The year 2020: in addition to being the 175th Anniversary of the founding of Albert County, this year also marks the 115th Anniversary of the opening of the Riverside Consolidated School in Riverside-Albert.
In September 1905, 225 students filed through the doors and experienced the most modern facilities and equipment available at the time. The Grammar School for Albert County, as it was called then, had five departments and a staff of seven teachers. Students could take courses to prepare for University Matriculation or Normal School entrance. Other departments included Household or Domestic Science, Manual Training, School of Gardening and Natural Science (which supported working in agriculture).
Although classes began in September 1905, the formal opening ceremony took place on June 15, 1906. New Brunswick’s Premier L. Tweedie and J. R. Inch, Chief Superintendent of Education, as well as other officials arrived by way of the Wilfred C. steamer, at the Riverside Wharf. They were greeted by the Hon. A. R. McClelan and the “Albert Drum and Bugle Band” performed.
Since 1905, Riverside Consolidated School (RCS) has provided a sound education and prepared students to enter many professions and occupations, and become respected community citizens and leaders. RCS has experienced many changes from its days when high school graduations were held in the auditorium. The school now just has students from kindergarten through grade five. However, some things have not changed. RCS still stands on its original location, looking much the same as it did in 1905, and still provides the best education possible to the students who enter its doors.
Riverside Consolidated School was formally designated as a Provincial Heritage Place in 1997 and in 2005 was registered as a Historic Place in Canada. Riverside Consolidated is the oldest consolidated school still in use in the province and perhaps in all of Canada!
On a personal note...RCS will forever hold a special place in my heart. I have nothing but fond memories and an appreciation for the education I received while at RCS from grades one through ten. I was very blessed to have enjoyed a teaching career at RCS for 30 years. In fact, I still get a feeling of home when I walk into the front foyer!
I’m certainly not alone in my sentiments because during the extraordinary attendance at the 2005 RCS 100th Anniversary celebrations, it was clear that former students and teachers also feel a special connection to RCS and hold many dear memories of their school days.
We respect the honoured history of Riverside Consolidated and its deep roots in our recent history, but today we see RCS as an important symbol of confidence in the future of our rural community.