Oshawa High School – 1910

Boom a-laka! Boom a-laka!

Bow! Wow! Wow!

Chik a-laka! Chik a-laka!

Chow! Chow! Chow!

Boom a-laka, Chik a-laka

Sis! Boom! Bah!

Oshawa High School

Rah! Rah! Rah!

The students who went to the new high school in 1910 shouted this as their first school yell. It was really the start of a new era for secondary education in Oshawa. From that time on, it was to be a period in which many changes would come to pass. A number of those same students are living in Oshawa and vicinity today. Some are scattered around in various places and there are many whose voices will never be heard again

The six teachers who went to the high school when it first opened are to be rated among the world’s best people and they had the honour of being the first teachers in Oshawa’s first secondary school building.

Seeing that later in 1930, this school was completely demolished to make way for the present O’Neill Collegiate (O.C.V.I), I shall now describe it as it was in 1910.

What a palace it was thought to be by the students after dingy old Centre Street School! It was a rather long, narrow plain looking red brick building on the same site as the O.C.V.I and it faced Simcoe Street.

Wide halls ran the full length, with stairways at either end. On the main floor these stairways led to the outside entrances, the second floor and the basement. On the second floor the stairs on the south side led up to the assembly hall. The north entrance was for the girls and the south for the boys. The teacher’s entrance was which faced the front facing Simcoe Street. On the second floor a stairway on the south side led up to the assembly hall on the third floor. The school was lighted by electricity and had steam heating. Gas was installed in the chemistry room which was well equipped for those times. The seating in all of the classrooms was arranged so that the light from the windows came in on the pupils’ left side. The floors were hardwood and the woodwork inside was stained, natural grain and it was varnished. The floors were hardwood. They were oiled periodically and were very slippery when it was first done. There was ample black board space in each classroom and the science rooms. Large washrooms were in the basement for the teachers and students. A drinking fountain stood on the main floor in the hall not far from the teachers’ entrance. I wonder if the lady living in Oshawa today can remember the morning she vaulted over that fountain and nearly knocked the principal down as he was coming in from the front entry way. What happened after that can well be imagined.

On the first floor were the first and second matriculation forms and the first and second commercial forms. They all had separate rooms, then. There was also a typing room, teacher’s room, office and a cloakroom for girls.

On the second floor, the third form matriculation[1] students occupied one room and the fourth and fifth “matrics” were together in another. The physics and chemistry rooms, a small apparatus room and a girl’s cloakroom were also on the second floor. The cloakrooms and washrooms for all the boys were in the basement.

The assembly hall on the third floor was quite spacious, with a large platform at one end. Hardwood chairs were provided for seating and were kept stacked against the wall when not in use. The room was used mostly for physical training during the first few years. A stairway led up to it from the second floor.


[1] To enroll in a college or university (high school) as a candidate for a degree. Dictionary.com

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