SJR, 1976

In 1975 I left Gordon Bell and moved to St. John's Ravenscourt. The Junior Mathematics Contest had recently changed the team size from three to five students. (This lasted until 1982 when the JMC morphed into Pascal, Cayley and Fermat and the team size went back to being three.) By this time I felt myself to be an old hand at coaching students for contests. We did not win the JMC that first year (1975-76) but we did have the top individual in Canada: Andrew Gelman, a boarding student from Ottawa. Our team was first in Manitoba and either 3rd or 4th in Canada -- I can no longer remember which. But headmaster John Schaffter was delighted with the fact that we had almost forty students who made the various honour rolls -- National, Provincial and Zone. He called in a professional photographer to take a group picture of these students. The five team members are standing at the front. If my memory is correct they were (from L to R) Martin Band, Jack Raleigh, Gregor Smith, Julian Betts and Andrew Gelman. Near the end of the year John Schaffter hosted a gigantic party at house for the honour roll students and their parents, It was a marvelous evening. The students who were in Grades 8, 9, and 10 (and, yes, we did have a few Grade 8s on some of the honour rolls) were inspired to do even better the next year.

A similar stairway picture exists showing the honour roll students of 1976-77. A copy of it used to be on the wall outside the mathematics office in SJR. I wonder if it is still there. It was John Schaffter's intention to have a stairway picture of the honour roll students taken every year, but at the end of 1977 he left SJR and went to St. Michael's University School in Victoria. No more stairway pictures were taken.

One thing that some might find interesting in this picture is that the students are well dressed but not in uniform. John Schaffter is remembered for admitting girls to what had once been a boys' school. Most people have forgotten that he also did away with the school uniform and replaced it with a dress code. That decision was reversed a few years after he left.