Richard F. Crocker:
Besides his duties as acting-principal Richard F. Crocker had to teach pedagogy,
psychology, school laws, agriculture and nature study in 1926-1927. May Brown,
who served as critic teacher as well as instructor of methods, history and literature,
retired at the end of the school year after twenty-seven years of service. "During
this long and faithful service," Crocker observed, Miss Brown had "endeared
herself to the people of the territory." Modeste Rossignol also retired
after "many years of faithful service.'' Her teaching schedule that last
year included geography, language arithmetic, spelling and writing. "Filling
the vacancies, adding new members to the faculty and raising both entrance and
graduation requirements had changed the school materially," Crocker noted.
Sara H. E. Doone, an experienced member of the M.T.S. faculty in the manual
training program, was appointed to the additional position of Dean of Women
in 1927-1928. Crocker dropped pedagogy from his personal teaching schedule,
and the course was picked up by Miss Helen Hance, B.A., who replaced Miss Brown
as critic teacher. She also taught reading. There were three other new members
of the faculty: Gladys E. Tibbetts (music, algebra), James Nowland (arithmetic,
general science, history, literature) and Emilie W. Bunker (arithmetic, geography,
language, reading, spelling, writing). Alice V. Russell, Velma Carter, Marion
Pinette and Amy Vance taught in the model school in 1926-1927. Russell, Carter
and Vance were replaced by Catherine Orcutt, Gertrude V. Davis and Eva Springer
the following year.
"It is gratifying to note the greater interest in well trained teachers,"
observed the new principal of M.T.S. This expanded interest had made it possible
to raise the entrance requirements here without affecting the enrollment materially."
"Higher standards," he felt, increased "the range of ... usefulness"
of the graduates, and this was confirmed by the "Splendid reports ... coming
in from other parts of the state and from other eastern states." For the
time being at least there was "a demand for all of our graduates."
The 1927 graduating class was small (9), but the 1928 class was considerably
larger (28). Overall enrollment increased in all three terms in 1927-1928 in
comparison to figures for 1926-1927.
There was a dramatic drop in the number of students entering the Training School
in 1929 (90) over 1928 (139). Mr. Crocker explained what had caused this decrease.
Over the preceding four years many new courses had been added to the curriculum,
whereas others had been dropped. The first year's work was "discontinued"
in the fall of 1929 in the hope that "more advance work may be added."
Crocker claimed, "It is these changes which have been responsible for the
decrease in enrollment." Because of a surplus of teachers Crocker had decided
to be "more selective in all phases of teacher training activities."
He was convinced, however, that there was "not likely to be a surplus of
high class teachers." As he reminded the State Commissioner of Education,
M.T.S. had been established "to administer to the peculiar needs"
of the Madawaska Territory, and as these needs became more like those found
throughout the rest of Maine, it seemed only logical that the "curriculum
should change accordingly, and without question, it will." He reported
to the commissioner, "We feel that these changes are justified and that
the growth is for the best educational interests of this part of Aroostook county."
The changes in curriculum were paralleled with changes in the faculty in both
the training school and model school departments. Angeline Morneault, A.B. (mathematics)
joined the M.T.S. faculty in the fall of 1928. Nellie Grinnel replaced Irene
W. Benn in domestic science the following autumn term. Claire A. Callaghan,
A.B. (physical education, history) and Helen P. Stinson were first employed
the same year. In the model school department Sarah Burpee was hired to teach
grades seven and eight in 1928-1929. There were no changes in the model school
the following year. Thanks to Mr. Crocker's demand for efficient fiscal management
of the dormitories, M.T.S. emerged on the credit side of the ledger in both
1928-1929 and 1929-1930.
There were 37 graduates in 1929, 30 in the graduating class of 1930 and 27
received diplomas in 1931. Regular class attendance was up slightly (96) in
1930-1931, partly attributed to new students being attracted to the physical
education program which was enlarged when a new gymnasium was officially transferred
to the school in January, 1929. Crocker would remark a year later, "The
Physical Education program has developed from a healthy beginning into an efficient
department, ministering to the needs of the whole student body." Miss Carlista
Mutty was hired as Physical Director, and she "manifested skill and efficiency
in teaching and coaching not only basketball, but also in Calesthenics, tennis
and archery...." On one occasion she is known to have said, "Try this
play. Aurore (Bouchard) and Juliette (Pelletier) stand behind your forewards...."
Other letter women on Miss Mutty's team were Florina Dufour, Alice Freeman,
Lena Frenette, Bertha Gallant, Irene Rioux, Elizabeth Gage, Irene Cyr and Maxine
(Max) Gagnon, president of the class of 1931.
Another reason enrollment was again increasing, according to Crocker, was the
addition of extra curricular activities. "Extra curricular activities have
also come into their own until every student is able to find some activity to
fill his particular need or like. The effect has been pronounced on the life
of the institution." For example, there was the school orchestra, under
the direction of Miss Sylvester, with its own student officers; a dramatics
group, which put on "Ici on Parle Francais" as the senior play in
1931; a girl's glee club, which put on a Christmas Cantata at M.T.S. hall that
year; and the Ever Ready Club, whose purpose was to provide the seniors with
Principal Crocker was optimistic about the future of the Fort Kent campus.
As he reported, "the fall of 1930 saw the institution faced by many needs.
In fact, the further development of the school waited on some of these issues."
But, things were improving. "It has been gratifying and encouraging to
see changes effected from time to time, which have practically solved the problems
of this nature." He considered the physical plant "at the present
writing ... all that could be desired." He noted "A slow but steady
and healthy growth" in attendance and found it "particularly gratifying"
to report a "splendid growth" in the Training School department, due
to improved facilities and the fact that "standards in general" had
been raised. Or, in his own words, "conditions in general have seemed to
demand greater selectivity and higher professional standards for our teacher
training institutions and the policies of the school have been molded with these
points in view."
The dormitories generated less income in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1932
than in the preceding year. This probably reflected a decrease in the number
of students living in the dormitories during the latter year. But, this was
not unique because all of the other normal schools, except Western Normal School,
followed the same trend.
A permanent alumni association was formed in the spring of 1931. Mr. Richard
F. Crocker was elected its first president. Mrs. Mary J. Desjardins became vice-president,
and Miss Marion Pinette served in the dual capacity of secretary and treasurer.
The executive committee was composed of alumni, faculty and student representatives.
"For some years the alumni have been taking more and more interest in the
welfare of the school," Crocker recalled. The newly formed alumni association,
he predicted, would "render a real service to both the institution and
The M.T.S. yearbook, The Arcadian, gives the modern reader a view of how students
viewed the faculty back in 1931. With Principal Crocker there was "no sidestepping
of issues. The student felt "free to present our problems" to him
and were "sure to get a wise and effective counsel in them all." Mr.
David Garceau they characterized in one line of a poem as "Eager for excellence
of execution." The Director of Training, Miss Edith M. Hawes, always had
"time to help in solving our greatest or most trifling problem." Of
Miss Angelina G. Morneault, then mathematics instructor, they said, "We
never question her decisions, for we know she always thinks the problem over
before presenting it to us." They were strongly influenced by Miss Antionette
Page, their French teacher. "This type of influence is bound to bring to
us a kind appreciation of not only the French language, but also the English
language." They asked a rhetorical question about their music director,
Mrs. Gladys Sylvester. "What would we do without music and what would we
do without Mrs. Sylvester?" To the students, Miss Eva Daigle, a graduate
of M.T.S. who had been called back to serve on the faculty, was especially able
"to see our handicaps and difficulties and to understand them." The
last two lines of a poem showed what they thought of Mrs. Levi S. Dow, the home
economics instructor. "We can live without books, but human folks can't
live without cooks."
Maxine Gagnon was president and valedictorian of the class of 1931. Irene Daigle
of Fort Kent was vice-president. Lilian St. Peter, known as "Billie"
to her twenty-six classmates, was class secretary, and Cora (Peggy) Picard served
as class treasurer. Other class members were: Imelda (Mel) Barron, Lena (Biz)
Frenette and Bertha (Puss) Gallant from Eagle Lake; Aurore (Dawn) Bouchard and
Florina (Flo) Dufour of Madawaska; Lillian (Lilly) Coulombe, Irene Daigle, Evangeline
(BiD Desjardins, Jeanette (Jean) Dubois, Lorette Pelletier, Mable Pelletier,
Loretta (Lonny) Pbelan, Irene (Tomboy) Rioux and Simonine (Frou) Robichaud of
Fort Kent; Bertha (Tootsie) Lajoie, Nora Ouellette and Monique (Mort) Dumond
of Van Buren; Sylvio Bouchard of Frenchville; Kenneth Joseph Goodwin of Rumford;
Adeline (Addie) McBriety of St. Francis; Nora (Red) O'Clair of St Agatha; Estelle
(Ted) Ouellette and Cora (Peggy) Picard of Grand Isle; Antoine (Tony) Picard
of St. David; and Nora Plourde of Keegan. Bertha Gallant delivered the salutatory
address. Kenneth Goodwin gave the class history. Adeline McBriety was the class
prophet. The class will was read by Imelda Barron, and Aurore Bouchard and Florina
Bouchard presented the class gift. The Arcadian was dedicated to Mr. Crocker.
There were several additions to the faculty and staff in 1931-1933. The only
faculty member with a M.A. was Edith M. Hawes, Director of Training. Kathryn
Ranney was hired as an assistant in domestic science. Frances W. Ouellette joined
the faculty as an instructor in English and Latin. The model school staff remained
the same: Yvonne Daigle, Marion Pinette, Loretta C. Daigle, Catheryn Hoctor,
and Belle B. Downes was still house mother. Grace A. Theriault was the school
secretary, and Jean O. Cyr and Arthur Marquis were the two janitors. The new
alumni association was supported by both past and present faculty. The boys
band of Edmundston, New Brunswick, was scheduled to play for alumni day. A report
that three alumni, Mr. George Cyr, Mrs. Fred Bouchard and Mrs. Fred Pinette
(Beatrice Bouchard), had died during that year was later corrected. "It
has since been found that the latter item was wrong. Mrs. Fred Pinette is enjoying
the best of health. It is a great satisfaction and relief to be able to make
The number of students registered in the Secondary Department at Madawaska
Training School in 1932-1933 was 61, and this figure increased to 70 in 1933-1934.
By contrast there were 29 pupils registered in the Normal Department in the
former year and only 21 in the latter year. The number graduated in 1933 was
29. For some reason Mr. Crocker did not include the number of graduates in 1934
in his report to the Commissioner of Education. Waneta T. Blake joined the M.T.S.
faculty as an English and Latin teacher in 1932-1933. Angelina M. Michaud was
hired the same year to teach mathematics and history. Courses in English, physical
education and health were assigned to another new instructor, Miss Emma K. Painter.
Also, Loretta D. Michaud took over grades five and six. There were no changes
in the faculty the following year.
In 1934 Mr. Crocker reviewed the changes that had taken place at M.T.S. since he had become principal in the fall of 1926. The school faced "many serious problems" then, he said. "All of the buildings were badly in need of repair and the heating plants were inefficient." There was no gym, and "all programs which depend upon such facilities were seriously handicapped." And, as far as he was concerned, the "work offered at the various levels of the school was far from satisfactory." Subsequently,' he had devised a "comprehensive foreword-looking program" in which goals were "laid out so as to cover several years," with a "definite amount of constructive work" to be accomplished each year. By 1934 he felt, "practically all of the changes have been effected, and the result is highly satisfactory." But, to him, "the most satisfactory feature" was knowing that the grade levels of the two departments had been raised to a point which compared "favorably with other schools of this type." A negative consequence of "raising the standards of entrance and exercising greater selectivity at all levels" had been a considerable reduction in enrollment "for the time being." This "materially increased" the per pupil cost, but to Crocker "the results will justify it." The past few years, he indicated had shown "a small but steady growth in numbers," and he expected as much as a fifty percent increase for the year ending 1935.
He hastened to point out that the expected increase would "not be at the
expense of quality," but instead represented "general recognition
on the part of the people of Madawaska Territory, of the improved conditions
here." He found this "display of confidence" to be especially
gratifying" and one which would "enable the institution to serve the
territory more adequately." As Vetal Cyr and Mary Nowland had often repeated
before him the educational problems in the St. John Valley were "unique,"
but M.T.S. would, as before, "make a determined and honest effort to solve
The "splendid work" accomplished in the Training School department
for the years 1932-1933 and 1933-1934 was singled out for "special mention"
by Mr. Crocker. "Greater and better opportunities have been offered and
the results are obvious," he said. He credited the training teachers for
having done "superior work," as evidenced in the elementary students
in the practice school making "greater progress than previously."
Indeed, when compared to national norms, these students had been "found
to be from one-half to three grades higher." This proved to him that "these
younger students are not handicapped by the practice teaching, but are actually
benefitted by superior instruction." Then, as later, many of the students
who found the elementary field "unattractive" went on to "institutions
of higher learning" to prepare to enter the secondary field. Crocker was
pleased to report, "a large number have already done so and are holding
responsible positions." Crocker issued a plea that must have sounded very
familiar to Maine legislators. "The outstanding need at the present time
is more money for library books," because the library at that time, in
his view, contained "only the barest necessities in the way of professional
literature." He argued, "The offerings here should be greatly enriched
at the earliest opportunity, any improvement here will be quickly reflected
in the work of the school."
A new faculty member in domestic science, Miss Rilla S. Dow, was hired for
1934-1935. That year a school paper, or newsletter, The Cauldron was initiated
with Austin Wiley as its editor. It reported the alumni's effort to raise funds
for a memorial window to be installed in honor of Miss Nowland. Sr. Mary Hermine
(Isabelle A. Martin, class of 1902) wrote a tribute to Miss Nowland in the alumni
edition of the Cauldron. In it she remembered her ex-principal as "a disciplinarian
second to none, firm, resolute, but kindhearted." The class of 1935 was
the first to graduate with two full years of normal training.
At the commencement exercises in 1935 Raoul J. Bourgoin delivered the salutatory
address: Florina F. Dufour, the essay; Jeannette O. Roy, the French declamation
"Les Trois Jours de Christophe Colomb;" John M. Kirk, the valedictory.
The class motto, colors and flower, respectively, were "Simplicity, Sincerity,
Service; .... Salmon and Silver;" and "Sweet Pea." On alumni
day Antonia Daigle gave the class prophecy; Edna Daigle, the class will; Barbara
Crocker, another French declamation "La Mort De Jeanne D'Arc."
There was a shortage of teachers in the Madawaska Territory in 1936, and even
though the graduating class numbered thirty-nine, several positions remained
unfilled, partly because several of the class "continued their studies."
The high rate of employment made Crocker feel optimistic. "We feel that
the demand both within and outside of the Territory is distinctly encouraging."
He believed that "much such success" had resulted from efforts the
last two years to "raise the standards of the school in all respects."
He commended the faculty for their efforts to improve themselves professionally
through "summer-school attendance, extension courses or resident study."
Miss Catherine Hoctor, for example, had been on leave of absence for two years
to upgrade herself professionally at the University of Maine. "Due to the
cooperation and enthusiasm,'' Crocker reported, "the rating and efficiency
of the faculty are being raised as rapidly as could be hoped for under present
conditions." But, he emphasized, "We can hardly expect the improvement
mentioned above to continue without some recognition in the way of better renumeration."
The salary schedule in Fort Kent was "in the lowest group in the state."
The Principal was convinced that "the time has come when it would be unfair
to faculty members and to the institution to ignore this situation."
Crocker's biennial report to the Commissioner of Education did not stop with
his support for faculty salary increases. "The efficiency of the school
cannot be raised through improvement of the professional standing of faculty
members alone." In addition to other needs, the school was "greatly
handicapped" by the lack of "facilities and equipment." He called
for an increased budget for textbooks and supplies. He labeled the library and
laboratory facilities as "entirely inadequate." Moreover, he said,
they "should be considered as two of our problems that need immediate consideration."
He tried to ease the impact of his demands by saying, "I am not unappreciative
of some of the difficulties and problems may attend some of the hopes for improvement
but I am certain that our needs justify the requests."
The 1936 Acadian was dedicated to Bertram E. Packard, State Commissioner of
Education. A new faculty member, not mentioned in Mr. Crocker's report, but
listed in the Acadian of that year was Floyd Powell, who was kept busy teaching
classes in General Science, Problems of Democracy, Penmanship, Educational Sociology
and World History as well as coaching basketball and baseball. A native of Danforth,
"Red" Powell had gone to Washington State Normal School where he starred
in football, basketball, track and tennis. He went to Pittsfield in 1928 to
teach geography and coach athletics. He returned to W.S.N.S. in the fall of
1930, played football and basketball, and graduated with honors in the class
of 1931. From 1931 to 1934 he taught physical education, biology, health and
general science at Washburn. He received a degree from the University of Maine
in 1935 and came to M.T.S. to mold a winning basketball team.
During his first season as coach M.T.S. played Ashland and Madawaska High Schools,
twice each; Van Buren High; Shead High School of Eastport; the Houlton Grads;
the Millinocket Magic City Five (a semipro team); Ricker Classical Institute;
F.S.N.S.; W.S.N.S. and A.S.N.S. The game with Aroostook State Normal School
was for the State Normal School championship, and the Fort Kent five won 40-20.
Members of the squad who attended the basketball banquet at Dickey Hall were
Lewis Bourgoin, Vernon Kent, Vin Marquis, Benny Picard, Oscar Martin, Clifford
Daigle, Levi Dow, Pete Dufour, Austin Wylie, Ronald Bouchard, Bill Dube, Emery
Soucy, Red Clark and John Barry. Letters and trophies went to Bourgoin, Kent,
Marquis, Picard, Martin and Daigle. Powell also coached the girls' team, which
played mostly inter-class and squad games, except for two games with Ashland
High and one with Ricker.
Austin W. Wylie was president of the class of 1936, and Maude Morin of St.
Agatha served as his vice-president. Lorraine (Snookie) Dufour was class secretary,
and the treasurer was Alphena Daigle, who came to M.T.S. from Regis College.
The class motto was "Magnificence Through Simplicity," and the class
colors were "Silver and the Roses." A number of the seniors belonged
to the Sons and Daughters of Madawaska, a club organized the latter part of
the 1934-1935 school year for those students whose parents, either father or
mother, had attended the Madawaska Training School for at least one year. Those
graduating in 1936 were: Leona (Lu) Bellefieur; Aurore (Dawn) Bouchard; Agatha
(Ti-Gat) Cyr; Antoinnette (Tony) Cyr; Corrine B. (Sunny) Cyr; Roa Dalgle; Lorraine
(Snookie) Dufour; Raynaldo A. (Pete) Dufour; Simone (Sim) Dufour; Theresa (Tess)
Langlais; Albina Y. (Bea) Marquis; Theresa B. (Tess) Martin; Maude Morin; Adrian
(Joe) Morneault; Camille (k'mil) Morneault; Yvette (Brownie) Nadeau; Cora (Ted)
O'Clair; Geneva (Geneve) Paradis; Anne (Piton) Parent; Kathieen (Kate) Pelletier;
Benoit (B.J.) Picard; Gilberte B. (Topsy) Picard; Juliette (Zet) Rioux; Janet
A. (Wiggles) Soucy; Lorette C. (Zazu) Soucy; Anne Marie Toussaint; Jeanne (Pesty)
Toussaint; Irene Vaillancourt; Anita (Nita) Babin; Juliette (Ju) Chasse; Bernadette
(Bern) Galbert; Juliette B. (Ju) Pelletier; Priscilla (Pris) Pinette; Agnes
(Aggie) Soucy; Blanche A. (Queen) St. Germaine; Frances (Frank) Wilverton; Alphena
(Phina) Daigle; Austin Wylie and Vernon (Vern) Kent. Frances Wolverton was the
only "downstater" in the class.
At the annual alumni meeting held at the gymnasium in 1936 it was decided that
the alumni day program for the following year would be dedicated to Miss Mary
P. Nowland, and that the memorial window would be installed at that time.
A facsimile of the memorial window dedicated to the memory of Mary P. Nowland
appeared on the cover of the 1937 Acadian. The yearbook itself was dedicated
to Miss Nowland, and Payson Smith, David Garceau, May Brown, Eleanor F. Welsh,
Sarah Doone and MarieAntoinnette Page wrote tributes in her honor.
The 1936-1937 basketball season at M.T.S. had several highlights. The schedule
opened with wins over the Fort Kent A.A., the Presque Isle Indians, and the
Van Buren A.A.. The first loss was to the State Normal School champs of Presque
Isle. A second win over the Presque Isle Indians and a victory over Ricker Junior
College p-receded a trip to the Maine Memorial Gym to play the University of
Maine Freshmen. Coach Powell blamed his team's loss on the Orono coach's use
of an eighteen man bench and the large playing surface. The "green and
gold" of M.T.S. next defeated Eastern State Normal School of Castine. "The
Flying Frenchmen" defeated Washington State Normal School in the first
game played in the new Machias gym. The return match with Ricker College was
the only game in which M.T.S. scored less than thirty points. Then Coach Powell's
team upset the highly-publicized Houlton "Spuds." This win was attributed
to "fine defensive play." Although Vernon Kent played "one of
the most brilliant all around games ever witnessed at Presque Isle," A.S.N.S.
defeated the Fort Kent team in a return match at Presque Isle. It proved to
be the last loss of the season.
"Will of the Wisp" Vin Marquis was shifted back to guard for the
home game with the Fort Fairfield A.A., previously undefeated. Marquis put on
a "dazzling exhibition of cutting, shooting, passing and all around effectiveness,"
and M.T.S. won 50-17. The schedule ended with a second win over W.S.N.S. and
two victories over the Washburn A.A. Seniors on the team were Vin Marquis, "whose
feats upon he basketball floor stamp him as one of the best players ever to
don the green and gold spangles;" Lewis (Tiwis) Bourgoin, who had led the
team in scoring for two years; and Vernon Kent, the team's center. The junior
varsity team compiled a 7-0 record in a schedule that included Limestone, Madawaska
and Van Buren high schools and the A. and P. Clerks. The girl's team beat Limestone,
lest to Ricker twice and tied Madawaska in a game played at Frenchville Hall.
Those not interested in athletics could join the glee club (Harmony Hall) or
try out for the school play, Mountain Mumps, a three act farce by Austin Goetz.
Helen Austin Leidy, of Fort Kent Mills, was valedictorian of the class of 1937.
Theora Savage, of St. Francis, was salutatorian, and Winnie Ouellette, of Keegan,
was honor essayist. The school orchestra played the opening march at graduation.
The chorus, composed of Normal I and Normal II students sang "Song of Courage"
and "Flower Song." The French essay, "Le Chef d'oeuvre de Dieu,"
was delivered by May Corbin. "Strive to Succeed" was the class motto.
The class flower was the "Sweet Pea," and the class colors chosen
were "Lavender and Yellow." Commissioner Packard gave out diplomas
to Henrietta J. Austin, Louis J. Bourgoin, Yvette M. Caron, May L. Corbin, Elodie
Cyr, Cecile M. Daigle, Clifford L. Daigle, Anne Marie Dufour, Albertine Jackson,
Helen A. Leidy, Venerard Marquis, Oscar R. Martin, Margaret M. Michaud, Gilda
M. Michaud, Agatha M. Morneault, Lucien J. Ouellette, Winnie M. Ouellette, Laurette
Pelletier, Loumay M. Pelletier, Nellie I. Roy, Yvette R. Saucier, Theora V.
Savage, Simone M. Sirois and Emery J. Soucy. All of the graduates were from
the St. John Valley. M.T.S. faculty attending the ceremony were Mr. Crocker,
Angeline M. Michaud, Marie-Antoinette Page, Floyd Powell, Cathryn R. Hoctor,
Waneta T. Blake, Rilla Dow (and her assistants in Domestic Science Geneva Paradis
and Dolores Marquis) and critic teachers Beulah M. Bradbury, Anne Marie Cyr,
Marion Pinette and Theresa Marquis.
One of the major events of the 1938 school year at M.T.S. was the May presentation
of the play Gypsy Queen. Mother Grunt, the gypsy queen, was played by Dolores
Saucier, and Lucienne Martin had the role of Rosalie. Bernice Dufour was the
Fairie Queen. A month later the seniors put on the play "Hold Everything,"
with class valedictorian Harold Rheinlander cast as Christopher Morgan. Arthur
Kelly, vice-president of the class and an honor student, played Tim Maculey.
Class president John Hoctor played Steve. Dolores Saucier, class secretary and
honor student, starred as Caroline Caruthers. The role of Courtney Barrett,
Jr. was played by Robert Marquis, president of the student council and class
treasurer. The class salutatorian, Barbara Crocker, was cast as Connie Morgan.
Two other students Velma Daigle and Lucien Dickner served as ticket and stage
In sports, as reported by special student Levi Dow, sports editor of the Acadian,
the men's basketball team played a seventeen game schedule, winning nine and
losing eight. The opposition was "a bit tougher" than usual, with
A.S.N.S., Gorham, Ricker, Maine Frosh and Farmington being the strongest teams
faced. Veterans John Hoctor, Herbert Ferris and Robert Marquis formed the nucleus
of the team. Other varsity members were O'Neil Doucette, Red Clark, Harold Rheinlander,
John Barry. Leslie Larson, Roland Cyr, Kenneth Roberts and Levi Dow. The girls
basketball team, as reported by Lily Cyr, girls' sports editor, "had more
defeats than victories." Two of the best guards were seniors, Eloise Cyr
and Dolores Saucier. The team managed only six points against Washburn and eight
against Ricker. The M.T.S. baseball team beat Van Buren 25-5 in their first
game of the year. This was followed by a 65 twelve inning loss to Ricker. They
lost another heartbreaker to A.S.N.S., 8-7. The usual lineup for M.T.S. Johnnie
Hoctor, catcher; Herbie Ferris, second base; Kenneth Roberts, third base; O'Neil
Doucette, shortstop; John Barry, left field; Red Clark, center field; Fred Desjardins,
Leo Albert and Wallace Bouchard shared the right field position; and Bud Farnham
and Robert Marquis alternated on the pitching mound and first base.
The Fort Kent municipal band provided the music for the alumni day picnic.
John M. Hoctor gave the class prophecy, and Dolores Saucier read the class will.
Roberta Ouellette and Robert Marquis were responsible for the class gifts. At
graduation the following day Velma T. Daig!e read her essay on "The Significance
of Horace Mann," after Barbara Crocker's salutatory address and the singing
of "On Comrades" by the Normal School chorus. Dr. Sidney B. Hall,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Richmond, Virginia, delivered his
address on "Knowledge is Power." Harold Rheinlander entitled his valedictory
speech "Tolerance." The class motto translated as "This Endeth
Our First Lesson." Those receiving diplomas were Roger R. Audibert, Barbara
E. Crocker, Eloise G. Cyr, Velma T. Daigle, Yvette Daigle, Fred A. Desjardin,
Lucien Dickner, O'Neil L. Doucette, Herbert L. Ferris, John M. Hoctor, Arthur
L. Kelley, Robert W. Marquis, Lucienne M. Martin, Laurine Ouellette, Lerette
M. Ouellette, Roberta A. Ouellette, Harold Rheinlander, Isabelle Raymond, Anita
M. Rossignol, Leontine Sirois, Delores L. Saucier, Estelle Vaillancourt, Dorothy
Only two of the twenty "hopefuls" who reported to coach Powell for
the 1938-1939 basketball season were veterans ("Red" Clark and "Flash"
Barry). The team still managed a 10-9 record, including wins over the Fort Kent
Lions and the St. John Valley All Stars. Clark led all scorers with 230 points
for the year. The girls had more veterans (twelve out of twenty) and compiled
a better percentage record, with five wins against a single loss. The squad
consisted of Etheline Michaud, Verna Pressley, Louise White, Joyce Ramsay, Rose
Marie Fournier, Dot Bradbury, Rhea Berube, Cecile Desjardins, Hope Crocker,
Bernice Dufour, Blanche Hebert, Fernand Cyr, Betty Leidy, Janice Far-nham, Marcella
Picard, Jerry Pelletier, Virginia Marquis, Theresa Bouchard, Ruth Crawford and
Kay Leidy. The girls' squad beat Caribou High School (twice), Presque Isle High
School, Hodgdon High School and split two games with Ricker.
The girls and boys glee club of M.T.S. presented a minstrel show in 1939 with
Howard Cousins as interlocutor. Background music was provided by Mrs. Gladys
Sylvester, piano; Thomas Thibedeau, saxophone; and Dube, violin. The end men
were Bud (Antiseptic) Pressley, Eddie (Asbestos) Hoctor, John (Pepsodent) Barry,
Bert (Synopses) Levesque and Claude (Red Cap) Belyea. There were also two end
girls, Verna (Lil' Liza) Pressley and Kay (Delilah) Leidy. Most of the profits
went to the Acadian fund, as did the money made from the senior play "Here
Lillie (Eulalie) Cyr of Madawaska was salutatorian and vice-president of the
1939 class, and Joyce (Joycie) Ramsay of Fort Kent was valedictorian and secretary.
Hermel (Herm) Daigle was class president, and Dorothy Bradbury was class treasurer.
Both were from Fort Kent. The "Yellow Rose" was the class flower,
"Black and Yellow" were chosen as the class colors, and the class
motto selected was "Willing to Try." Dr. Packard was on hand again
to hand out diplomas to Bernice C. Bourgoin, Dorothy Bradbury, Lilly Marie Cyr,
Hermel P. Daigle, Bernice Y. Dufour, Florence A. Guy, Janet W. Hutchinson, Philippa
M. Jandreau, Catherine D. Leidy, Bernadette R. Michaud, Abel A. Morneault, Juliette
A. Pelletier, Yvette G. Pelletier, Joyce Ramsay, Constance M. Sirois, Artheline
M. Theriault, Eudo E. Thibodeau, Theodore Brown. Eleven of the class were from
Fort Kent, and the remainder were from the usual towns along the St. John River.
Special memorial exercises in memory of Miss Mary P. Nowland were held on June
21, 1939, the Normal students began the ceremonies with musical rensitions of
"Let the Halls Resound in Song" and "The Lord is My Shepherd."
Dr. Bertram E. Packard, Commissioner of Education, gave the opening remarks,
followed by the State of Maine Song, sung by the Normal students. Official greetings
were offered by Hon. Lewis O. Barrows, Governor of Maine, and he was followed
by still another song by the Normal chorus, "The Perfect Day." Dr.
Payson Smith, then of the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University,
delivered the major address and unveiled the long-awaited memorial window. Dr.
Irenee R. Cyr, president of the alumni association, accepted the window on behalf
of his alma mater. The ceremonies closed with the Normal School chorus leading
the audience in singing the school song.
Several changes in faculty are noted in Principal Crocker's next biennial report.
Virginia Nadeau was now teaching French. Mr. Harry R. Tyler became the new Director
of Training, 1939-1940, and Ferne Lunt became the new Director of Physical Education
the same year. Ruth Gregory replaced Eleanor McKeen as critic teacher in grades
five and six.
Commenting on enrollment changes Mr. Crocker reported a drop from 166 to 141
for the period 1936-1938, but he was not alarmed by this. "The enrollment
varies some from year to year but there is no definite trend in this respect."
The average enrollment for the next two years, 1939-1940, was 155, which he
said was "about the variation shown over the past ten-year period."
The entrance exams used in the other state institutions were not used at Fort
Kent because Crocker felt such a general intelligence test had "little
reliability or validity where any language difficulty exists." Also, the
so-called Mort Report of 1934 had designated the northern part of Aroostook
County as "part of the area of low opportunity." Instead of the exams
used elsewhere, Crocker required an "acceptable scholastic record"
and a "confidential reference report" filled out by he principal of
the school fro,m which the prospective student came. Desirable Personality traits
checked were social maturity, work habits, personal habits, character "and
Graduates in 1939 and 1940 had no trouble obtaining teaching positions because
there was "a shortage of teachers in this territory at the present time."
Judging from "past experience and our present enrollment," however,
Crocker predicted, "it would appear that there will be no surplus during
the next two year period at least." Although some repairs and "small
improvements" had been made in recent years, and the school's physical
equipment was "in the best condition it has been for many years,"
Crocker pinpointed some "very real needs." "From the standpoint
of both professional material and fiction," for example, the library facilities
were "far from what they should be in an institution of this sort."
Laboratory facilities were considered to be "one of the greatest needs
of the moment..." The rooms were available, and Crocker felt "such
facilities" could be provided "for very reasonable expenditures."
As a result, he contended, "several parts of our program would be greatly
The class entering M.T.S. in the fall of 1939 was the first to go through a
"Freshman reception." Instead of beanies the freshmen were required
to wear green crepe paper bows "and woe to the unwary who were caught without
them." According to custom the freshman class planned an outing, the object
of which was to sneak away "without letting the sophomores find out about
it until it (was) too late to interfere. "One of the freshmen, Russell
(Cab) Collins was from Lansing, Michigan and came "well recommended as
a super star basketball and baseball man." He also played in the orchestra
at the Blue Moon Dance and Dine House. Three Franciscan sisters also enrolled
as special students at M.T.S. that fall. The newly formed Boys' Club sponsored
a Mardi Gras dance in February. Howard Cousins was interlocutor for the minstrel
show for the second year in a row. "A surprise feature" of the show,
"outstanding in its excellence," was a drum solo by Cab Collins, the
Cab Collins scored only four points in Coach Powell's opening win over the
Madawaska Boys' Club. But, he scored eight in a winning effort against Presque
Isle High School and "threw in two foul goals with the game practically
over" in the second game against P.I.H.S., won by M.T.S., 28-27. Powell's
"green and gold combine" continued their winning ways against the
Island Falls Tornadoes, the U. of M. Collegians, the "bearded warriors"
of the House of David, and an "astounding win" over Farmington Normal
School. Sixteen points down at half-time "Red" Powell's charges tied
up the game and won it in overtime. The next night M.T.S. was beaten by Gorham
Normal School, 44-42. The team split two games with A.S.N.S. and were "out-manned"
by the Maine Frosh. M.T.S. split with both W.S.N.S. and Ricker to close the
season. The girls' squad, with White, Michaud and Pressley at forward and Gustin,
Pelletier and Berube at guard, also "got off to a good start" with
twin wins over Presque Isle High School, followed by a 30-10 win over Ashland
High, before two one-point losses to Ricker and Hodgdon. Verna Pressley, high
scorer for the year, led Coach Lunt's team to a second impressive win over Ashland.
The president of the class of 1940 was Luther J. Bubar of Blaine. Howard Cousins,
later recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award, was vice-president and an honor
student. Rheta Long of Fort Kent was class secretary. Rita Violette of Van Buren
was class treasurer and valedictorian. Miss Blake probably insisted that the
class motto be kept in its original form "Conficimus Incipere." The
class colors were "White and Gold," and the class flower designated
was the "Rose." Leslie (Diji) Larson of Fort Kent delivered the salutatory
address. Dr. Edward J. Allen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the
University of Maine, addressed the graduates, and E.E. Roderick, Deputy Commissioner
of Education, conferred the diplomas. Degree recipients were: Guy Baker, Rhea
Berube, Luther Bubar, Howard Cousins, June Dechaine, Bertha Dube, Leonette Dube,
Mildred Dube, Cecile Dufour, Rita Dufour, Rowena Dumond, Anna Hebert, Blanche
Hebert, Berdick Labbe, Alice Labrie, Cecile Laplante, Leslie Larson, Rita Long,
Ludger Michaud, Bernice Nicknair, Ludger Ouellette, Onerine Ouellette, Lorraine
Pelletier, Joan Poirier, Verna Pressley, Claire Roy, Janet Roy, Arm Savage,
Florence Theriault, Annette Sylvian, Alfreda, Thibedeau and Rita Violette. Verna
Pressley, of Haynesville, lived the furthest from the St. John Valley.
By 1941 the annual minstrel show at M.T.S. had become one of the most papular
extra-curricular activities. Docite Nadeau replaced Howard Cousins as interlocutor.
Rita Cyr and Ruth Labbe were the end girls, and the end men were Orine Jacques,
Harvey Lacombe, Everett Beals, Kenneth Roberts, Wellinton Jamieson and Jackson
Laurence. There were thirty-nine students in the glee club. Others tried out
for the school play, Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters."
In her second year at M.T.S. Ferne Lunt expanded the athletic program to include
organized softball, badminton, volleyball, tennis and "physical education
work." Basketball, however, was still the core of the program. Coach Lunt's
team had a winning season, losing only one game to Houlton by one point. Etheline
(Mosquito) Michaud was captain and high scorer. Other squad members were Ruth
Libby, Jeanne Martin, Connie Ouellette, Clair Roy, Geraldine Pelletier, Fernande
(Fern) Cyr, Theresa Bouchard, Elizabeth (Purley Be) Leidy, Hope (Sis Goon) Crocker
and Louise White. Coach Powell's men's squad bad a winning year, despite losing
some veterans during the season. Two losses to W.S.N.S. and a defeat at the
hands of the Emerson Pills of Millinocket marred the season.
Lieutenant Raoul Bourgoin, class of 1935, was killed in 1940 when the army
pursuit plane he was piloting crashed in the fog at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.
He was en route to Langley Field, Virginia, after visiting his family in Frenchville.
After graduating from M.T.S. Bourgoin bad gone to the University of Maine, where
he played fullback on the football team and was co-captain of the basketball
team in his senior year. He had left his teaching-coaching position at Foxcroft
Academy for an "air career." James (Pop) Hoyt, president of the alumni
association in 1941, recalled Bourgoin's being "the ideal team man in sports
and in life, he was a combination of the highest ideals with a personality that
endeared him to all who knew him."
The 1941 Acadian was dedicated to Mrs. Gladys T. Sylvester, Music Director.
In return she wrote to the graduates, "You have been fortunate to have
had the valuable training which is given at M.T.S. Remember that the school
is and will be whole-heartedly interested in you and your future." Joan
(Jo) Dube of Plaisted was the class salutatorian, and Gerald Laurence of Mars
Hill was valedictorian. "Sans Peir," "Old Rose and Silver,"
and "American Beauty Rose," were the class motto, colors and flower,
respectively. Dr. Frank Wright was the graduation speaker. Other graduates receiving
diplomas were Priscilla Albert, Everett L. Beals, Jeannine Bouchard, Theresa
Bouchard, Mary Jane Daigle, Cecile Desjardins, Edna Dubois, Emma Dubois, Emma
Dumond, L. David Klein, Jeanne Martin, Etheline Michaud, Theresa Toussaint.
Even the annual minstrel show held at the M.T.S. gym in late 1941 reflected
the fact that the world was at war. Three of the end men, William Bonville,
Vaughn Allen and Jerry Long, were named "Liberty Bond," "Social
Bond," and "Security Bond." The other end men were Edgar Soucy,
Harvey Lacombe, Arthur St. Pierre, Laurence Roy and Alton Brown. End girls (the
Gold Dust Twins) were Hope Crocker and Roberta Austin. Other clubs and organizations
were the M.T.S. Girl's Glee Club, the M.T.S. AND M.M.S. Orchestra, the M.T.S.
Boy's Club, Le Cercle Acadien and the History Club.
In athletics Coach Ferne Lunt set up a point system by which the girls in the
physical education classes could earn class numerals, an "M", or the
State of Maine Seal. Points could be made in major sports (volleyball, basketball,
field hockey), minor sports (badminton, tennis, archery, table tennis, deck
tennis, golf, gym stunts) and miscellaneous other ways. A women's athletic council
was set up as well. The home towns of Coach Powell's male squad indicate that
M.T.S. was starting to draw more students from outside the St. John Valley:
Vaughn (Tweedie) Allen, Westfield; Henry (Hank) Lord, Waterville; Wilbur (Will)
Brady, Bangor; William (Bill) Bonville, Presque Isle; Harvey (Harv) Lacombe,
Madawaska; Wellington (Duke) Jamieson, Boston; John (Johnny) Wilier, Presque
Isle; Homer R. Ward, Limestone; Philip Laurence, Mars Hill; Benoit Levesque,
Fort Kent; Oreine (Jock) Jacques, Plaisted. The. baseball team had only five
veterans (Lacombe, catcher; Brady, Pitcher; Jamieson, first base; Lord, second
base; Laurence, left field). The schedule included Ricker, Presque Isle High,
Caribou High, W.S.N.S. and "other schools of Eastern Maine." The 1942
yearbook was dedicated to Mr. Powell. "To Red our coach, through victory
and defest .' -- he inducts spirit which makes us hard to beat."
Wellington H. Jamieson was president of the class of 1942. Bernice (Berns)
Greenier of Limestone was the class secretary. Sister Marie-Des-Leys, Sister
MarieEngelbert and Sister Marie-Beinvenu would be remembered by their classmates
for their role with the Red Cross War Fund. Other graduates were Phyllis Lauritson,
Carola Faye Day, Rita P. Bouchard, Gerald Chamberlain, Edgar Soucy, Violette
Blanchette, Fernande Cyr, Geneva Charette, Thelma Pelletier, Constance Ouellette,
Claudette Paradis, Gerard Beaulieu and Philis Laurence.
The faculty during the 1941-1942 school year included both new and old faces.
Floyd Powell was named Vice Principal and taught social science and physical
education. Principal Crocker was still in the classroom teaching science, psychology,
principles of education and school laws. Henry R. Tyler was still Director of
Training, and Gladys Sylvester was "the" music department. There were
two French instructors, Louis H. Thibodeau and Jeannette Bonville. Mrs. Cassius
Austin assisted Mrs. Rilla Dow in the Domestic Science area. Waneta Blake taught
her accustomed English and Latin. Angleine Michaud divided her teaching duties
between mathematics and art, and Ferne Lunt was responsible for English as well
as physical education classes. The critic teachers were Theresa Marquis, Marion
Pinette, Lucien Dickner and Frances Wolverton.
As Principal Crocker noted in his 1940-1942 report there was a decline in enrollment
for the two year period. Why? "First, there is little to attract young
people to the field of elementary education in this part of the state."
Second, there were other jobs then available, "with better salaries and
better working and living conditions." The third reason was out-migration.
"Thousands of people have left this area." Crocker predicted that
"these conditions will probably exist for the duration of the emergency."
From an enrollment of 163 in 1940 the student body decreased to 109 in 1942.
Still academic and professional standards had increased during the same time
span. According to Crocker, the students were better prepared and more carefully
selected than in the past. This, rather than curriculum changes, had led to
the raising of standards. Crocker felt it was not possible to estimate the shortage
of elementary teachers in Aroostook County until all the schools had opened.
He suggested that a summer session in 1943 "would help materially"
to relieve the shortage. For one thing older teachers would be encouraged to
"come in and renew their certificates, temporarily." Another possibility
would be to offer "extension work" during the regular school year.
Crocker stated positively, "We stand ready to do anything that we can to
help at this time."
When the executive board of the alumni association met in the spring of 1943
Mr. David Garceau moved that alumni day be "postponed indefinitely until
the war is over." The board agreed especially considering "transportation
as it was." The association then voted to publish a Newsette to provide
the alumni with the information usually conveyed during alumni day. Scott Ramsay,
president of the association, told his fellow alumni, "Due to food and
gas shortage this year we are omitting the usual alumni exercises and banquet."
He further expressed "Good wishes and good luck to all who serve, both
on the home front and in the battle zones." The Newsette contained a list
of alumni then known to be serving in "Uncle Sam's Forces.'' Eighty-four
names appeared on that list. The Bangor Daily News singled out the activities
of another alumna, Mattie Pinette, class of 1920, who was one of the first WAACS
assigned duty overseas on the African front. In fact the ship carrying Miss
Pinette to this assignment was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Atlantic.
Later officer Pinette was attached to General Eisenhower's headquarters, and
she was one of five WAACS present at the ten day military conference held at
Casablanca. John Barry, Leslie Caron, Howard Cousins and Vaughn Allen visited
their alma mater while home on furlough.
Principal Crocker made a "direct appeal" to the alumni, telling them
that the school was "facing a crisis in education," and that there
was "every likelihood" that many schools in Maine would not open in
the fall, "unless teachers now in the profession realize and accept their
full responsibilities." Even those teachers, and the "limited number"
of normal school and college graduates, would not be sufficient to "take
up the slack in the profession." The difference could be made up with "patriotic
citizens not now in the classrooms." He was sure that "many of you
(alumni not teaching) could secure the renewal of your. certificates without
too much trouble." He viewed the situation as "all but desperate."
He climaxed his appeal with these emotional words.' "Let us see to it that
no schools in Madawaska Territory fail to open next fall. Let us resolve that
no child is handicapped by losing his education opportunities even for a short
period of time. The challenge is thrown squarely into our laps. We must not
fail our youth in this their time of need." There was an immediate response
from Mrs. Dolores Marquis Powell, who first graduated in 1932 and was also a
member of the class of 1943. "This year I felt it my duty to aid in this
emergency because of the need for teachers. When many of my fellow alumni are
at the front fighting, I can also do my bit by teaching children of this section."
Appropriately the class colors in 1943 were the "Red, White and Blue."
The class motto was "Wisdom, Justice, Moderation," and the class flower
was the "Poppy." Honor parts were given to Harriet Goodbloed, valedictorian;
Elisabeth Leidy, salutatorian; Geraldine Pelletier, honor essayist; Theresa
Deschaines, French essayist; Sister Mary Patrick and Sister Mary John. The music
provided at the graduation ceremonies also reflected the fact that a war was
going on. For example, one of the selections sung by the Normal Chorus was "Sing!
Democracy Shall Never Fail." Other graduates receiving diplomas from Harry
V. Gilson were Jeanne Albert, Mary Jane Baker, Hope Crocker, Mary Furlong, Oriene
Jacques, Rita Labrie, Laurette Madore, Violette Michaud, Mildred Ouellette,
Priscilla Ouellette, Mabel Pelletier, Pearl Pelletier, Marcella Picard, Dolores
The war also brought about changes in the teaching staff in 1942-1943 and 1943-1944.
Crocker and Powell were the only males out of twelve teachers at M.T.S. and
M.M.S. in the former year, and the teaching staff, including critic teachers,
was further reduced to ten positions in the latter year, including four new
faces, Bernadette Nadeau (English, physical education), Maxine Page (French,
art), Frances Worthly (grades five and six) and Dawn S. Moirs (grades seven
There was one positive note reflected in Mr. Crocker's biennial report covering
the school years 1942-1943 and 1943-1944. The "gradual decline" in
enrollment seemed to have "hit bottom." He cautiously observed, "The
trend slight as it is, seems at this time to be definitely upward." One
of the reasons for this was that "Other jobs are less attractive than formerly."
Other reasons were "increased salaries, better teaching conditions, and
the prospect that these conditions will persist." The summer session that
he suggested for 1943 was held, and he personally taught the psychology course.
Floyd Powell taught social studies, and the other summer session faculty and
the courses they taught were: Waneta Blake (English), Yvonne Daigle (Methods),
Angeline Michaud (Art) and Edward Mc-Monagle (Education). Crocker was pleased
with the results. Attendance was good "considering conditions and the enrollments
at other institutions." He even suggested that "work of this nature
should be offered every other year, and oftener, if there is sufficient demand."
Crocker also sensed a "growing demand" for extension courses in the
area, and he preferred extension work to correspondence courses, although many
older teachers had been able to renew their certificates or obtain temporary
permits through a combination of summer school and correspondence courses. A
new approach, the use of "Cadet teachers," had made "a splendid
contribution during this emergency." He praised these cadet teachers for
their efforts. "They have been unselfish and untiring in their efforts
and have been appreciated in the various communities in which they have served."
Here was a variation of student teaching that might be adapted into the curriculum
on a permanent basis, for, as Crocker noted, "perhaps it would be worthwhile
to salvage and build over at least part of this program when the emergency has
ceased to exist."
Principal Crocker foresaw one of the effects of the ending of the war. "With
the ending of hostilities and the functioning of the GI Bill® all institutions
of higher learning are likely to be taxed to capacity." The second and
third floors of Dickey Hall, the boy's dormitory, were not then being used.
The dorm was badly in need of repair, very little having been done to it since
its completion on January 1, 1916. What Crocker was implying was that the legislature
should provide funds for repairs in anticipation of increased enrollment in
the post-war period. A greater need, in Crocker's mind, however, was to add
"another year of work at the earliest possible date and to follow this
with a fourth year as soon as possible." Being "out of line"
with the other Normal Schools created "curriculum difficulties which are
serious and detrimental to the best interests of teacher training."
The teaching faculty remained unchanged in 1944-1945, but there were some additions
to the support staff. Tinette B. Theriault was advanced from secretary to bursar,
Dolores Powell was hired as dining hall manager. Beatrice Bouchard served as
her assistant. Earnest Daigle was head janitor and his assistant was Edwin Bouchard.
Daigle left in January, 1946, and Bouchard was joined by his brother Philip
Crocker was disappointed about "lower than usual" enrollment figures
for the 1944-1945 and the 1945-1946 school years. Total enrollment was down
one-third from a maximum of 150 students. "Economics is still playing an
important role," he said, that is, teachers salaries were not attractive
enough to draw students. "It is difficult to compete with other lines of
endeavor, where salaries are so much more attractive." True, he admitted,
salaries were "better than formerly," but he shared the "general
feeling that they will be reduced as soon as the present boom comes to an end."
Needless to say, "Anything that will tend to discourage this attitude would
be very helpful."
In Crocker's view it was the "splendid devotion of the alumni" that
had helped ease the teacher shortage in Madawaska Territory. He again credited
the cadet teachers for their "wonderful contribution when the shortage
was at its worst." After all, they had "volunteered 100 percent for
this service," displayed a "splendid" attitude and "done
a much better job than expected." Although "some difficulties"
had been encountered in the program, he assured the Commissioner that "many
of them were eliminated and the others could have been in time." "Some
valuable lessons had been learned," and these would be "of great value
in the years to come."
M.T.S. had tried to add a third year of Normal training in the fall of 1945,
but had failed because "the need for teachers was so great that it was
impossible to find students enough to justify the added expense." But,
Crocker was still insistent that a third, and then a fourth year, of training
would come in time. "It is hoped that the school will be able to offer
four years of elementary teacher-training opportunities in the very near future.
I believe that it will be both possible and practical to do this just as soon
as the teacher shortage is less acute."
One interesting side effect of the war was the development of M.T.S.'s equivalent
of a Victory garden. Crocker recalled, "The farm ...has been a great help
to us during this period. It has enabled us to serve adequate amounts of nutritious
food, where many of these items were extremely difficult or impossible to secure
in the market." By providing a large part of its own food the school was
able to keep boarding costs down, "thereby allowing more students to get
an education." And, what was just as important, "these operations
have produced good profits each year." Because the athletic field was not
used during the war years, costs of maintenance had been little, and it was
estimated that it could he "put in shape.., at very little expense."
Additional income could be raised through extension courses, the demand for
which Crocker expected to increase because of the "inability of the University
of Maine to meet all of the requests, plus the great distances in the state...."
Seventy-two students attended the 1945 summer school, and their general reaction
was that the offerings were "practical and helpful." Besides the traditional
summer school offerings, work was offered to help teachers with "permits
and sanctions." Because the number of faculty involved was small, and some
of these did not have to be paid out of M.T.S. funds, the per pupil cost was
kept "within reason." Crocker, Powell and Blake were the only members
of the regular faculty who taught that summer. Three associates of the Bureau
of Health in Augusta (Margaret Dizney, Alonzo H. Garcelon and Dorothy Bryant);
Elizabeth Patterson, State Nutritionist, Augusta; Lucy W. Bull, State Department
of Education; Francis Woodburn, American Red Cross; James A. Hamlin; Alton Tozier;
a Daughter of Wisdom from St. Agatha and Phylis Rolfe of Washington State Normal
School were visiting instructors.
The M.T.S. library, the size and quality of which had been of concern to Vital
Cyr and Mary Nowland, as well as to Mr. Crocker, had grown to 3800 volumes,
exclusive of pamphlets and magazine and periodical subscriptions, by 1945-1946.
Housed on the second floor of the administration building, it was now an official
repository for U.S. government documents. Students had open shelf privileges.
The library was open 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. school days, and student aides were
on duty from 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. The library served as a study and
a reading hall, capable of seating fifty students. A make-shift card catalog
needed replacement. Exhibits of interest to special classes or work done as
classroom projects were often held in the library. Other specific needs, outside
of the library, were communicated in a separate report to the State Department
The alumni orchestra played the graduation march for the class of 1946. The
Normal Chorus sang "Life is a Song" and Montez Toujours," and
Normal II, "Waltz of the Flowers" and the class ode. Hilda Dumont
delivered the salutatory and Shirley Goodblood the valedictory. Esther Michaud
was scheduled to deliver the French essay, and Theresa Chamberland prepared
the honor essay. First honors also went to Sr. Alphonse-Marie, Sr. MarieTheresa
and Sr. Marie-Rita. The class motto was a widely-used one, "Excelsior."
The class colors were "Cerise and Gold," and the class flowers were
the "American Beauty and Yellow Rose." Harry V. Gilson addressed the
graduates and conferred their diplomas. Others in the sixteen member class were
Patricia Charette, Donaldine Cyr, Hilda Dumont, Bernadette Gagnier, Phoebe Goodblood,
Cecilia Jacques, Bonnie Jones, Harvey Lacombe, Laurette Lebel and Amber Savage.
The alumni supper-banquet was scheduled to be held at Camille's Place in 1949.
Guests had a choice of turkey or lobster at $1.50 a plate. Miss Lilian R. Michaud
of the faculty was in charge of entertainment. The opening number was a piano
solo by Josette Bourgoin. Clarence Labbe followed with a solo, "Slumber
on My Little Gypsey Sweetheart." Other soloists were Dolores Bouchard,
Norman Labhe, James Powell and Theresa Bourgoin. "Sweethearts" was
sung as a duet by Theresa Bourgoin and James Powell. Fred T. Bouchard, president
of the alumni association, greeted the group and introduced the master of ceremonies,
Mr. David Garceau. Principal Crocker greeted the audience in behalf of the M.T.S.
faculty and staff, and Mr. Norman Labbe, president of the class of 1949, offered
the response. The Mary Nowland Memorial Tablet was presented by Mr. Bouchard.
Mr. Harland Ladd, Commissioner of Education delivered the major address of,
the evening. At the business meeting Mr. Crocker read the names of alumni who
gave their lives for their country during World War II: Raoul Bourgoin, class
of 1935; Eudo Thibodeau, class of 1939; Wellington Jamieson, class of 1942;
Robert Leidy, M.M.S.; Carrol Labbe, M.M.S.; Omer Lozier, sophomore in 1922-1923;
Docite Nadeau, special student in 1940-1941; and Dorius Labbe.
A special report by members of the Board of Education who visited Fort Kent
in 1949-1950 indicated the neglect of maintenance during the war years. The
visitors were "shocked by the disgraceful, run-down condition of the buildings."
One of them observed, "They are not in fit condition to be used for school
purposes." It would take an estimated $100,000 to put the buildings back
in proper shape. The Board was "appreciative of the devoted personal and
educational leadership at the Madawaska Training School" and did not feel
that the "management" of M.T.S. was "entirely responsible for
this condition." Instead, they said, it was "due largely to the failure
of the state to appropriate necessary funds over the years for maintenance and
personnel." An exception, and the "bright spot," was the Domestic
Science Department, which had been "equipped by the state" over the
past three years. The Board members said the "problem must be faced and
settled promptly" because it was a "disgrace to the state to attempt
to continue this school in its present run down condition."
The Board of Education hoped to have some "definite recommendations"
to make regarding the future of M.T.S. by the time the next legislature met.
In the meantime Board members considered three possibilities. First, appropriate
up to $100,000 to "paint, repair and properly equip" the buildings
for "continued operation of the school." Second, tear down some of
the oldest buildings, stop the farm operations, close the dormitories, and run
the school on a "day basis." It was unrealistically suggested that
there were dormitory facilities available, "within a reasonable distance,"
at A.S.N.S. in Presque Isle. The third alternative was even more drastic, as
the Board was even considering closing M.T.S. completely as a state operated
school, selling it to the tow, of Fort Kent, "or to any group of interested
citizens at a reasonable price," and operate it as a town school - or "for
some other worthy purpose." The members of the Board seemed more interested
in cost per student statistics than in the quality of education being offered
at Fort Kent. The 1949-1950 enrollment at Fort Kent was 73, which meant the
net cost to the state of Maine was $750 per student. The average per student
cost over the previous eight years was even higher, $972.14. However, a "substantial
proportion" of the cost per pupil was being spent on the high school curriculum,
then in the process of being phased out.
The M.T.S. alumni association was apparently aware of the above report because
it set up a new "Legislations Committee," composed of David Garceau,
Peter Paul Dufour, Vital Daigle, Robert Marquis, Mrs. Roland Page and Mrs. Nellie
Foucher. "Lil" Michaud was again-responsible for the entertainment
for the supper-banquet at Camille's Place. Josette Bourgoin and Bernard St.
Peter each had a solo, and they joined their talents in the duet "You are
Free" from Friml's opera Appleblossoms. Doris Boucher and Dora Jean Jacques
also had vocal solos, and Fernande Cyr performed a piano solo. Fred T. Bouchard
introduced Mr. Bertrand Daigle as master of ceremonies. Principal Crocker made
his annual remarks, and Majorie Anderson responded as president of the graduating
class of 1950, and Mr. David Garceau, a member of the association's legislations
committee, then addressed the alumni and their guests.
Two days later a class of twenty-five received their diplomas from Leah C.
Anderson. According to the 1950 graduation program the class motto was "Labor
Conquers All Things," the class colors were "Forest Green and Silver,"
and the class flower was the "Daffodil." The glee club sang Handel's
"Largo." Fernande Cyr repeated her piano solo. Ermo Scott, Deputy
Commissioner of Education and future president of Farmington State Teachers
College, was the graduation speaker. The graduates had to wait for the glee
club to sing Schubert's "Ave Maria" before marching up to receive
their diplomas. Members of the class of 1950 follow: Marjorie Anderson, Rajeanne
Banville, Doris Boucher, Donaldine Cyr, Fernande Cyr, Gloria Cyr, Annette Daigle,
Pauline Daigle, Rachel Daigle, Ruth Daigle, Anne Marie Dufour, Hilda Dumont,
Clarence Labbe, Albina Marquis, George Martin, Joyce Mertes, Bernice Michaud,
Lillian Michaud, Sue Ellen Morris, Patricia Nadeau, Laurette Pelletier, Louella
Rioux, Priscilla Rioux, Louise Robichaud, Sr. M. Gabriel.
Finances were evidently a problem for the M.T.S. alumni association in 1951.
Programs were mimeographed rather than printed to save money, and the banquet
was replaced by a bring-your-own picnic. Mr. Crocker did agree to provide coffee
and beans. Arrangements were made to move into the gymnasium in case the weather
did not cooperate. Lilian Michaud, now vice-president of the alumni association,
and Mr. Crocker greeted old and new alumni on the appointed day. Carol Thompson
made the response for the graduating class. For entertainment Bernard St. Peter,
Elmer Lizotte and Dora Jean Jacques sang solos. Louis Daigle played a saxophone
solo and Romeo Nadeau performed "Valse Impromptu." Graduation was
on June 18, 1951, and each diploma was signed by Mr. Crocker and H. A. Ladd,
Commissioner of Education.
"Open Hearts; Open Hands" was the motto of the class of 1951. The
class colors chosen were "Crimson and Gold," and the class selected
the "Gladiola" as its flower . Bernard St. Peter's fine voice was
featured in a graduation solo. Dora Jean Jacques, Rinette Raymond, Alvia Charette
and Nina Morrison were selected for the double duet"Panis Angelicas."
Fred R. Dingley of Lee Academy and the State Board of Education gave the graduation
address, and Leah Emerson passed out diplomas to Azelie Ardenski, Alvia Charette,
Dora Jean Jacques, Ronald Jacques, Ernest LaFrance, Nina Morrison, Patsy Ouellette
Gilbert Powell, Rinette Raymond, Theresa Sylvain, Carrol Thompson and Bernard
The 1952 Acadian was dedicated to Miss Waneta Blake "in appreciation of
her untiring efforts and assistance in our behalf." The small but dedicated
faculty of the Training School was composed of Mr. Crocker, Coach Powell, Miss
Michaud (then serving as Director of Training), the two Gladys (Gould and Sylvester),
and, of course, Miss Blake. The critic teachers were Frances E. Worthley, Theresa
Marquis, Mrs. Mary Picard, Mrs. Dawn Moirs and Marion Pinette.
Seven of the twelve men on the M.T.S. varsity basketball squad were from Caribou:
Roger Jacques, Bill Malloy, Lewis Wyman and Ervine Churchill (all veterans)
and freshmen Mike Pelletier, Ted Thibodeau and Lee Wyman. Other veterans were
Elmer Lizotte, Val Plourde, Cliff McLaughlin and Shellie Lauritson. Two more
freshmen completed the roster of the team which compiled a 115 record, including
four wins over A.S.N.S. and a well played loss to the Maine Frosh in a prelim
played before the Bowdoin-Orono game. Leading scorers for the year were Ted
Thibodeau, Bill Malloy and Lew Wyman. The "small but mighty" M.T.S.
girls' squad, referred to by coach Red Powell as the "Jets," were
led by captain Joan Roberta Pelletier. The schedule included three games with
Madawaska High, two with Ashland, a game with the M.T.S. alumni and a single
game with the Edmundston Atomettes. M.T.S. finished the season with a 3-4 record.
Sqad members were Aurella Dubois, Joan R. Pelletier, Lucille Jandreau, May Ellen
Bourgoin Simone Babin, Joan Damond, Delores Desjardins, Cirlaine Foster, Laurette
Dubois, Lorette Bouchard and Roberta Michaud. Bernice Cyr was the manager and
Rita Dubois the assistant manager.
Student organizations in 1952 included the student council, the glee club,
the Sartadam (Outing Club) and the Cyr-Crocker Chapter of the F.T.A. There was
an activities council, and the Sons and Daughters of M.T.S. was reactivated.
Class officers in 1952 were Patrick Babin, president; Roger Jacques, vice-president;
and Audrey Hafford, secretary-treasurer. The class colors, flower and motto,
in that order were "Maroon and White," "Rose: nocturnal and ivory,"
and "From each according to his abilities To each according to his Needs."
The alumni banquet was re-instated and was presided over by alumni president
Lillian R. Michaud, who introduced Mr. Eloi Daigle, principal of M.H.S., as
master of ceremonies. Mr. Patrick Babin, class president and co-valedictorian,
responded to Mr. Crocker's greetings. Guest speaker was Mr. David Garceau, ex-faculty
member of M.T.S. and by then president of the First National Bank of Fort Kent.
Theresa Long, Elmer Lizotte and the graduating class literally sang for their
supper. At the business meeting Mr. Garceau gave an "impressive report"
on the efforts of Representative George Emile Morneault at the last session
of the legislature and credited Morneault with obtaining state monies for the
"maintenance and repair of the institution.'' Garceau went on to discuss
the "urgent need (for) the Madawaska Training School in the St. John Valley
and the splendid work it had accomplished. Among the older alumni returning
were Sophie Brown (1894), Theodule Albert (1898), Mrs. Laura Picard (1899),
Thomas Dufour (1902), Mrs. Emily B. Michaud (1905) and Joseph Theriault (1905).
Louis Daigle composed the graduation march for the class of 1952. The graduates
sang two songs at their own exercises. Leah C. Emerson brought greetings from
the State Board of Education. The graduation address was delivered by Ermo H.
Scott, Deputy Commissioner of Education. A certificate of merit was conferred
in absentia to Dr. Edward E. Roderick by Principal Crocker. The principal personally
conferred diplomas on Patrick Babin, Mary Ellen Bourgoin, Cora Mae Daigle, Louise
Alphonse Daigle (salutatorian), Charles Bayfield Gillis, Audrey H. Hafford,
Beatrice Patricia Jacques, Roger Patrick Jacques, Lorraine Jalbert, Elmer J.
Lizotte, Theresa D. Long, William E. Malloy, Clifton D. McLaughlin, Nellie Pelletier,
Valere R. Plourde, Louis A. Wyman.
Representatives of the State Board of Education visited the Fort Kent campus
again in 1952 and found "great improvement in the buildings and general
classroom appearance in comparison with their condition two years ago."
Still, "much remains to be done, especially in outside repair to the buildings."
Two of their previous recommendations had been carried out: farm operations
had ceased, and the dormitories had been closed. They claimed the change from
a boarding school to a day school had been "well received," pointing
out that "Students apparently have had no difficulty in securing board
and lodging in private families." Plans were made to have the three year
oourse at M.T.S. "so arranged" that the fourth year could be finished
by transferring to Aroostook State or one of the other teachers colleges. Enrollment
had dropped from seventy-five in 1950-1951 to fifty-three in 1951-1952, which
raised the cost per student figures for the same two years from $754.03 to $878.01.
No further recommendations, however, were made by the visiting team at that
time, and the legislative appropriation did increase from $48,203 in 1952-1953
to $53,454 in 1953-1954. But, in turn, the fall enrollment decreased from forty-eight
to forty-one the same two years, thereby raising the per student cost once again
from $970.80 to $1,253.85.
With money "realized through the last summer session group" and donations
from the alumni a sign was erected on Pleasant Street in honor of the school's
seventy-fifth birthday. In the alumni newsletter Mr. Crocker made a plea for
further donations for scholarships: Th legislature had increased the amount
available for scholarships from $25,000 to $50,000 for the biennium (1953-1954),
and this money was available to be used at Madawaska Training School as well
as the other teachers colleges. These scholarships were awarded to "promising
prospects and according to need," but could not exceed $200. It was the
feeling of the State Board that it was better to meet the threats of rising
costs with scholarships rather than by "reduction of, or elimination of
Even more money was needed for scholarships, Crocker argued. "It is most
unfortunate that there are many excellent teacher prospects in the State of
Maine who cannot enter the field of education because of the lack of finances."
This was "equally true" in the St. John Valley, he said. "It
is not only unfortunate for the individuals, but most unfortunate for the State
of Maine during this critical shortage. The situation is tragic from every angle."
The M.T.S. alumni, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club and the B.P.W. all subsequently
provided funds for, or granted, scholarships. The class of 1953 singing "In
a Monestary Garden" and group singing provided the entertainment at the
alumni qay ceremonies held at Camille's Place. L. R. Michaud gave the opening
greetings, and Mr. James Hoyt served as master of ceremonies. One of the things
Principal Crocker may have made reference to in his welcoming remarks was the
fact that the money appropriated by the legislature for special projects at
the teachers colleges included $13,900 for laboratory equipment at M.T.S. The
legislature had also set a new minimum salary schedule for teachers and that
might help attract students. Joan Roberta Pelletier responded for the class
Joan Rhona Pelletier wrote the words for the1953 class ode, set to the tune
"No Other Love." The first stanza was indicative of the loyalty felt
toward the institution. "Hail M.T.S. We honor you, to you our school so
loyal, fair and true. Holding always in our hearts high ideals, That you did
impart, every day, every way." At the Friday evening commencement exercises
Carolyn Labbe played the graduation march, and a special commencement chorus
sang "I'll Walk Beside You." A familiar figure, Leah C. Emerson, brought
the greetings of the State Beard. A second selection by the chorus, "The
Rosary," preceded the graduation address by Senator Lloyd T. Dunham. The
hall was decorated in the class colors, blue and gold, and the class flower,
the yellow rose. The class had selected "We Finish to Begin" as their
motto, Cirlaine Louise Fortin was valedictorian, and Doris Helen Michaud was
the 1953 salubatorian. Other graduates receiving diplomas from Mr. Crocker were;
Claudette J. Beaulieu, Jeanine J. Bouchard, Caroline Cyr, Rena Mae Dubois, Lucille
Anna Jandreau, Sheldon Louis Lauritson, Fernande Mary Arm Lebel, Joan Rhona
Pelletier, Joan Roberta Pelletier, Solange Ringuette, Marie Therese Tardif and
Lorraine N. Warman.
The M.T.S. biennial bulletin for 1954-55 depicted the new science laboratory
equipped with state funds "in answer to the growing demand for elementary
science and nature study in the grades." Courses were offered in biology
and the physical sciences, with the "greater emphasis on the biological
field because of the nature of the other curriculum offerings." The chemistry
and physic benches were piped for hot and cold water and gas. The microscope
benches were set up for use by individual students. Another area emphasized
in the bulletin was the student teaching program. There had been significant
changes in the laboratory school since it was built in 1909 and Miss Nellie
Teed (Mrs. Thomas Pinkham) and Miss Alice Buckman were the first critic teachers.
In 1954 there were 170 instructional days divided into two semesters. A semester
hour credit was given for a course meeting one fifty-five minute period per
week for seventeen weeks. Student teaching usually took place at the third year
level and lasted for eighteen weeks. Teaching experience at all grade levels
was required and was supervised by the Director of Training as well as critic
teachers Miss Fernande Cyr, Miss Irene Babin, Mrs. Mary Picard and Mrs. Dawn
The 1954-1955 bulletin also contained course descriptions, and a list of courses offered provides some insight into the philosophy of the school and the background of the instructors. Richard Crocker taught Elementary Psychology, Child and Adolescent Psychology and "the Sciences." Miss Blake was responsible for English Fundamentals, Childrens Literature and Teaching of English, Masterpieces of Literature, Principles of Education, Introduction to Teaching and Maine. Miss Michaud, Director of Training, divided her interests between The Child and Curriculum I and II, Principles and Techniques of Guidance and Art I and II. Mr. Powell's courses included Mathematics Methods, Recent History, American History -Pre-Civil War, American History Since 1865, American National Government, Elements of Geography, Principles of Economics and Principles of Sociology. Miss Gould taught Home Economics I and II as two semester courses. Home Economics III was a one semester course. Beth Economics II and III were open to the boys. A new instructor to replace Mrs. Sylvester and teach Music Methods I and II had not been hired before the bulletin was published.
Mrs. Gilbert Picard presided over the alumni day program in 1954, and "Pop" Hoyt repeated as master of ceremonies. Lloyd Soderberg responded for the graduating class. An original -poem was read by "a member" of the class of 1898. Entertainment consisted of class odes of past classes, and Norman Labbe led the group singing. Janice Johnston was pianist for the graduation program. The Normal Chorus performed "Whispering Hope" and "The Lord's Prayer." The annual greetings from the State Board of Education were offered by Fred R. Dingley, and the graduates were addressed by Howard L. Bowen, Associate Deputy Commissioner for Elementary Education. Bernice Cyr, Norma Levesque and Mrs. Gladys Sylvester wrote the words for the class ode, to the music of "Red Sails in the Sunset." As tradition class motto (Dies Diem Docat), class colors (Maroon and White) and class flower (Red Rose) were pre-selected. Graduates receiving diplomas were: Normande May Albert, Laurence Joseph Audibert, Simonne Babin, Laurette Bouchard, Bernice F. Cyr (salutatorian), Celina C. Cyr, Aurella Arm Dubois, Rita E. Dubois, Norma Joan Levesque, Elizabeth Gage Michaud, Dorilla Mae Rose Ouellette, Howard Albert Paradis, Christine P. Pelletier, June D. Roy, Barbara Arm Small, Lloyd Ralph Soderberg, Ted Thibodeau (valedictorian) and Lee Henry Wyman.
The year 1955 was a pivotal one in the history of the Madawaska Training School.
First, a fire caused by a short circuit in the electrical wiring leveled fifty-eight
year old Nowland Hall, which presented the State Board of Education, in face
of declining enrollments, with the decision to either close the school or expend
large sums of money to rebuild and expand the school in anticipation of attracting
new students. Second, Mr. Richard F. Crocker retired after forty-one years of
service, twenty-nine as principal.
Mr. Roger Paradis, presently professor of history and author of the history
of the campus, was editor of the 1955 Acadian, and appropriately the yearbook
was dedicated to Mr. Crocker as a "man of high vision and generous heart
who through his endearing efforts has instilled in us the realization of the
importance of education in the moulding of the future." Just as appropriate,
considering the fire, was part of Crocker's advice for the future. "There
can be no shirking of responsibility."
There were two new appointments in 1955. Antonia M. Ezzy of Van Bnren, a graduate
of the New England Conservatory of Music, was hired as Director of Musical Activities.
Mary Labbe joined Irene. 'abin, Fernande Cyr and Dawn Moirs on the laboratory
Miss Ezzy started a cheerleading squad, and uniforms were purchased out of
the girls' athletic fund. An athletic council had been established in part to
allot funds collected under the athletic fee. The M.T.S. quintet opened their
19541955 season against the "powerful" House of David team from East
Lansing, Michigan. A full Northeast College Conference schedule featured a 76-72
win over the University of New Brunswick. Returning veterans R. Smith, C. Albert,
F. Beal and Leon Hale formed the nucleus of the team. Other squad members were
A. Pelletier, Cliff Madore, P. Campbell, A. Cousins, and E. Paradis, manager.
Powell's "tiny" girls' team opened the season with five wins in a
row. Team members were Joan Dumond, Florence Dionne, Stella Michaud, Ralphine
Furrow, Florence Roy, Constance Murray, Janice Johnston, Ellen Pinette and Joan
Bouchard, manager. Florence Roy was crowned campus queen as well.
In early February the Bangor Daily News ran a picture of Miss Mary Picard and
some of her model school students (Bonnie White, Norman Marquis, Leila Drake,
Sandra Atkins and Doris Jalbert) recording poetry to be played back for English
correction. Two weeks later fire broke out in Nowland Hall shortly after noon.
Fortunately, only two people were in the building at the time. Crocker could
not give an on the spot estimate of the loss, but he indicated that it was covered
by insurance. Personal effects of faculty members (Blake, Gould, Michaud, Ezzy
and Moirs), however, were only partially covered by insurance. Fort Kent firemen
managed to confine the blaze to the one building, although some damage was done
to the model school when a burning wall collapsed outward. Ironically, the Hall
had been refurnished only five years before and Roused much of the domestic
science equipment. Subsequently, the Bangor Daily News ran a picture of the
campus showing the gap between the model school and the classroom building and
accompanied by the following caption, "Residents throughout Aroostook are
currently interested in the fate of Madawaska Training School. The State Legislature
is considering whether or not to close the school which trains northern Maine
students to teach."
As to be expected, the alumni association quickly come to the defense of their
alma mater. At a meeting of the executive board of the association Mr. Crocker
and Mr. Powell "came in and discussed possible ways of encouraging enrollment
at the M.T.S." A week later alumni president Maxine Page suggested that
the chamber of commerce be invited to the annual banquet for giving "so
much of their time and effort to promote the interests of the M. Training School."
The alumni newsletter started with an appeal for support. "Well M.T.S.
needs our aid--and as soon as possible. All alumni can help by attending the
alumni banquet and by taking an active part in the school's recruitment program."
About ninety had attended the banquet the year before, and they hoped to exceed
one hundred in this crucial year.
Recruitment was the key to the future. "It appears that the enrollment
of our alma mater must be increased and fast if this seventy-six year old institution
is to survive." The newsletter editor shared the thoughts of many when
he wrote a prophetic statement, "It would be tragic to see this northern
Aroostook school of higher learning die when not even a century old." Even
though "the chips have been down," the editor felt confident that
with help the future of the institution could be assured. "Are we going
to let a "FRIEND" down? We can help by becoming recruiters for M.T.S."
He set a goal of seventy-five students for the following fall, and thought this
was realistic seeing that preregistration for the summer session was at an all
time high of ninety. Moreover, "Increases during the next two years would
certainly be conducive toward the eventual establishment of a four year college
at Fort Kent." And, in a final plea, "Let us remove this dark cloud
that hovers over M.T.S. every legislative year. If we don't do anything now,
surely we are letting a friend down."
Alumni officers for that decisive year were Maxine Page, president; Patrick
Babin, vice-president; Nellie Pelletier, secretary; and Alvey Dubois, treasurer.
Floyd Powell was master of ceremonies at the banquet, and outgoing Principal
Richard Crocker addressed the alumni one last time in his official capacity.
The response was made by Armand Pelletier, vice-president of the class of 1955.
Mr. Vaughn Currier gave a report as chairman of the chamber of commerce education
committee. David Garceau spoke concerning alumni recruitment. The meeting ended
on a positive note with Norman Labbe leading the large crowd in group singing.
There were only eleven graduates in the class of 1955. The other two class
officers were Leon Hale, president and Joan Bouchard, secretary-treasurer. Also
graduating were Camille Albert, Sarah Bouchard, Gilberte Cyr, Janice Johnston,
Lola Lamare, Florence Roy, Dora Rutherford. Irene D. Baker was also a member
of this class.
A special assembly was held at the end of the 1955 summer session in honor of Mr. Crocker. Velma Daigle photographed Alvy Dubois presenting a gift to "his Principal'' and the photo appeared in the Bangor Daily News shortly thereafter. Dick Hennessy, reporter for the same paper, Maine's largest daily, interviewed Mr. Crocker the following fall and prepared an illustrated feature article on the state's northernmost institution of higher learning. As he reported about ninety-five percent of the elementary teachers in northern Aroostook had been trained at the Pleasant Street location, and yet "only an aggressive fight" by-the chamber of commerce had saved the institution when the legislature was seriously considering closing it down the previous March. The legislature considered seventy-five a minimum enrollment. The average enrollment of the past five years was only forty-nine, and only fifty-one had enrolled for the fall of 1956. Still, the legislature had approved of a change in name to Fort Kent State Normal School and promised a four year program if the enrollment could be increased to ninety.
Why save "old M.T.S.?" Hennessey provides us with the classic arguments that were to be repeated many times in the future. There were "some advantages" to going to a small school, he wrote. "With less than twenty in each of the three classes, individual classes were small." Besides, tuition was low, $100, and those within commuting distance could go to college in Fort Kent "for much less than if they had to live away from home." To Hennessey it was "obvious'' that if the school was closed down the elementary schools in the St. John Valley would be "hard pressed for teachers in a few years." He accurately observed a trend in education then in evidence throughout Maine. "While young graduate instructors may be willing to come to northern Maine to teach for a few years to gain valuable experience, most of them soon move on to jobs nearer home." Crocker must have impressed the following on Hennessey's mind: "Local citizens feel that the school's true value will be realized only after it has been closed and education in other parts of the state find out what residents of this area long have known."
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