Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 10, 2005
Telling tales out of school
Edmonton Catholic Schools wants to hear your stories to include in their archives
By BILL GLEN
"As time goes by, you lose a lot of things that are important."
- Pat Quinlan
During each interview, "I always ask 'Who is a person who had a major impact on their career?'" Several people are mentioned who are already on the list but Wray said former assistant superintendent Pat Quinlan's name is offered repeatedly.
"I enjoyed all the years I spent with the Catholic schools. I met some wonderful teachers," said Quinlan, 86. "I had the privilege of being under Austin O'Brien when I began. I am very honoured to hear that people remember me."
Quinlan's career spanned more than 40 years as a teacher and administrator. He was Evergreen Catholic Schools' initial superintendent in Spruce Grove. Quinlan said the archival project is overdue and worthwhile.
"As time goes by, you lose a lot of things that are important. We must remember the faith component of our Catholic schools because it means so much. We hope that it holds us in good stead."
Mooney said a book depicting the history of religious orders inspiring the Catholic faith in schools is planned for release in September 2006.
"This is a neat project. Richard has done an incredible amount of work," Mooney said. "We're getting there. Richard is busy capturing oral histories because many of the people in our district are aging. This project has turned into a passion. We learn as we go and we are doing more than we ever intended. I'm working with wonderful people and the response has been terrific."
The committee plans to have an archive website operational in 2005. A computerized data retrieval system will be installed in the museum for information regarding an old teacher, school or period of time.
It is important that the district collect what it can from the past and develop guidelines for preserving the future, Mooney said.
"We hope it will be a living archive that reflects on our history at any given time. We are now setting up so we can keep a much better history of our schools."
Several former teachers have told Wray they always tried to remember that they were teaching students, not subjects. He mentioned the late Elizabeth (Betty) McNamee, a teacher and administrator with Edmonton Catholic Schools from 1957 until her retirement in 1992. Wray interviewed her two days before her death last April.
"We must remember the faith component of our Catholic schools because it means so much."
- Pat Quinlan
"She said her first teaching assignment was at St. Bernadette's but it was under construction. They could not get into the school, so they moved the students to the Drake Hotel temporarily. They had a drape in the middle of the pool room."
A particular focus will be paid to the support and custodial staff because Wray says, "That's where you get the real stories."
"It will be interesting when I get hold of the support staff and have their stories about what they did, about the school's atmosphere and how they related to the children and teachers."
The museum and archive will not be completed for at least another year, but if anyone would like to share a personal story or would be willing to donate an artifact, call archivist Helen Scarlett at 439-7356. She can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
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