Armstrong Elementary School ‘Big brick’ turns 100 – Okanagan

The large brick Armstrong elementary school has had students running through the halls for 100 years, and to celebrate, hundreds of people threw a party in the schoolyard.

“The vision that our ancestors had 100 years ago to build a building like this is unbelievable, we are so happy to have it,” said Chris Pieper, Mayor of Armstrong.

“There is a person here today who studied here in the 1930s and is here today celebrating and that is what this is all about.”

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The school opened on September 8, 1921. It had an entrance for boys and an entrance for girls and 10 classrooms. More than a hundred years later, students still attend classes there.

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The landmark was honored with a drum wheel, a pole dance and speeches. Historians say the school was innovative for its time.

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“This was the first school bus system in British Columbia and this was the first consolidated school in British Columbia,” said Jessie Ann Gamble, Armstrong-Spallumcheen Museum & Arts Society.

“The mayor at the time and also the chairman of the school board was Jim Wright and he had this vision of closing all the small rural schools and bringing the kids into the city so they could have a broader education.”

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The event celebrated Armstrong’s deep roots and also served as a chance for alumni and faculty to come together.

The hope is that Armstrong Elementary School will remain for another 100 years, accommodating the children of Spallumcheen and Armstrong.

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