Memories of Patricia Elementary School

Patricia Elementary School, by Betty Lou Chell 

In 1951-52, I was teaching at Patricia School, located on the busy Bellingham Highway (264). It was a one-room school which meant that if the children were outside at recess or lunch time, I had to be there too to keep a very watchful eye on them and the road. This was long before the days of paid supervision, and one was expected to be on duty from 8:30am to 3:30pm. I was concerned about the road, and being a brash young teacher and possibly unaware of correct protocol, I decided that something had to be done. The most direct route seemed to be to contact Harold Stafford, the Superintendent, and Vern Mercer, the Secretary Treasurer of the District. I phoned each of them every day for a week. They became so fed up with my calls that they decided to pay a visit. 

The circumstances couldn't have been better if I had orchestrated them. When they arrived, there was such a flow of traffic coming up from the border that they had to wait five minutes before being able to turn into the school yard. The next week a fence was built. If one wanted to have something like that done today, there would be committees struck, feasibility studies ordered, budgets consulted, and maybe a fence within five years. 

Patricia School, regarding Ailie Caldwell 

Ailie Caldwell taught at Patricia from 1954 until 1956. After she found commuting to Vancouver every weekend too wearing and the costs of renting at the Blue Star Motel too expensive, Ailie and her three children received permission from the School Board to place an 18-foot travel trailer near the windows on the south side of Patricia School. Their trailer was close enough to run an extension cord for electricity, and the school outhouse andhand pump served the family's other needs. 

The three girls attended local schools until Ailie had to move to Alberta to be close to her dying mother. When they returned in 1962, the girls attended Aldergrove Secondary. 

Ailie taught at Willoughby and Aldergrove Elementary, completed her Master's degree at Western Washington, taught Kindergarten, worked at Trinity Western, was on the steering committee for the creation of the Langley Fundamental School, and taught at Langley Central until she retired in 1981. 

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