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Patricia has fond memories of PSG

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Patricia Hall was heartbroken in 1957, when she didn't get into Berkeley Institute.

At that time, girls who didn't get accepted into Berkeley were sent to Prospect Secondary School for Girls, which some considered a second-tier institution.

However Mrs Hall flourished at PSG, where she eventually became head girl.

At 67 years old she still carries a torch for her school, despite its closure several decades ago and has captured its history in a book called 'Fond Recollections'.

“One day I was listening to a radio announcer talk about our education system,” said Mrs Hall. “I said to myself, 'I wonder how many people know about my school?' PSG was striving in the 1950s and 1960s. I thought maybe I would write a book about it to capture the history.”

When she started at the school at the age of 13, it represented an amalgamation of an arts and crafts school that had been located at Alaska Hall in Hamilton, and a sewing school in Prospect run by May Francis. The first head mistress was Dorothy Thompson.

“I have heard that at Berkeley sometimes the teachers would threaten that if you didn't do better you would have to go to PSG, as if it was a bad thing. We had girls who transferred from some of the other schools who weren't doing well academically and excelled when they came to our school. The teachers were dedicated and spent a lot of time with you. They made sure that no child was left behind. They wanted you to excel.”

Students took various examinations including the General Secondary School Certificate, Pittman and Royal Society of Arts in forms four and five.

There was a heavy emphasis on domestic science and home economics, but students also learned mathematics, art, typing and commercial shorthand.

“I was able to pass all of my 12 subjects but the one most important to me was religious knowledge,” said Mrs Hall. “I excelled in that. What I liked about the school was that it was a family affair. Everyone knew everyone and the teachers were dedicated to our progress. We were like their children to them and they were preparing us for life.”

Georgine Hill taught art and Carol Hill taught speech and drama. Other teachers included Gloria Wilson and Norma Astwood. Austin Thomas taught music.

“My favourite teacher was Iris Marsh,” said Mrs Hall. “She was our homeroom and music teacher. Whenever the choir had to go out and sing she was the choir director and played the music. I liked that she always got very into the music and very emotional. She always made the music period lots of fun. She would teach us rounds and different things. She was a jolly lady, not necessarily eccentric, but she would really get into it. Georgine Hill was my favourite art teacher. She was special to me because she was a motherly figure. She always made you feel special. Up to today she remains an inspiration in my life.”

Mrs Hall felt the school prepared her well for her adult life, by teaching her how to cook, care for herself, sew and interact with other people.

She graduated in 1961. To be elected head girl, students had to spend a week campaigning and were chosen by their fellow students. They had to have good grades and good behaviour to hold the position. If their grades or behaviour changed, their badge would be removed. One of her duties as head girl was to round up the girls from a nearby tuck shop every afternoon.

“At no time were we allowed to leave the school without written permission, but we would go down to the tuck shop for fishcakes, gingerbread and all that sort of stuff,” said Mrs Hall. “We would go to check out the boys. The boys would come to the tuck shop from nearby Technical Institute and Robert Crawford School. When the bell rang I had to shoo the girls back to school. When the boys saw me coming they would rev up their mobylettes and take off. If the girls came late from the tuck shop they would be penalised with detention.”

The girls wore green and blue uniforms that had to fall below the knee. They took great pride in starching their uniforms and keeping them neat.

“The girls would try to see how stiff they could get their uniforms,” said Mrs Hall. “Sometimes they were so stiff if you took the skirt off it would stand up.”

They had to make their own gown for graduation. They were not allowed to purchase one.

Mrs Hall came from a religious family. Her parents were Bishop Charles Foster Fubler and Phyllis Fubler.

“We were Pentecostal, and at that time Pentecostals shied away from listening to worldly music or going to the dance hall,” she said. “When it came to my time I was not allowed to go to the prom, but I was still able to help the girls fix up the hall.”

Her sister Viola Fubler Robinson also attended and was a head girl.

'Fond Recollections' was printed locally with help from David Wellman of Omax Graphics and Bob Croft of Total Print Solutions. It was sent abroad to be bound.

“It took me four years to write it,” she said. “I called around for pictures. The teachers and former students submitted some of their stories. I have a special section called Look At Us Now looking at where the girls are now.”

The school closed in the 1970s and was later bulldozed. Former students held a reunion only a few months ago. Some well known PSG graduates include assistant Cabinet Secretary Judith Hall Bean, Senate President Carol Anne Bassett and City of Hamilton Alderman Gwyneth Rawlins.

“You can find alumni in all parts of the community,” Mrs Hall said. “Our motto was education for service.”

For information about the book, call Mrs Hall on 292-4653 or e-mail midnight@northrock.bm . There is also a Facebook page called Prospect Secondary School for Girls.

Patricia Hall the author of Fond Recollections of Prospect Secondary School for Girls (Photo by Glenn Tucker)
Patricia Hall the author of Fond Recollections of Prospect Secondary School for Girls (Photo by Glenn Tucker)
Prospect Secondary School for girls first staff photo 1958
Prospect Secondary School for girls first class photo 1958

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Published April 09, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 08, 2013 at 6:26 pm)

Patricia has fond memories of PSG

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