Markdale high school memories abound in the 1925-26 edition of The Red and Black Tattler, the yearbook for the former high school in this Grey County community.
It's that time of year again. Youngsters from Grey and Bruce are about to start their summer vacation. Amid the excitement of two months away from school and the tension about the marks on the final report card, another school tradition is taking place.
The students have received their annual yearbooks. These publications are a wonderful source of memories. This week I discovered a yearbook from a local high school which no longer exists, except in the high school memories of the students who attended Markdale High School.
The Markdale High School yearbook was called The Red and Black Tattler. The edition I discovered was from the 1925-26 school term. It is a small red and black book and its contents are similar to what students in 2000 will find in their yearbooks. However, a perusal of the 1925-26 book illustrates valuable information about life during that era of Grey County’s history.
The first section of the 1925-26 edition contains essays about the issues that were important to the young people of that era. Ironically, their concerns were little different from those of the youth of today. The environment was important and the first essay in the publication pertains to the issues surrounding the question of reforestation. The impact of the First World War must have been a hot topic at that time because the next six essays are about the peace movement.
The second section is devoted to that year's graduates. Entitled Alumni, this page lists the names of the graduates and what they were planning for their future careers. The former students from Markdale were headed into many different directions. However, normal schools and nursing schools seemed to be the preferred destination for most of Markdale High School's graduates.
Another part of The Red and Black Tattler was entitled the Exchange Department.
This was a forum for providing information to students who were about to embark on life after school. One letter, written by Edwin Herbert Gray, talked about the meaning of life. Gray ended his letter with a poem of instruction for the graduates:
"Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.
The Red and Black Tattler also had a lighter side. There was an extensive section about boys' athletics in which the feats of the baseball and hockey teams were extolled. The girls' athletics also received coverage about their hockey and baseball teams. Another section contains jokes which had been submitted by the students.
School yearbooks are a valuable source of information about life in our region, not to mention a wonderful way to re-kindle high school memories. The 1925-26 edition of Markdale High School's Red and Black Tattler is available for viewing at the Grey County Archives.
A version of "Markdale High School Memories" originally appeared in my Local History column in the June 23, 2000 edition of the Owen Sound Sun Times.