Okanagan Centre School

Okanagan Centre School

When I [Allan Kobayashi] began my education in 1932, the Okanagan Centre School was brand new. My cousin Margaret and I were in the first Grade 1 class. From Grade 1 to 8 we were the only two in each grade as the years passed so one of us always ranked first or second. I have been back to the old building but after almost seventy years much has changed. The boys and girls ‘toilets’ located to the north and south beyond the school have disappeared as well as the wood shed where Akira Hikichi and I stacked wood. The basketball poles have succumbed to time. Gone is the tennis court to the north. The swings adjacent to Mrs. Gray’s house have long been uprooted.

Girls always outnumbered boys. At one time of 15 pupils Akira and I were the only boys. As a result our school lacked a ‘team’ concept. We were unable to play soccer or hockey which the Winfield boys enjoyed. …

Special days came and went with the changing seasons. The first grand occasion was Halloween which meant a masquerade party. Once I had to wear a Japanese samurai costume my mother had brought from Japan. Instead I wanted to be a pirate or even Mickey Mouse. Since my heart was not in my role as a warrior I was not considered for a prize. …

Although Mrs. Parker said I was ‘pig-headed’ and at times threatened to ‘knock me into the middle of next week’, she was an A-1 teacher. Her strength was creativity. She also had the knack of making time pass quickly — an elusive talent, especially measured against our time of constant complaints about boredom.

This selection from Okanagan Centre School Days is part of an interview with Allan Osamu Kobayashi. To read the full text of the interview see the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society’s (soon to be published) publication Kakonosedai: A Century of Community, on sale at the LC Museum and Archives.

The exhibition, Kakonosedai: A Century of Community is currently at the Lake Country Museum and Archives; the exhibition closes on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013.