on Nov. 7 from 10:30 to 12 noon. Families with children up to six years of age are encouraged to participate. There will be an interactive literacy centre on the bus.
Birthday greetings this week go to Amanda Holden, Charlee Grace Erickson, Jason Gebhardt, Dorie Jones, Annalise Sideritsch, Maureen Rider, Jennifer Charles, Marites Reyes, Lindsay Tantrum and Jason Bauer. Best birthday wishes to anyone we missed!