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Students outside of Simonin School.

In May, 1910, the Arctic School in St. Vincent opened its doors to the blossoming community. From his modest classroom, the town’s first schoolteacher, Ernest Chartrand, taught children in grades five through eight. As in other Franco-Albertan communities, schools in St. Vincent struggled to find bilingual teachers. To meet a growing demand for teachers, the parish priest, Father Okhuysen obtained permission from his bishop to obtain a teaching order for the parish. In 1929, three nuns from the Sisters of Assumption religious order left Wetaskawin to provide religious and French instruction at St.Vincent. Later in an attempt to encourage better attendance, since many children had to travel a great distance from surrounding farmland to attend class, a dormitory was built. It was occupied from 1949 to 1955.

Arctic School class of 1928-1929.

There were other small schools in operation at the same time as the Arctic school. Lake St. Vincent, or Simonin School, was opened in 1909 and remained in operation until 1955. Likewise, known since 1941 as Mallaig School, the Grassy Island School opened in 1920. By the 1930s, there were more than 40 students enrolled in the school. Old Thérien School also took on students from 1910 until its closure in 1949.

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