October 06, 2015 - 9:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - Kamloops' oldest school is set to shut down next year, but the legacy left behind by the school and the four generations of the Lloyd family that have been part of the school will not soon be forgotten.
Blair Lloyd became principal of Stuart Wood Elementary this past May and recently learned his family history spans four generations at the school.
He says he’d drive by the building as a child but had no idea the significance. Recently his dad did some digging into his family’s past though and found 15 members of the Lloyd family who have either attended school or taught at the school.
“(My dad) informed me of all the tradition, I knew about it but was kind of unaware how deep it was,” he says.
Lloyd’s father Gordon made up a photo montage of all the family members associated with the school. Lloyd laughs that the picture appears kind of squished as they kept finding more family members who attended and had to fit them in the picture.
The tradition started with his great grandmother Katie Furness who earned her teaching certificate in 1901.
She came from Salt Spring Island to Kamloops and taught at Stuart Wood Elementary before it was the red brick building on the corner of St. Paul Street and Third Avenue that stands there today. Back then it was a small school house that would have been located on the present day’s front lawn.
Lloyd says his great grandmother’s teaching career was short – ending in 1905 – because there were different expectations of women of her era.
“When you got married back in those days you couldn’t teach; you couldn’t be pregnant and you couldn’t be married.”
A photo of Lloyd's great grandmother Katie Furness and her class hangs in halls of Stuart Wood Elementary.
(DANA REYNOLDS /InfoTel Multimedia)
Furness’s son and Lloyd’s grandfather, George, first attended the school as a Grade 1 student in 1915. He says his father Gordon, who also attended Stuart Wood Elementary, made the decision to become a teacher after his father’s death.
“He spent a couple years working heavy labour on the CN, then he kind of changed his mind,” Lloyd explains continuing the legacy of teachers in the Lloyd family.
Lloyd’s father Gordon was the first principal at Valleyview Secondary and the longest serving principal at South Kamloops Secondary.
“It’s in our blood," he says of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a teacher as well.
Lloyd has worked at four different schools in Kamloops before arriving at the historic school.
With the school set to shut down at the end of this school year, Lloyd says it’s 'pretty overwhelming' to think his family’s 114-year history with the school will finish with him.
“I am absolutely humbled that somehow I ended up being here for the last year, even if it was just for a year.”
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