Nesbitt school celebrates centennial
Published Saturday, September 18, 2010 4:50PM EDT
Marking a century of teaching Rosemont's children, Nesbitt Elementary school kicked off a year of centennial celebrations this week.
A special assembly this week saw the students rallying in the schoolyard, showing their pride for being part of the long-lasting institution. Students lined up in the shape of the number 100, and held signs for each year of the school's history.
In its heyday, more than 1,000 students graced the hallways of the elementary school, part of the English Montreal School Board, but over the years, the numbers have declined.
"Last year we were at 432 so this year it's approximately seven students that we lost which is not that many but it's still a decline," said principal Mary Theophilopoulos.
Still, generations of families have sat at wooden desks in the classrooms, including sisters Linda Benoit and Carol Ghanoudi, both teachers at the school.
"I live close to the school, my sister also teaches in this school, my mother was a student in this school, and my niece and nephew came to this school," said Benoit, who teaches a split class of students in grades 1 and 2.
Ghanoudi teaches the same grade level across the hall, and from time to time will swap students depending on what's being taught.
Their mother attended the school in the 1930s. Renovations have been made since, but like anything 100 years old, the school is beginning to show its age.
"We have a new roof, the bricks have been done, and new windows - but yes, it's 100 years old," said Benoit.
As the neighbourhood has evolved, so too has the population, now with a multicultural mix of 19 nationalities, she added.
"We have Portuguese, Italian, Sri Lankan, Greek, French Canadian… We have all kinds of students, which makes it a very, very valuable experience," she said.
While the students may value today's classrooms, they also considered what it must have been like for the first group to enter the school 100 years ago.
"Hmm.., I don't think they had any computers," said one young scholar. "And they probably only had the small school buses."