What a delight it was to visit Miss Sadie Boyles on February 12,2001. Miss
Boyles graduated from South Van High in 1922, the first year the school
was on E 43rd Ave near Fraser Street after moving from the location at
49th and Knight Road (General Gordon School which went to Grade 11). She
won the Governor-General's Award that year for the highest marks in the
province. She taught at King Ed for several years before moving on to UBC
where she retired as Professor Emeritus. She was also on the Board of
Governors, UBC for many years. She was a very good friend of Walter Gage,
brilliant mathematician and teacher, outstanding UBC personality, and
former President, UBC. Walter Gage was a year ahead of Sadie Boyle.
Sadie Boyle still has a very good memory of South Van High and the
community. She can still imitate some of her teachers, including the
long-time v.p. and antagonist of the Principal,J.T.E. Palmer, Jesse J.
McKenzie. Sadie told several stories about JTE, the man who built South
Van's/ Jayo's great reputation by winning the Governor-Genera'sl Award
almost every year in the 1920's and also the yearly inter-high track
meets. One of the stories related Mr. Palmer's extreme disappointment over
Sadie being denied 100% on the provincial geometry examination because
Sadie had omitted what was a self-explanatory statement.
According to Mary Campbell (girls' PE, John Oliver, 1938 - 1961), Sadie
was "The authority on teaching French in BC" for many years. We recently
celebrated Mary's 90th birthday at the school along with Muriel Harvie's
(married Ledingham) 90th. Muriel taught PE in the old "barn" or
horticultural building, 1932-1938, and graduated from South Van High in
1926. Mr. Palmer introduced himself to Muriel's mother as "the best-hated
man in South Vancouver." Muriel found Mr. Palmer a bit of softy when next
to his wife at a class birthday party, a fact verified by Mr. Palmer's
daughter Hope, who is 87, still drives, and lives in White Rock. Hope
Palmer Harvey said that her father's tough exterior which drove some of
his female math student's to tears was a bit of a shell.
JTE did a lot to build the staff and reputation of South Van/ John Oliver.
He administered before political correctness was a fashion, and modern
coaches would frown on JTE's practise of offering to pay the carfare of
track stars from other schools if they would attend South Van High. Mr.
Palmer also went out of his way to help keep good students in school when
financial times were tough.
Sadie Boyle brought alive this era which appeared to have been lost. She
also recalled David Warden, the South Van student who won the
Governor-General's Award in 1923. David was a very handsome, popular lad
who died in a fall at the waterfall at Indian Arm a short time after
graduation. Sadie also recalled some mischievous incidents in school, the
parade after winning the track meet one year—she played grass hockey and
ran on the girls' relay team, and several other memorable moments.
I took a picture of Sadie with her Governor-General's award. She is most
touched by students who remember her. Incidentally, she was guest speaker
at our graduation in 1962, Eric Kelly's first year as principal. Thanks
also to Norm Ellis (Grad of '33), formerly head of teacher records for
many years at the Vancouver School Board, for referring me to Sadie Boyle.
Thanks also to Bill Griffiths, Grad of '50 for setting up this website and
to the class of 1950 for funding it. Goldie Howard, former John Oliver
student and long-time secretary at John Oliver recently died as did Maurie
McPhee, former counsellor and head of special program at John Oliver.
Wally Alexander, track sensation of the late 40's who was 1 tenth of a
second from tying the legendary Percy Williams' record in the 100 metres
in 1948 has recently had angioplasty surgery which unfortunately has to be
redone. Senator Ray Perrault, Grad of '43, has just retired as Liberal
Senator from BC. His brother Ernie, Grad of '39, is still going strong.
The Perrault boys were both editors of the Pepmaster during their grad
years and were also very active in track and field and other sports.
Do you know anything/whereabouts? of Maurice Pearson, Grad of '50, who
sang on the Lawrence Welk program for many years.
Please add any stories or memories that you might have. Also, please
forward names and addresses, etc. of prospective former students to
contact or interview.