A school rooted in the community, but open to all
If they could talk, the walls of the old Academy would bear witness to multiple aspects of a rich teaching tradition.
Sutton’s anglophone community had a special relationship with the Academy that it created by incorporating as a separate school board. A Home and School Association was established right from the start that organized parent/teacher meetings and lectures on educational themes. In the 1890s the Sutton Debating Society donated 300 books; more books followed through the years because the collection had doubled in size by 1922 — up to 600 items. And parents always responded whenever it came time to organize, manage or fund activities. Ralph Davidson explains this community involvement by the fact that decisions were made locally.
The Sutton Village School Board kept abreast of societal change. For example, in 1938 it purchased a Moving Picture Machine. The $600 needed to do that was financed through a $300 grant from the Department of Public Instruction and a donation from the Fisher Trust Foundation. The latter also rewarded academic achievement by providing scholarships to each year’s top students. In 1936, Jean Naylor was one of those recipients.
The Sutton Academy embraced the principle of Mens sana in corpore sano and incorporated structured sports activities into its curriculum. Sports days were held and students in all grades were required to participate in track and field. The school was part of the Bedford School District Athletic League, which organized competitions in towns across its territory. During the winter well-attended inter-city hockey games were held involving young people from Knowlton, Waterloo, Cowansville, Bedford and Farnham. For some, like Vincent Royea, sports were a lifeline.
Sutton hosted the 1931 Athletic League competition
Credit: Archives of the Société d'histoire de la Haute-Yamaska
Class of 1931
From (l) to (r), 1st row: Jenne, Lewis, Sherrer, Soles, Darrah, Reynolds, B. McKenny
From (l) to (r), 2nd row: Dyer, Mudgett, Kerby, Flannery, O'Reagan, Fadden, Crowell
3rd row: Hawley, Tuker, Dyer, Vincent, Perkins, Reid
Credit: Héritage Sutton Archives