Ray LeNeal

This is a picture I took of Ray LeNeal, the Snow Lake principal. He was wonderfully supportive of his inexperienced teachers. It was a staff of about 30 and almost all of us had no experience at all. Most of the elementary school teachers were still in their teens, having finished a one year teacher training course after Grade 12. One of the two Grade 5 teachers, who had finished high school early, was just turning 18 as the school year started. In my second year there, the median age of the staff was 22. In my first year I was yearbook advisor, and ended up being yearbook photographer as well. It was in that capacity that I took this picture, which I have always liked. My friend and colleague, Murray Colp, and I shared a two bedroom apartment. Ray and his wife Esther lived almost next door and became very good friends of ours. A few years later, in 1974, I spent part of the summer travelling through Europe with Ray and Esther and their two young children. (A third was to arrive later.)

After two years in Snow Lake I took the 1969-70 year off and returned to university for an M.Sc. degree in mathematics which I was able to complete in one calendar year. These days students seem to spend two or three or even four years getting that degree. Have the requirements become more onerous, are they just less focused than I was? It was a very intense year but I was determined to finish by the end of August so I could resume my teaching career. In September of 1970 I accepted a job at Gordon Bell High School and became one of many teachers in the vast Winnipeg School Division.