1909, the trustees approved the site where Mount Royal School would soon
stand. Mount Royal was a modern school and its design was used for many
other schools at the time including Earl Grey and Riverside. Known as
“Cottage Schools”, they were made of roughcut sandstone that
could stand against wind, hail and snow.
When the school first opened in 1910, 395 students were enrolled. Mr.
A.J. Watson was the Principal and only six female teachers were allocated
as staff. With the large school population not only the classrooms were
crowded – the basement was also a busy place used for boys physical
In 1919, 7 bungalow schools were completed and the Mount Royal School’s
population dropped by 80 or 90 students as students moved to the new bungalow
school in Bankview.
The reporting procedure used in 1926 differed greatly from today. At that
time, Grades I and II were issued yearly certificates indicating only
where a student stood in class, the number of days absent and a comment
about their conduct. Parents were also given the name of the student who
ranked highest in the class. However, in subsequent grades gruesome details
were divulged by a monthly breakdown of the entire year. On the back of
each report card is was stated “Pupils who read and study at night
easily outstrip those who spend their time on the streets.”
In the 1930s the Mount Royal School Choir twice won the Alberta Music
Festival Shield, given by the Edmonton School Board for the best Alberta
public school choir. During both World Wars graduates from Mount Royal
School enlisted. A plaque in the front hallway of the present school honours
the 264 brave students who fought in the Canadian Armed Forces. In 1953
a new gymnasium was added to the sandstone structure, the present Industrial
Arts shop and the Home Economics rooms occupy that old space.
The name of Mount Royal School has caused some concern and on December
4, 1954 Principal Mr. Pecover wrote a letter asking that the school be
given a new name. Mail for South Mount Royal School, Mount Royal College
and Mount Royal School was often being directed to the wrong address!
South Mount Royal School officially became William Reid Elementary on
May 8, 1955 easing some of the problem.
When 14th Street was widened in 1966, the sandstone structure that stood
on the hill overlooking the Bow River Valley was demolished. A new building
built behind the old school, was dedicated on May 3, 1967 and stands today
as the present Mount Royal Junior High. Students finally had their Home
Ec. And Shop facilities where students could take such courses as “Home
Care of the Sick Child” or “Building Construction and Related
Industries.” The new school certainly offered a diversified challenge
to the students of the class of ’67.
Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s Mount Royal maintained a high academic
standard as seen by the number of names on the school’s honour role.
The school however, was not only seen as a place for developing scholarship.
Lizz Ann Walsh said in her Valedictory letter for the yearbook that year,
“We have come to realize that education is not only academic, but
it is also the process by which we learn to respect and understand people,
to comfort and enjoy them; to live in peace and harmony with them. Perhaps
the person who has best taught this lesson is our principal, Mr. Wallace.”
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Mount Royal School’s population
has sifted both up and down. Students still come from the districts of
Connaught, Scarboro, Mount Royal, Bankview and Sunalta. However, as the
city of Calgary has changed so too has the area from where students come
to Mount Royal Junior High. Now students come from as far away as Victoria
Park and Strathcona. The school has a diverse population boasting students
who speak many languages and come from more than 20 different countries.
Mount Royal Also has an ACCESS class for students who are challenged by
a variety of physical handicaps. The school is, as one person described
it, “a slice of real life!”
If you look in the display case in the front foyer of the school you will
find a piece of the sandstone that once made up the old Mount Royal School.
The steps from the original building lead into the playing field from
the present day parking lot. Students still feel a sense of history in
the present school and they are proud of their role in making Mount Royal
School a Caring Concerned Community!
To understand the genesis of our goals, it is necessary to understand
our setting – student and community demographics, the performance of our
students, school organization and characteristics, how we are viewed by
our stakeholders, and our mission and beliefs.