Swan Valley School Division Celebrates 50 Years

It was a time for reflecting on the past and looking to the future during the Swan Valley School Division (SVSD) 50th Anniversary Celebration on May 31, 2018.

The celebration included access to school division information and displays as well as a selection of old yearbooks. Live entertainment and a fundraiser barbeque for the 2018 Graduating Class, preceded the formal program.

Board Chair Kelli Riehl delivered the opening remarks with special recognition of Bernice Reich, the first woman elected as a trustee in 1973, and Gwen Palmer, the second woman elected as trustee and the first woman chair from 1984-1986.

“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve as a Chairwoman and it was because of you two, who paved the way for all of us ladies who have been able to serve since.” said Riehl, “You have our eternal thanks.” she added.

Ed Hart, one of the first trustees of the SVSD, reflected on the difficult decisions made by the first board.

“We closed the one room schools, we applied for the regional school, and we moved the high schools into Swan River.” said Hart.

“This is a setting that subsequent school boards have built on, and you see what is on the grounds now – a total learning situation.” he said.

“Trustee Hart was a trustee in the division from its very beginning in 1967, right up until 1998.” said current Board Trustee Gary Wowchuck. “He has had the courage to be a part of many decisions that affected what we have today.”

Each Swan Valley school and municipality as well as the Board of Trustees and the Elbert Chartrand Friendship Centre had the opportunity to present items to be included in a Time Capsule. The Time Capsule included items such as yearbooks, pictures, team shirts, choir cape, skipping rope, historical records, articles, course lists, SVSD Strategic Plan, promotional material and other miscellaneous items.

The capsule was sealed by former trustees, Ed Hart, Dave Brown and Gwen Palmer and will be stored at the Swan Valley Historical Museum until it is opened in 2067.

To close the program, a 50th Anniversary video was shown. The 30 minute video highlighted the history of the School Division including important milestones, partnerships and innovation that contributed the success of the SVSD over the past 50 years.