Sharp shooting students at Henry Hudson elementary were so good at hitting the bull’s eye, they earned the title of city rifle champions in 1915 and 1916. A photo of the well-dressed youngsters will be included in a centennial memory book as part of the Kitsilano school’s 100th anniversary.
“It’s basically wartime, right,” said Alan Patola Moosmann, chair of the committee organizing the centennial anniversary, June 21.
The winning team included future White Spot and baseball man Nat Bailey, Hugh Matthews, a son of the city’s first archivist Major Matthews, and Harold Clay, one of the school’s first students who recalled at the time of the school’s 75th anniversary hiding out in the school field’s bulrushes. His son and Hudson alumnus, Gordon Clay, has contributed numerous photos to the celebration.
Initial construction on the red brick school named for the English explorer who sailed on the ship Discovery, which sought the Northwest Passage in 1610, was completed near Cornwall and Cypress in 1912.
Patola Moosmann, whose two children attend French immersion at Henry Hudson, was surprised to see Japanese-Canadian and Indo-Canadian faces appear in class photos taken up until the Second World War.
Japanese settlers fished in the area until they were interned in the interior during the war, and until the 1950s, members of Vancouver’s Sikh community, many of whom worked in the sawmills on False Creek, lived near Cypress and today’s Burrard Street, where there was a temple.
“Now like any Vancouver elementary school it’s just massively diverse,” Patola Moosmann said. “Impressionistically, I’d say that about a third of the kids in those [French immersion] classes don’t speak English at home so French is their third language.”
Hudson’s barbecue, which is traditionally held during the second to last week of school, has been expanded into a block party to which alumni, former staff and members of the community are invited.
White Spot Triple-O’s Mobile Kitchen will cater the event that will include music by the Hudson Centennial Choir, Gwen Gauchee Trio and Odyssey, vintage vehicles including the fire department’s 1912 fire truck, members of the Vancouver Police Department’s mounted squad, vintage costumes, decade rooms containing photos and memorabilia and First Nationa’s history of the area. The event falls on National Aboriginal Day.
The school choir will release a CD at the event that includes two songs from each decade since 1912. The centennial celebration memory book not only includes historical photographs, but also essays by Grade 7 students who reimagined other times with a letter to a grandparent, a diary entry or by referencing the news or music of the era. “Some of them have clearly taken great delight in looking up dictionaries of period slang,” Patola Moosmann said.
The school’s parent advisory council has done much of the planning for the centennial, creating a polished website complete with videos and a historical quiz. “People value the school. People do feel a sense of community in the place,” Patola Moosmann said.
A sense of collaboration between school administration, staff and parents contributes to that sense of community in a locale that attracts many newcomers to the city and Canada, he said.
The main floor of the school will be open from 3:30 to 6 p.m. with festivities in the gym and on the field until 8 p.m. For more information, see hudsoncentennial.com.