Balfour ... Through the Years

 Balfour Technical School ... Balfour Commercial High School ... Balfour Collegiate - A Historical Look Back

Tradition pervades life at Balfour Collegiate. One encounters it in every contact with the school and, from one's first introduction to the school, it becomes the definitive element of a student's high school experience.

Balfour was designed by the prominent architectural firm of Storey & Van Egmond.  Balfour Technical School opened in 1930, as two schools in one:  Balfour Technical School and Balfour Commercial High School.  Balfour is now into its 83rd year of education excellence!  The program offered at Balfour had its beginning in the 1920s with the passage of the Vocational Act, by which the Federal Government undertook to help the provinces in the development of vocational education.  Today, Balfour Collegiate offers a full range of educational services to approximately 900 students in grades 9 to 12.

 

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Balfour, the finest school of its type, started classes on September 2, 1930 with approximately 640 students. Because of poor economic conditions during the depression, social life for both teachers and students revolved around the school.  Every facility was used to the utmost from early morning till nine-thirty p.m. when night school closed.

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 click on the thumbnails above for a larger image

 The Second World War had an impact on everyone at Balfour Technical School. During the war the school became a community centre and offered a pre-employment program at night and on weekends called the "War Emergency Training Program." Balfour students and alumni enlisted in the Canadian Military: many were killed or wounded in action.  A monument in the Balfour foyer honours those who gave their lives in the Second World War.

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With the end of the war, many ex-service personnel returned to Regina.  Balfour was more crowded than ever before.  One thousand five hundred students enrolled at the school attending one of three shifts: morning, day or night.  It was in the fifties that Balfour was enlarged and the equipment modernized.  The school became a model for comprehensive schools throughout the whole country.

In 1961 a new addition was opened which doubled the capacity of the building and allowed all the students to attend classes during the regular school day.  The new facilities and program provided students with the education necessary to move into employment and to further education in numbers unequalled by many other schools in the province.  During this time, Balfour gained the title 'School of Champions' from the many city-wide and provincial sports titles won.

 

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Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

 Click the items above to view them.

 

 In the 1970s new programs were developed such as the Learning Disabled Class, English as a Second Language Program, and a Special Tutorial Class.

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The 80s brought about changes and revisions of the curriculum in Saskatchewan.  This prompted the most significant change in the long history of Balfour Technical High School when the name was changed to Balfour Collegiate and the focus of programming changed from a predominantly vocational, to an academic one.  More new programs were added such as the MacKenzie Infant Daycare, Transitional Learning Centre, and Accelerated Learning.

In 1991, school staff and parents engaged in a process of goal-setting and designing a 'mission statement' for the school, and their efforts resulted in a statement of purpose that has established a common direction for the school.  In 1995, Balfour Collegiate was chosen as one of 21 'exemplary schools' studied in a nationwide report.  The school's new direction was renewed in 1998 with the completion of a 'needs assessment survey and action plan' developed by staff, students and parents. In 2008 Balfour teachers and students explored unique teaching and learning methods through the Regina Public Schools' 'structural innovation' initiative, being aimed mostly at grade 9 and 10 students.

 

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Balfour Collegiate -- A School of Champions! 

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Balfour's original gym ... prints courtesy Regina Public Schools

With all of these changes, one's first encounter with Balfour Collegiate is still one in which tradition pervades school life. That character is manifest in the almost daunting old-world frontage and an interior which proclaims tradition.  The entrance has a dark high-ceiling hallway, the war memorial is proudly displayed and a wall plaque clebrates the life of our school's namesake, Mr. James Balfour.  This tradition extends to the naming of various areas and awards around Balfour:

 MacKenzie Square Mutch Hall
 John Neiles Gymnasium Marjorie Sinclair-Butterwork Auditorium
John Lakustiak Hallway Gord Thompson Garden
Klempner Field Shirley Schneider Support Centre
 Heinrich Resource Centre Gord Thompson Memorial Award - Leadership in Girls Soccer
 Henry Schubach Offensive Player of the Year Football Award Gord Currie MVP Football Award
 Scott Babcock Most Improved Football Player Award  Mary Kodas Sr. Girls Volleyball Leadership Award
 Erwin Klempner Defensive Football Player of the Year Award Wendy Bileski Sr. Girls Basketball Award
 John Lakustiak Memorial Award - Excellence in Golf  Les Schmidt Jr. Girls Basketball MVP Award
Spence Burgess Jr. Boys Basketball MVP Award  Mick Panko Jr. Boys Basketball Most Improved Award
   

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The school's rich history has been celebrated during two large reunions, the 50th in 1980 and the school's 75th in 2005.  At both these events, alumni returned from years past to renew old friendships.  During the 75th anniversary celebrations an 'Athletic Hall ' was opened just outside of the John Neiles Gymnasium.

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As we move into the next decade Balfour continues to be known for its rich academic program, strong arts and music education, top-notch shops, cutting-edge technology and amazing sports program. Balfour's red and white school colours can be seen on display daily in the hallways of Balfour Collegiate.  Go Redmen!

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An aura of historical serenity prevails at Balfour Collegiate, creating an educational environment where all feel welcome and cared for.  Each year, everyone of us associated with Balfour Collegiate will add to the special educational facility that has been entrusted to us by past generations.

 

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1942 - Article 1, 2, 3, 4
 
1946 - Article 1, 2, 3
 

 
 We are looking for pictures from the very early days at Balfour ...If you happen to have any originals please email:  jim.lehrer@rbe.sk.ca
Do you have any editions of The Balfour Balforum newspaper? If so please contact Mr. Lehrer at the above email address.