Some school history in Botha

Boy, it’s hard to believe we are almost at the end of August already, with school happening again in a couple of weeks.

Boy, it’s hard to believe we are almost at the end of August already, with school happening again in a couple of weeks. Where did the summer go? Fall events will also be restarting soon, too, so please keep an eye open for these, and please talk to any member about the groups when they are going to start up for another year.

The Old-Time Dance Club will be starting up again in a little over a month. They will not be holding any more Friday night dances, at least for a while. But the first dance will be Sunday, Sept. 28, with the Midnight Pal Band entertaining. All Sunday afternoon dances start at 1:30 p.m., so make sure you keep this one in mind and plan around it, so you can attend it, please. If you would like more information on this coming year’s dance dates or upcoming bands, please contact Doug Haustein at 403-742-3994.

With people starting to think about fall cleaning, the Botha Transfer Site is open Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings for everyone’s convenience. Please call the village office for more information.

Bingo evening is Sept. 2 starting at 7:15 p.m. Doors are open at 6:30 p.m., so grab your dobbers and friends and come out for one great evening.

Let’s discuss schools in the Botha area for a while. When the school was first built, it was held over the hardware store or store building with all the grades being taught in the same room. Mr. Charles Kenny was the very first teacher in this area.

A student remembered attending school there and her teacher read the story “Knights of the Round Table” and also some scenes from “As you like it”, which was related to Shakespeare.

On November 25,1911, the Botha School district No 2601 was established and the decision was made to build a school building that was built with a design as a square bungalow type building.

The school opened in August 1912. At that time, they had three teachers, one of whom was Mr. Kenny. The school district borrowed $2,000 upon the security of the district after the school was built, for the purpose of purchasing a school site and erecting and equipping the school house. The naming of the school was left up to the residents of the area.

In 1919, some rural school districts joined together and formed as a Consolidated School Districts, and that was the year Botha joined.

On October 16, 1919, the school vans arrived for the area. There were five routes and each van was numbered. Mr. P. H. Thibaudeau of Stettler was appointed the official trustee of Botha then. In 1922, Mr. Steele was the principal, Mrs. Vic Armstrong taught the primary class and Miss MacLeod taught the intermediate class. That year, another room was added on and the rooms were still too crowded and at its capacity, so that students had to be turned away.

In 1922, for additional rooms that were needed, they used the church as a class room. Then a new school was built in 19450, and the original school was moved and put on a full sized basement and primary classes were held there, and in the new building other classes were taught.

As enrollment increased, the Grade 12 students were bussed to Red Deer to spend their week there, living in dorms and attending Thurber High School there. Fortunately in 1961, however, things changed again and the arrangements for all high school students were bussed to Stettler.

By 1972, the population had started declining to a point the small school was no longer needed. In 1986, this small building was purchased by the Botha Seniors and activities groups moved to the site of the old garage, across from the church and continues as the Botha Seniors’ Centre to this day.

Further changes took place in 1988, when the County of Stettler decided to amalgamate the Botha and Gadsby schools. Grade ones to grade fives attended in Botha while the grade sixes to grade nines attended Gadsby. Also, the government stepped in and closed down some of the smaller schools, which included Gadsby, so the grade ones to grade fives attend in Botha and above Grade 5, all students now are bussed to Stettler.