Lord Tennyson celebrates 100 school years

School board bought site from CPR in 1909

The wave of 100-year celebrations in the Vancouver school district continues next week when Lord Tennyson elementary holds its centennial, Sept. 30.

A population explosion sparked construction of a number of city schools a century ago and several of them marked their anniversaries last school year.

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Tennyson, a French immersion school for 420 students at 1936 West 10th Ave., was named for English poet laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson. Notable graduates include David Suzuki's children.

The Vancouver School Board bought the school site from Canadian Pacific Railway for $18,000 in 1909. Clearing the land cost $1,250 and the original building was constructed for $80,000. "People who come back and visit say, 'I remember 80 years ago or whatnot that was my classroom.' It looks very similar for them," said principal Jacquie Lavoie who's been at Tennyson for close to four years.

But there have been additions over the years. Tenders were called in 1911 to build an addition for eight rooms and an assembly hall, according to the VSB. The contract was given to La Place Bros. for $79,400. More changes to the building were made in 1957 when a contract was awarded to C.J. Oliver and Company for $176,890 for an addition that mainly consisted of an auditorium-gymnasium. Former Vancouver mayor Charles E. Thompson opened it officially on Oct. 23, 1957.

Lavoie also said school gardens have played an important role on school grounds through Tennyson's history. "If you look at old photos, we used to have gardens, especially during wartime in the front of the school," she said. "We have a lot of photographs of that. To this day we have beds in the front."

Alumni who attend the centennial may want to check out the new mural at the back of the school, which students helped paint. "Every single student in the school had an opportunity to paint with an artist in residence," Lavoie said. "Students captured some highlights and [things] that are meaningful to them." One of the school's ongoing charitable projects involves the Global Group club, which raises money as part of the Free the Children initiative. "We help raise funds for under-developed countries. Right now we're raising money to buy cows and goats," Lavoie said.

Tennyson's centennial celebration starts at 4 p.m., Sept. 30, with tours of the school's decade room. A ceremony, entertainment and light refreshments get underway at 6 p.m. For more details, or to find out how to register, contact the school.

noconnor@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Naoibh

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