Self-Guided Tours — Westmeath

Click to Print This Page     See "Places of Interest"     See Map

Westmeath Public School S.S. No. 2


The original Westmeath Public schoolThe Public School in Westmeath, the village’s third public school in all, opened its doors to 115 students in 1906.

Preceded by two others, the first being built in 1854 on a lot donated by George Washington Tucker, founder of Westmeath. Rachel Stone from Prescott became the first teacher. She later married George Rex Tucker, a son of George Washington Tucker. The second was new school in 1886. An additional teacher, Millie Howe was hired.

Today’s existing school (1906) was a two-story red brick solid looking building with four classrooms and large halls. Both Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Grylls were teachers at the school. Until the early fifties, the teaching of secondary education was the Continuation school leading to Junior Matriculation. Afterwards students traveled by bus to Pembroke for their high school education.

The general shape of the school building hasn’t changed over the 100 years but there have been revisions. The front entrance was modified and the interior renovated several times. The basement became host to the Grades 7 and 8 classrooms.

Westmeath Public School. 2007.A 100th anniversary of a public school’s continuing existence anywhere is a rare occurrence and for the WPS, its 100th year was duly earmarked by the Renfrew County School Board as being significant. Principal Cindy Simpson and staff began preparations for a special celebration and In October 2005, members of the community were invited to become involved. Canada Day weekend was to be the Homecoming/Reunion. Pre-registration for the traditional BBQ Chicken and the Sunday Brunch dinners as well as commemorative clothing, Centennial booklets (Jane White) and Student Profile books (Bob Grylls) ensured no disappointments. Throughout the weekend, more than 600 people participated in various events, organized by a committee of 12. Many former students from as far away as California and Vancouver attended.

Interestingly the old school’s enrolment in 2006 was nearly equal to that in 1906. Both the school and students stood the test of time.


In this old school of hallowed halls
We all did learn by books and rote
And pupil’s art hung upon the walls
But a Golden Rule did win the vote

Came to learn and to learn they did
A few liked math but was mostly art
When an Inspector came, they all hid
Still this old school gave us our start

This place now has served the town
Continuing on for one whole century
Grandchildren too did study the noun
And even to excel in the Spelling Bee

In early days when travel was tough
They also held Continuation School
On to grade twelve, Latin was rough
No lights to see, log heating the rule

The boys did help with all the chores
Showing compliance to a way of life
All were able to achieve good scores
Continuing the studies despite the rife

Then came change with modern age
School was now grades one to eight
After going there, each turned a page
Our future is ahead we all had a date

This old school was a home to many
And at an age of one hundred years
Stands secure as a Canadian penny
And will be around without any fears

The teachers as well did come and go
So well respected and held in esteem
Teaching classes their personal motto
Leaving a mark like a warm sunbeam

Some kids excelled and went ahead
Others another route to live their life
No one discounting what we all read
Gathering of hope to defy one’s strife

Now we do gather for that special day
Recalling the charm of our old school
Allowing all our lives to be on display
To humbly abide by that Golden Rule