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History of E. L. Crossley
In 1922, the Fenwick Public School Board set up a Continuation School Class in the old Fenwick Public school with seven high school age students attending. By 1926, the number of high school students had increased and plans were made to build the Pelham Continuation School at the corner of Canboro Road and Balfour St. By 1932, Mr. Edward Lewis Crossley became principal. Pelham Continuation School was renamed Pelham District High School in 1949 and Mr. Crossley remained Principal. In 1958, the Board felt a new high school was needed and Thorold-Fonthill High School was built at the corner of Port Robinson Road and South Pelham. This school reached capacity quickly and by the early 1960s the Board was faced with the need to build yet another High School. At the same time, the Ministry of Education was creating grants to fund vocational education. The Pelham District School Board applied for a grant to fully fund the construction of a new school designed to meet the vocational needs of students in Pelham. They determined to name the school after Edward Lewis Crossley, who was still Principal of Pelham District High School and served as Superintendent on the Board.
E.L. Crossley Secondary School opened its doors to 600 students on September 3rd, 1963. Mr. A. E. Bridgeman was appointed Principal, Mr. J.J. Krar was Technical Director and Miss Shirley Speck was Commercial Director. Under the "Robarts Plan", secondary schools in Ontario could offer a variety of programs in three main branches. Within the Pelham High School District, the high schools at Fenwick and Fonthill provided courses in the Arts and Science branch so E.L. Crossley offered courses in the Business and Commerce, and Science, Technology and Trades branches.
After a few years, and with an addition to the building, E.L. Crossley became a fully composite school. With the eventual closure of Pelham High School and Thorold-Fonthill High School,. E.L. Crossley Secondary School became the only Public High school serving the needs of students in the Pelham and Wainfleet communities. Its population would grow in time to be just over 1000 students prior to the ending of the five year diploma. Since then the population has balanced out just under 900 students.
Over the years, E.L. Crossley has been known as a Vocational school, a Composite school, a Centre for the Arts and an International Baccalaureate School. All of these changes have been put forward by staff, as they adjust programs to meet the changing needs of their students. Throughout the years though, the school has been consistent in working with the students and the parent community to:
Strive to Serve and
The mural that adorns the front facade of the school building is an important and easily recognizable aspect of the school itself. Designed by Heinz Gaugel, it measures 44 feet by 66 feet and stands five stories high. The dominant feature of the mural is the two hands, because the artist believed that "education is only worthwhile if the hands are used to transform it into something". The remaining images reflect aspects of ancient cultures, modern technology and nature. The connection between education and all around us is prominent.
Inside the school, the main foyer shows two more murals which represent the vocational studies that formed the original foundation for the school's program. The theme of the mural is continued as the school's yearbook is appropriately titled "The Mural", indicative of all the small pieces that make up the whole school community.