|Home Ec Club. CLICK TO ENLARGE|
Graduating students in the Chapleau High School Communications and Business Procedures class of 1972 were exposed to many different machines while on their work experience program at businesses in Chapleau and elsewhere.
According to an article in 'Ad Astra', the school yearbook, following a tradition, graduating students were placed in area offices for work experience. "The theory followed was that there was no better teacher than experience."
Organized by teachers Ora Way-White and Margaret Rose Fortin, while the majority were placed in Chapleau some worked in Kormak, Sheppard and Morse, Island Lake and even Wawa.
"While in the their job situations, the students were exposed to many different machines, such as the postage meter, Xerox copier, Paymaster, Telex and the Addressograph, which they had not encountered previously," the article noted.
It added that several learned to operate "push button telephones" and to handle incoming and outgoing calls in a business-like manner.
However, the article did note that "the well known adding machines, the typewriter and the duplicator were in constant use". As I recall, the first computers arrived in CHS classrooms in the early 1980s, but Grade Nine students were still using manual computers, no electric ones for them, but that changed too of course.
The article added that as always co-operation from the business community was tremendous. With the introduction of the credit and semester system at CHS not all of the students were able to receive time off from the school to spend a full week in an office. The program was adapted to permit those students to work part-time at jobs until they had completed the necessary number of hours, and Mrs. Way-White and Mrs. Fortin were proud of what the students accomplished in spite of shortened hours.
At the end of the work experience program, the teachers met with employers for evaluation purposes.
"As always, co-operation from the business community ... was tremendous."
The article also noted: " Chapleau High School owes a debt of gratitude to the business community which has once again given the students this practical experience.
"The community support in the Chapleau area would undoubtedly be the envy of many a larger high school."
Forty years ago when these students were part of this work placement program, which in many ways was a pioneering project to get students out of the classroom, an addition had just been added to the school to meet the increased enrolment as the baby boomers arrived and new courses were introduced as well as the change to credit and semester system.
In sharing this article, I could not help but reflect on those years at CHS, which to me at least, who had started teaching there in 1969, were a time of great change. I had been a student at the old school on Pine Street, and there I was in this new place on the hill. That in itself, was revolutionary.
To this day, I recall heading there for my first day, walking over the old overhead bridge, and being picked up by Ovide Cote, who then was manager of Collins men's wear department. Mr. Cote was on his way to the school to speak to students in the Home Economics course taught by Marie Tremblay.
But changes were coming. In 1984, I was writing 'Sons of Thunder ... Apostles of Love', the history of St John's Anglican Church to mark its 100th anniversary in 1985, in longhand.
When I had completed the draft M.E. 'Bobbie' Pellow, Joan MacGillivray, Jean Newcombe and Frances Corston typed it out.
Then Kendra Broomhead, at the time a CHS student, transferred it to a computer at CHS, and Sharon Devine of the teaching staff finished the 'computerizing' process, and the pages were all ready to go to the publisher. I was fascinated to watch Kendra and Sharon as they used the computer to basically desktop publish the book.
Never, at the time did I think that in 1994, 10 years later, I would be at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook BC, launching the first college post graduate program in New Media Communications at a college in Canada. That program was the forerunner of social media communications programs today.
Back to CHS, at that time, one of the highlights of the week was for teachers to have lunch prepared and served by Mrs. Tremblay's students giving them practical experience.
It was a time of great change in education, and the computer era was not even on the horizon in 1972.
Thanks to Donald Warren for making available the photo of the CHS Home Economics Club in 1972 from 'Ad Astra'. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org