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March 25, 2017

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The Sou'wester

A century of education at Earl Grey School

Earl Grey School rings in 100 years

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/4/2015 (710 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The formative years of thousands of students have been shaped within the walls of Earl Grey School since it opened in September 1915.

The century-old school claims a number of notable alumni including musicians Neil Young and Joey Gregorash and communications theorist Marshall McLuhan. Even the school’s name carries historical significance.

Earl Grey School will be marking its centennial with a wine and cheese evening on Fri., May 15, 7 to 10 p.m. and a dinner and dance on Sat., May 16 at 6:30 p.m. Both events take place at TYC Event Centre, Canad Inns Polo Park (1405 St. Matthews Ave.).

DANIELLE DA SILVA - SOU'WESTER

Earl Grey School will be marking its centennial with a wine and cheese evening on Fri., May 15, 7 to 10 p.m. and a dinner and dance on Sat., May 16 at 6:30 p.m. Both events take place at TYC Event Centre, Canad Inns Polo Park (1405 St. Matthews Ave.).

Named after Lord Earl Grey, the Governor General of Canada between 1904 and 1911, Earl Grey School has the same pedigree as the Canadian Football League’s coveted Grey Cup.

Among Earl Grey’s alumni is prominent Winnipeg criminal lawyer Greg Brodsky. In over 50 years of practising law, Brodsky has litigated over 700 homicide cases — a record-setting number in North America.

According to Brodsky, the environment at the junior high school during the late ’50s supported his drive for success that carried into his adult life.    

"My personality type is such that I try to achieve in whatever I do," Brodsky, 70, said.  

"At Earl Grey it was the idea that if you worked together you are going to achieve. I felt that I could just achieve at anything that I put my mind to," the Tuxedo resident added.

The storied school is also home to bits of Winnipeg history, dating back as far as First World War.

"If you go inside you can see the names of people who have come through this school, and you see the names of (First World War and Second World War) veterans, and those who have died in the wars,"  Darryl Balasko, Earl Grey alumnus and parent council chair said.

"I think it’s really incredible given the history of Earl Grey and it’s something that I continue to learn."

Much has changed in the Fort Rouge neighbourhood over the past 100 years though the school has remained a landmark in the community. More recently, the community is considering what the future holds for Earl Grey with a growing student population, increased junior high enrolment and a proposed school swap with École La Verendrye.

"We’re in the midst of talking about the future of the school, and to see how the school has evolved and is leaving a legacy in the neighbourhood," Balasko said.

"I am really proud of the community that’s here because, until something like (the school swap) comes forward, you wonder how much community there is, but I am really proud of this Earl Grey community coming together and showing how proud they are of the school."

According to principal Gail Singer, who has headed the school for 30 years, Earl Grey has experienced a number of transition periods.

"We’ve had a lot of different programs, so for example we’ve had an all-girls and an all-boys (junior high) class, and we’re starting that again next year," Singer said.

The school has also changed in terms of tools used in classrooms. Where chalkboards, pens and paper were the main method of instruction, students now use iPads for their learning.

"I’ve seen a lot of technology changes and we’ve been able to integrate technology into the curriculum really well," Singer added.

As part of the centennial celebrations, alumni and friends of Earl Grey School are invited to reunion events on May long weekend. It will be a chance for people to reconnect and reflect on time spent at Earl Grey — something that Brodsky and others already do regularly.

"One of my secrets is that I drive by the place from time to time just to remind myself of where I came from," Brodsky said, "And to see that it is still standing as strong and as sturdy as it did before."

Facebook.com/TheSouwesterWPG
Twitter: @SouwesterWPG

Read more by Danielle Da Silva.

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