A new book tells the long, storied history of Red Deer’s educational roots.
A launch event will be held at 8 p.m. this Wednesday at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery for Pathways to Education in Red Deer, authored by Robert Lampard, Henry Lee Wostenberg, Mary Gardiner, Paul Gowans, Michael Dawe and the late Don Hepburn.
The book has been about a decade in the making, explained Lampard, who is the book’s publisher. In 2011 or 2012, the Central Alberta Historical Society’s publication committee, then led by Don Hepburn, discussed topics involving Red Deer that had not been adequately covered.
“They came up with the fact that only two books had been written on schools in Red Deer and the surrounding area, but there were a lot of schools that had never been identified, covered or even researched,” said Lampard.
“The project became about looking at the early schools, which over time have coalesced into the public and the Catholic systems of today.”
Lampard said this project is unique, adding he has not come across any books that highlight early education in their communities like Pathways to Education in Red Deer does.
“I think the initial intrigue (of the project) was wondering, ‘How could there be (eight) schools in one small community that had less than 2,500?’ This all started before 1930,” he said.
“I think there are a number of reasons as to why there were so many. But in the end, it was the willingness of the community, the support of the community and the quality of the teaching that has made the difference, leading to a very comprehensive educational system in Red Deer.”
Red Deer’s location between Calgary and Edmonton, as well as its accessibility to the railway system were factors as well, Lampard added.
“Education has always been an identifiable and important activity in Red Deer, more so than other communities, and it’s been well managed,” he said.
The most sensitive chapter in the book will focus on the Red Deer Industrial School, which was a residential school that opened in 1893, noted Lampard.
Lampard said 350 copies of the book have been made – more than 150 have been committed so far.
Anyone who is interested in purchasing a copy of the book for $20 is asked to contact one of the following authors: Robert Lampard (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mary Gardiner (email@example.com), Paul Gowans (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Henry Wostenberg (email@example.com).