Teaching in Ferguson Flats 1949

by Mrs Olga Ockerman

In the fall of 1949, I chose to come to Ferguson Flats to teach. Being near my home, the location seemed ideal compared to most of the others offered in isolated areas. A new school was just built here that summer and I looked forward td working in it.

I shall never forget our first day. Aside from greeting 33 youngsters, 7 of them beginners, the challenge of creating order out of the chaos therein was almost more than I had anticipated. We were short of desks, books and supplies had been brought over from the old building and heaped in the middle of the room, a number of windows were not yet installed, and with no heater we hoped good weather would be with us. The playground was newly broken land. Somehow we managed to get organized and slowly everything was completed before winter set in.


Mrs. Ockerman and her class in 1955, commemorating Alberta's 50th birthday.

Back Row, Left to Right: Faye Gustafson, Elsie Zapesocki, Donna Nelson, Ellen Nelson, Eddy Zapesocki, Johnny Hillebrand, Henry Ashby.

Although this new building was larger than the old school, the conditions were much the same. We went through the ordeal in winter of thawing glue and ink bottles or lunches, huddling around the old wood stove on cold days. Students did the janitor work. We made and served cocoa during the winter months. Many rode horses and the barn was often full. A  teacherage was also moved into the schoolyard that fall. These rented for 17 dollars. They were sparsely furnished but were more convenient for a teacher.

School supplies were sold at the school. With pencils, scribblers and most items selling for 3c or less, $2 was enough to supply a child with essentials the entire year. We had our annual Christmas concerts, picnics, nature hikes, ball games, parties, and track meet or festival in town each spring. I remained here for three years. Miss Gertrude Engler was the next teacher who stayed here for two years. I returned to the district to make my home here and resumed teaching where I continued until 1956.