A Century of Educational Service

An Academy in the heart of the village

In 1885 District No. 4 of the Sutton Township School Board became a distinct school board for the purpose of building a school in the village that would provide a complete education from Grades 1 through 11.

Work on the new school started in 1885 on a lot acquired from Stuart Scofield for $550. After the initial contract was cancelled, entrepreneur and sawmill owner Frederick Albyn Olmstead took over the project.  The final cost of construction was $2,700.

24 - 2 1886

Sutton Academy as it was from 1886 to 1922
Credit: Héritage Sutton Archives, postcards collection

Sutton Model School (which would be rechristened Sutton Academy six years later), welcomed its first students in January of 1887. W. H. Hibbard was named Principal. His salary was paid through a $200 grant from the Québec Government and student enrolment fees.

24 1 1886

The new school was a plain, but harmoniously-proportioned structure that simultaneously housed primary school children and secondary school teenagers. The number of students increased all through the first quarter of the 20th Century, making it necessary to enlarge the building.

Credit: Héritage Sutton Archives, postcards collection

25 Commissaires

Commissioners of the Sutton Village School Board, circa 1900.
Standing: Leon E. Dyer, N.J. Sweet.
Seated, from (l) to (r) right: H. Dyer, F.A. Olmstead, H.O. Regan, L.L. Jeanne
Credit: Héritage Sutton Archives

In 1922 Sutton Academy, which had become Sutton High School in 1917, doubled in size. Three classrooms were added, along with a dining room to eat in and a library. The Sutton Village School Board received a $500 grant for each of the rooms that were added. The total investment was almost $8,000; the school board borrowed $6,000 at a rate of 6%.

26 1922

The Sutton Academy in all its glory after the1922 expansion
Credit: Héritage Sutton Archives, postcards collection

At the elementary level Sutton Academy only served village children, but at the secondary level it welcomed young people from across the township, including those whose primary studies had been in the rural schools.

Jean Naylor, who is 98 today, tells us that after attending West Sutton School (on chemin Dyer near chemin Alderbrooke) until the mid-1930s, she hitched up a buggy morning and night to go with her sister to the village high school. Margaret Douglas did the same after North Sutton School closed. She tells us:

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29 Naylor

Jean Naylor and her horse; with her sister Margaret and their dog
Credit: Jean Naylor Archives

For Vincent Royea, attending the Sutton High School in the village changed his life:

Not all the young people in Sutton went to high school there, though. Some families chose to send their children to classes in Knowlton. Nancy Shepard Douglas, who attended Sutton High School in the village for 11 years, and Ralph Davidson, who took advantage of all that Knowlton had to offer, explain why: