This page is dedicated to the teachers of the Gander Amalgamated , Hunt Memorial Academy, Gander Academy schools, 1948-1963. Input such as comments, stories, pictures etc. is necessary to make this page meet the goals it deserves. Please forward to the Flight Webster. The most recent contribution is posted on this page. Past postings are linked at the bottom
Hazel Batstone, Teacher, Hunt Memorial Academy, Gander Academy
25 Years of Teaching Equals Many Students
If you were taught by Hazel Batstone, there is no doubt in my mind that your command of the English language in both speaking and writing is better than it would have been without her persistent practice with us.
I remember Miss Batstone as one of my most influential teachers. I think of her drill around pronouncing “correctly” the 5 W’s: Who; What; When; Where; Why. The task, of course, was to emphasize the “Wh”, instead of omitting the “h” as I and my classmates were prone to do; thus, “What” became “Wat”, etc.!!!
Miss Batstone initially taught at Hunt Memorial Academy (although it had a different name at that time) in September, 1951. She retired some 26 years later at Gander Academy in 1978 (during that time she had one year of non-teaching) for a record of 25 years. Miss Batstone taught me in 1953-54 when I was in grade six.
She already was a “seasoned” teacher before arriving in Gander in 1951, having taught in numerous places such as Grand Falls, Bishop’s Falls, Gambo, Milton, Pound Cove and North West River. She obtained her teaching certificate through attendance at Summer School, Memorial University for a number of summers, with two summers spent at Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB.
“I have good memories of teaching in Gander”, Miss Batstone shared in a telephone interview. Certainly, many of us have “good memories” of her. I experienced her as strict but fair and, if not at the time, years later I certainly was grateful for her insistence that we become “successful students” of the English language. There was other memorable learning, however. I always knew that October 24th was United Nations Day and that was because Miss Batstone provided reading on the UN with a number of us involved in presenting that information in class.
During the 25 years of her teaching in Gander, Miss Batstone also sang in the United Church choir, first on the “old” airport base and then at Fraser Road United. Upon occasion, in those early years, she also played the organ in church and she presently has a portable organ in her retirement home in Gander. As a teenager I was involved in the United Church group, Canadian Girls In Training. CGIT Christmas Vesper services were a highlight and, whenever I was assigned the story to read, I recall visiting Miss Batstone in the Teacher’s Hostel (next to the Library on the “old” airport base) in order to “rehearse” my story and receive instruction to improve my reading. While this may sound like excessive “drill” for a young person, I know that having the sense of reading well instilled much greater confidence in my ability to read. In my adult years I was seldom anxious about reading aloud.
Music and education! Now you can add poetry and art to the list. Miss Batstone is a multi-talented person: musician; educator; poet; artist. In 1996 she had a book of poetry published entitled Spanning The Years (a book dedicated to her pupils of thirty seven years). Her art work has been exhibited at the Arts and Culture Centre in Gander and a few years ago was awarded First Place in a exhibition of artists from “All Around The Circle” (the Loop). Her months for painting are from January to May; after May her preference is to be outside as much as possible.
After retirement, Miss Batstone moved to Clarenville to enjoy being close to the water. In 1998 she returned to Gander where she continues to enjoy relatively good health, good friends (although lamenting that several have died in recent years), fine painting and creative poetry.
She attended the Reunion a couple of years ago and appreciated meeting former students and teachers as many of us appreciated meeting her again. We wish her God’s blessings and continued creativity for years to come.
Marion Pardy (with notes from an interview with Hazel Bastone, December 2, 2007)
Links to other submissions
Gander Academy 1957 -1997 by Rosalie (Patey) Spurrell & Shirley (Martin) Bailey
I Remember Roland Clarke Well by J Pinsent
Memories of School Years in Gander 1948-1958 by Roland Clarke
Teachers Hostels by Clarence Deweling