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Leading the way in rural education

The United Empire Loyalists arrived on the Kingston Peninsula in 1783. Four years later they built a log schoolhouse in Kingston Village.  In 1802, 55 men from the Parish of Kingston signed a petition that led to the passing of the first New Brunswick Schools Act. Now, more than 100 years later the province has its first consolidated school.  On August 29th, 1904, the Macdonald Consolidated School (MCS) opens in Kingston.

Visitors from across the province and beyond, including James Robertson, are on hand for the school’s Formal Opening on November 9th.

Port side view of a steam boat on the river. Passengers stand on the decks.

Starline steamer Champlain

A bigger celebration is the Grand Opening on June 16, 1905.  That morning, dignitaries, other notables, and members of the press board the Starline steamer Champlain at Saint John.

A three story building with an upstairs balcony. There is a one story wing on the right. A small group of men and women stand at the corner.

The Willows

The boat takes them up the Kennebecasis River to The Willows wharf on the Kingston Peninsula. After a short walk on this sunny day, the school vans arrive to convey the visitors the remaining distance to the school.

Principal Hamilton first takes the visitors on a tour of the school gardens. They are most impressed. This is followed by a luncheon served outdoors on the school grounds. Guests then visit the classrooms to see the new system of education in action.

Elderly bearded man stands in Windsor uniform holding a cocked hat under his left arm.

Lieutenant Governor Jabez Snowball in Windsor Uniform

Later, Lieutenant Governor Jabez Snowball, in full regalia, leads the dignitaries into the Assembly Hall. Students welcome them singing the national anthem. Cash prizes are given to the students who have won the special essay contests on the history of their County or Province. The two first prize awards are in real gold.

Several dignitaries make speeches and, although neither Macdonald nor Robertson are in attendance, it is clear that educators are seeking political support for the two men’s vision for rural education. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Inch, emphasizes the great improvement in student attendance. The 140% increase, he believes is proof that consolidation works.

L.G. Snowball says that Macdonald Consolidated must succeed for education to progress in New Brunswick. Politicians from all sides agree that MCS is the school of the future.

Newspaper clipping.

Daily Telegraph Headline June 16, 1905

What’s more, the students love it!