The Englefeld school began its history in a 18x12 - foot lumber school house that was built by John A. Koenders for $753.70.
On July 27,1909, the first recorded meeting of the Board of Trustees was held to elect officers. The first secretary-treasurer was Joseph Nordick; the first chairman, Gustave Fritsch; and the first trustee, Theo Breker. At this meeting school books were ordered for the first term of classes which started in September and lasted until December 31 of that year. Miss Francy Lyendeker was the first teacher and for her duties she received a salary of $45 a month. There were 12 students the first year.
In 1910, the school term was changed to last 10 months and the year was from January to December of each year. Gertrude Barry taught during this term at a rate of pay of $713. The Secretary-Treasurer's salary was $50.
The first record of a school grant was in 1911,for the amount of $64.98 for the first term. Teacher's salary was increased that year to $780.
March 2,1914, began the school term that included 210 school days. During this year a chapel organ was purchased from the T. Eaton Co. for $63.40 by a debenture. The first barn was built by John Schoenhofen. At a board meeting a decision was made to contact Fr. Joseph Michel to have religious instructions after school or the last half hour of the school day.
In 1915, an additional room was added to the original one room, giving it an L-shape. One classroom held up to 50 children in attendance at one time and out of these 15 were Nordicks. Wm. Clark dug a well for the school at a rate of $1.50 a foot. A sweeper for the school received 10 cents a day for his duties.
In 1921, a debenture was issued to cover the erection of a new school room, moving and rebuilding the old one, and for the blackboards, closets, heating system, seat desks and chairs. The bank exchange on the $5,000 debenture was $6.25. A. Stadelman was the contractor for the building of the addition to the school. With the second room two teachers were hired.
During the winter months the children were driven to school in vans. People were paid for this service depending on the distance of travel. The rates varied from $51-$71.40. Six vans had been built by the school district for this purpose and the cost of the material totalled $161.95.
Miss Caroline Strunk began her teaching career (which lasted 43 years, all in Englefeld) in October of 1923 at a rate of $85 a month. This same year it was decided by the ratepayers to put electric light into the school house. The levy for school taxes was set at 17 mills; for St. Peter's, being $2,176, Ayes, $1,050 and the village of Englefeld, $934. It was decided at a trustees' meeting in 1925 that during noon hour one teacher had to stay in school for half an hour and the other was to look after the pupils. Children whose parents were not taxpayers, or not on the village assessment roll, were charged 15 cents a day for going to school.
A levy of 15 mills was set for the school taxes in 1927. In 1928 the school was again remodeled at a cost of $180.10 for lumber and $69.80 for labour.
In 1930, it was accepted and passed by the ratepayers that the Lord's Prayer be said at the opening of school in the morning. Sweeping and dusting of the school was done every day for 15 cents a day. Scrubbing was done only on instruction of the chairman and the pay was $5 each time. Cleaning of the school barn was done for $2.50 a month.
With the onset of the drought and hard times the levy of taxes was dropped to 12 mills and the teacher's salary was lowered by $150 a year. In 1932, the school board began giving the rink $15 a year to cover school purposes. The school vans were also sold at an auction at a rate of $2.50-$5.10 depending on the size and shape of them.
Since the school facilities were crowded, the Grade 11 class was taught at night school by the principal. Six tons of coal was purchased at $7.80 a ton from the B.A. Elevator Co. to heat the school.
In 1936 a special meeting of the trustees was held to decide if it was feasible to build a teacherage. After a lengthy discussion on cost votes were cast — 34 against and 12 for. The principal received $720 a year and the primary teacher $570 a year. For the fall term a third classroom was added and also a third teacher was hired to accommodate the 90 children that attended. The fee for non-resident students was set at $1.50 a month per child for high school grades or $2 a family a month.
In 1938, a sinking fund was begun with the purpose in mind to build a new school in the future. Two mills were added to the present mill rate for this purpose.
In the fall of 1939, 144 children up to the age of 15 were innoculated for diphtheria by Dr. Novack of Watson.
Steps were taken in 1942 to try to build a new school but permission was refused by the Department of Education, Public Works, Government Board and the architects until the war was over so the school was again enlarged and remodelled to make room for the Grade 11 and 12 students. The school increased its donation to the skating rink to $20 a year.
The fall term of 1943 opened July 26 and closed August 26 for harvest and reopened in October as soon as harvest was over. The three school rooms were divided into equal classes of four grades. One hundred and seventeen pupils were attending school with 10 in Grade one and three in Grade 12. All children starting school had to be seven years old by December 1 of the year. During January, the primary and intermediate rooms were closed for two weeks on account of an epidemic of mumps. Mrs. Coleman began cleaning schools at $20 a month. A $10 donation was made to the Englefeld Tennis Club by the school trustees.
In 1946-47, the larger school unit took over with the office in Humboldt. For insurance purposes the land and buildings in Englefeld were valued at $5,300 with contents at $1,000.
A. Stadelman tendered for the new four-room school in 1948. The bid was accepted for $28,561. The windows of this new school were first cleaned by Mrs. Coleman for 50 cents an hour. In the old school 18 students were enrolled in Grades 9-12 under Lawrence Dowling, the principal; 37 students in Grades 5-8 taught by Miss Ida Klassen; and 51 students in Grades 1-4 taught by Miss Caroline Strunk.
In 1949, the official opening was held of the new school with the old school being sold on sealed bids to the Romance Community Club to be used as a hall. It is at present still standing in Romance. A request was sent to the Unit board in 1950 to supply the Englefeld School with two nun teachers, one to act as a principal and one to teach Grades 4-6. If the contracts of the other teachers from the first and third rooms would terminate those teachers would also be replaced by nuns and one of the teachers should be able to teach music. As a result of this Sister Aquinas Schulte began her 15 years of teaching in Englefeld.
In 1952, musical instruments like the Melody Bell priced at $13.80 and a Chord-H Harp at $35 were ordered from the unit office. A $12 entry fee was sent to the Humboldt Musical Festival in 1955.
Because of lack of records this is the first available record of attendance in Grade 10. They were: Leonel and Pauline Lefebvre; Marlene and Yvonne Martin; Stella Radoux; Madeline Spangen-berg; Marjorie Schulte and Lillian Witte.
With practically no school equipment on hand for Physics, Bill and Arnold Nordick completed their course by making use of Physics equipment at St. Peter's College, Muenster, Sask.
In 1957, the school enrolment was 121 students with Grades 1-3 having 34 pupils; Grade 4-6, 28 pupils; Grades 7-9, 33 pupils; and Grades 10-12, 26 pupils.
Bus routes were established in 1960 to convey the pupils to the village of Englefeld. This bus also served the Diamond Willow district which had been closed in 1959. With the addition of more students a one-room school was built northeast of the four-room school to accommodate the primary classes. Uniforms for all the girls (navy jumpers) was introduced into the school for the fall term of 1960-61.
With the closure of more schools the trustees found it necessary to move the Green Meadow rural school into the village to accommodate the extra pupils. The janitor job was divided between Mrs. Coleman and Mrs. B. Nordick, each receiving $48 a month for ten months.
In 1962, the Diamond Willow rural school was brought in, placed on a full basement with septic toilets, a cistern and oil heating, at a cost of $3,380.15. Rorbel school children were also bused to the village that year. The following year the Chelton school was closed and some of the children were also bused into Englefeld. This was the beginning of larger bus routes within the district.
To accommodate even more pupils Early Dawn was moved at a cost of $3,173.73.
Sunday, March 28,1965, marks the day that the large four-room high school and its contents was completely destroyed by fire. All records, registers,
trophies, personal belongings, etc., were totally destroyed. To accommodate classes for the children classes were set up in the town hall, the basement of the Catholic Rectory, the chapel of the Catholic Church and the United Church.
There was no delay in the building of a new school. A different site was chosen to have more room for expansion when necessary. In 1966 the new four-room flat school was opened. It also marked the last year that the Grades 11 and 12 attended Englefeld School and the last year that the Sisters taught and resided in town. It was decided at a board meeting to allow girls to wear slacks in school during the cold winter months.
With Watson High School having better facilities, the Grades 11 and 12 were bused five miles each day for their classes. This left an enrolment of 187 students in Grades 1-10 with a staff of eight teachers.
In 1971, a vote was taken by the ratepayers to send the Grade 10 class to Watson and the result was 10 voted yes and 19 no. The Grade 10 class was offered typing in Watson; students would be conveyed by a bus during school hours.
The following year another vote was taken regarding the moving of the Grade 10 class to Watson. The result was 45 for staying in Englefeld and four for moving. The discussion was dropped.
With the population of the village growing it was necessary to add two rooms to the north of the new school in 1973. A playground was also built for the
enjoyment of the primary grades.
The following year a special meeting was called to discuss the flood protection of the village of Englefeld as proposed by the Conservation and Development of the R.M. This included building a dyke on the west side of the school running north and south. It has undoubtedly served its purpose.
In 1975, kindergarden was introduced into the schools under the Humboldt School Division. Mrs. B. Shindelka of Watson was the first teacher. To accommodate the 212 pupils from R-10, another two classrooms were adjoined to the north side of the school, making it an eight-classroom school. Several years later the school board, along with the town, added a gym, 54x74 feet, plus storage and a kitchen, 20x30 feet, to the north of the existing eight-classroom school.
In 1979, a new school act was passed, changing the age to 16 years before a child could quit school.
In 1980, the enrolment of the school was 173 pupils from 82 families. The next year the subject Accounting was offered in Watson for the Englefeld Grade 10 pupils to take.
In 1982, computers were introduced into the school for the students' use, and the next year, new classes: typewriting for Grade 9 and computer literacy for Grades 9 and 10. Eight typewriters and two computers were supplied by the unit for these classes. May 14, 1983, "Pitch-In" (cleaning up the town) was done by kindergarden to Grade 10. The town bought buns and wieners and the recreation board supplied the refreshments for the hardworking children and their teachers.
The band program which had been introduced into the school system years earlier, involved an average of 65 of the pupils from grades 6 to 10. The division mill rate was set at 61 mills in the 1987-88 term. A total of 113 pupils were enrolled from kindergarden to Grade 10, with 6% teachers on staff.