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Faraday School celebrates 100 years

June 20, 2022
On a day that seemed to highlight all of Winnipeg’s many weather moods, the anniversary festivities were blessed with sunny skies. A large crowd amassed on Parr Street, which had been temporarily closed for the anniversary.

With files from Louise Hanvey

Reflecting on a rich heritage and history in Winnipeg’s North End, Faraday School held a special centennial event. 

The June 16 celebration, which included current students, staff and alumni, started with an assembly on the school’s front grounds.

The special day included: entertainment by students in the Performing Arts program; the unveiling of a new whole-school mosaic art piece; student-led tours of the school; refreshments and food trucks; and the opportunity to connect with current and former students, staff and community members.  

“I’m proud of our entire school,” said Principal Jennifer Cox. “Our students, staff and our valued alumni have all worked hard to celebrate Faraday’s past, present and future, and our longtime connection to this community.”

Alumnus Lorna Guse, who was a student (1958-63) and later came back to serve as a school nurse in the Seventies, said students took pride in serving their community. Ms. Guse was one of approximately 150 alumni who returned to the school for the centennial. 

She noted one of her fondest Faraday memories was serving as a school patrol; in those days, boy patrollers would patrol the intersections near the school, while girl patrollers would walk kindergarten students to and from school in a sort of “walking school bus.”

“Elementary school is where you learn that you actually have a place in the big world,” Ms. Guse said. “Beyond your family, this is your very first experience of discovering there is a world, and you have a place in it.”

The school, located at the corner of Mountain Avenue and Parr Street, opened to students on Dec. 1, 1922. Five hundred students transferred from temporary arrangements at Margaret Scott School, Strathcona School, and Ralph Brown School.  It was originally a school for Nursery to Grade 9. Over the years the school has expanded, adding classrooms, a large auditorium, gymnasium and performing arts studio. 

Inclusion and accessibility for all has been deeply valued by the Faraday community. Principal Larry Lagrange devoted a great deal of time and effort into getting an elevator added to the building in 1988, so all students could access all areas of the school. 

Today Faraday is a Nursery to Grade 6 school. It is home to a number of Inclusive Education programs and a Family Centre that has won an early child literacy award. In 2018, the Faraday Autism Center Team (established in 2016) received recognition from the Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) for Outstanding Achievement, Teaching. 

“We are proud that our school continues to provide our students with a safe, caring, nurturing and inclusive learning environment for every child,” Ms. Cox said.

Perfect weather for a celebration

On a day that seemed to highlight all of Winnipeg’s many weather moods, the anniversary festivities were blessed with sunny skies. A large crowd amassed on Parr Street, which had been temporarily closed for the anniversary; alumni and community members gathered to enjoy an energetic school-wide dance performance and students singing “My Roots Go Down.”

Among the dignitaries in attendance were WSD CEO and Chief Superintendent Pauline Clarke, Trustee Linda Schatkowsky, MLA Bernadette Smith, City Councillor Ross Eadie and Faraday alumnus and former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon.

As part of the ceremonies, the school introduced a large exterior art mosaic on the school’s west side. Students spent months coming up with designs and working on the tiles with Winnipeg artist Ursula Neufeld.

“I feel like we contributed to a really big thing that’s going to stay at the school for another hundred years probably,” said student Elivia Becenko. “We also got a whole bunch of new trees for the school, to help the environment.”

Student William Neale added that the school had installed a digital sign, visible from Mountain Avenue.

“For the 100th we’ve put up this digital sign, so now people can know what events are going on at our school,” William said.

Student Greg Ellana said the school frequently connected with the community in preparation for the centennial.

“We got people from different cultures and countries involved, like Indigenous, Filipino and others,” Greg said. “I’m really happy because all of the things we’ve done this year, it will affect the future.”

At the assembly Ms. Cox also announced that Faraday will be receiving an award from the Manitoba Historical Society; the special award is given in honour and recognition of organizations which have enhanced Manitoba’s social, cultural and economic life for over 100 years.

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