The following is the Committee's Press Release regarding the Official Unveiling of the Parry Sound Victory School Commemorative Project at the West Parry Sound District Museum.
Just after two years in the making, the Parry Sound Victory School Commemorative Book & 4-DVD Set was officially released during a special launch event at the West Parry Sound District Museum, on Wednesday, December 21st. In attendance were those who had attended the school and purchased sets as well as committee members, sponsors, media and those involved with the production of the set. The highlight of the three-hour open house featured special guests who addressed the gathering.
Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager of the Museum, spoke of the importance of documenting the history of the school and the people connected with it. The Museum will be the official custodian of this commemorative, multimedia, historical accounting of the school.
Scotiabank representatives, Robert Murley, Branch Manager, and Kerry Moore, Small Business Advisor talked about the importance of community and how it was their genuine pleasure to be a part of this unique project by means of funding. They spoke to the degree of significance it would hold for countless families and generations here in the area. Kerry Moore spoke fondly of the Breakfast Club at Victory School. This was another avenue in which Scotiabank invested not only time but money. Mr. Moore said he and other Scotiabank members eagerly and passionately took part preparing and serving the meals at the school.
Jim Marshall, Acting Deputy Mayor of the Town of Parry Sound addressed the crowd congratulating all those involved and thanking them for their hard work in preserving the memory of the school.
Len Yauk, former Superintendent and Director of Education of the then West Parry Sound Area School Board talked about an era of education in which the school was the go-to for many community events and how it served as a community hub. He talked about the uniqueness of the building with its squeaky floors, the separate boys' and girls' entrances, high ceilings and so much more, and last but not least its loving and caring staff.
Edwin ‘Bud’ Stevenson, former principal of Victory School talked about the importance of the school in the community. He loved the kids and the staff and related many happy, cherished memories from his time there. He also spoke about the affection staff and students had for Harry E. Tate, principal and teacher for 35 years. Mr. Stevenson added that Mr. Tate’s dedication and involvement not only in the school but in the community did not go unnoticed. He was very well respected and loved.
The Commemorative Committee, recognizing the impact Mr. Tate had on the school and community, and the positive effect of his far reaching legacy, elected to dedicate this project in his memory. A memorial page and his biography can be found at the front of the book, while a 20-minute feature on the DVD set, "A Tribute to Harry Tate", honours the beloved principal. Although Harry, his wife and children have since passed on, there are 13 of his grandchildren who will be receiving a copy of the Commemorative Book & 4-DVD Set.
Doug McCann, Chairman of the Commemorative Committee, also thanked the committee members, and all those who contributed to the project. He spoke of the honour and pleasure of meeting many people of all walks of life connected with the school, sharing their memories and love for such a unique place and time in their own lives. He thanked those who purchased sets either for their individual use or as Christmas gifts.
McCann also extended a big thank you to the corporate sponsors who provided the seed money to get started on this initiative, enabling the committee to cover all major expenses prior to the sale of the units, and keeping the price tag on each unit so very low.
For 97 years the school served the Parry Sound area well. It reflects and parallels the history of our area. Construction on Victory began when The Town of Parry Sound had only been incorporated some 30 years! Whatever the future holds for the building and lot, this commemorative project will preserve the endless, priceless memories of a very special time and place, so important and so significant to all those connected to Victory.