Yearbook Flip: Elementary School Yearbooks

Many of us have old high school yearbooks at home, but an elementary school yearbook is rare. There aren’t many to be found in the St. Catharines Museum Collection either. That’s why I was excited to find a yearbook from Dalewood Public School.

Front cover of Nulli Secondus, the 1962/1963 yearbook of Dalewood Public School. STCM 2006.77.2345

Dalewood published a yearbook for 1962/1963 to celebrate the very first graduating class of their first school year. At the time, Dalewood was a Senior School, or a junior high school, meaning that it served Grade 7 and Grade 8 students to prepare them for high school. It opened with a, somewhat fear-inducing, message from the principal, “You, as the first graduating class from our school, will be under close scrutiny as you continue into higher education.”

Letters from the Dalewood Principal and Student Council President. STCM 2006.77.2345
An example of the hand-drawn illustrations found in the 1963 Dalewood yearbook. STCM 2006.77.2345

Similar to the high school yearbooks in the Museum Collection, the Dalewood yearbook is filled with inside jokes and humour columns, details of the different sport teams’ seasons, and accounts of school dances and other festivities. It really gives a rich sense of what life was like for students at Dalewood in 1962/1963. But what makes this yearbook particularly unique are the hand-drawn illustrations that fill the pages. Rather than feature traditional rows of student class portraits, or even depict images of their sports teams and activity clubs in action, Dalewood only printed personalized drawings. Each section begins with an illustrated page, like the “Activities” page shown to the left.

Several interactive pages were also made available throughout the yearbook to encourage students to make their personal mark in the book. This also differentiates the elementary school yearbook from a high school yearbook. More than just a page for student and teacher autographs, Dalewood had several opportunities for students to fill in the names of their classmates and teachers, as well as answer questions, and draw. Here, with hand-drawn cartoons depicting a typical Dalewood class, children were asked to name their classmates.

Dalewood’s yearbook includes interactivities to encourage students to make their mark in its pages. STCM 2006.77.2345

Dalewood also featured the different school subjects taken by students and highlighted their teachers. Featured below includes an interview with History teacher, Mr. Gregar, who, given his prominence throughout the yearbook, was likely a popular teacher at Dalewood.                                             

Dalewood History teacher, Mr. Gregar is interviewed on why his school subject matters. STCM 2006.77.2345

Do you have an elementary school yearbook at home? We’d love for you to share it with us! What does it tell you about life as an elementary school student?

As we all know, life as any student is anything but ordinary right now. With students not going back to school for a while, the St. Catharines Museum is your resource for at-home curriculum-based learning and exploration. Check out our new Museum Classroom page on our blog to access free educational resources and lesson plans to keep the kids engaged. Check back regularly as we continue to add new material. Remember, we’re #InThisTogether!

Sara Nixon is a public historian and Public Programmer at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.

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