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Page 8 text:
The 1981-82 Edition of the Stag is respectfully dedicated to: FRANK DUXBURY (1900-1982) News of the passing of Frank Duxbury last June in Courtenay will have saddened many hundreds of his former pupils and colleagues. Not only was he a superb teacher, of history particu- larly, but he was something more - a superb schoolmaster, a loyal friend, and a true gentleman. Thousands of boys in four Canadian independent schools, over a span of four decades, were influenced for good by his vital, life-affirming spirit - at Shawnigan Lake, Lakefield, Sedbergh, P.Q. (of which he was co-founder), and at Ridley. " Dux " , or " Duke " , as he was affectionately known, made an outstanding contribution to education in Canada. His work deserves a fitting tribute, especially because it was the kind of quiet, honest, self-effacing work which throughout our hyped-up culture of today tends to be so sadly undervalued. Alas, this writer feels quite inadequate to the task of wording such a tribute. All he can hope to do is to give some indication to those who never knew " Mr. Duxbury " of his greatness as a teacher and friend, and to those who had the immense privelege of knowing him, to conjure up some happy memories of a truly unique character. The fitting tribute he truly deserves will be paid in heaven, where he laid up much treasure while on earth. Born of well-to-do parents in Bolton, Lancashire, at the begin- ning of the glittering Edwardian era, Frank Duxbury was formed to manhood with a result that would surely have pleased Thomas Arnold himself. Through his experiences at Sedbergh School, Lancashire; in the Royal Field Artillery in the final months of the Great War that shattered the secure world of his childhood and youth; and at Trinity College, Cambridge, he acquired the stamp of scholar and gentleman that was never to leave him. Through all the ups and downs of his quiet yet adventuresome life, he remai- ned sincere, brave, and kind - and maddeningly reticent about himself. During the early 1920 ' s, in the aftermath of the war when the lights came flickering back on across Europe, Frank Duxbury sought a field of endeavour worthy of his talents and ideals. He studied at Cambridge and Grenoble, travelled in Germany and throughout much of Europe, climbed the Matterhorn, skied for two weeks alone across the frozen reaches of Lapland, flirted with careers in journalism, as a foreign correspondent, and in law, but finally settled on schoolmastering. An initial stint at a small prep school in England was followed by a voyage to Canada and an appointment at Ridley College. After five happy years there, he returned to England when his mother unexpectedly died. Late r, he came back to the new world he had come to love, this time to Lakefield where he soon settled in to continue his unique style of teaching - in the classroom, on the playing field and in the great outdoors which he loved so much. In 1939, following a soul-searching adventure the previous year canoeing down the Mackenzie River to its mouth, Frank Duxbury and Tom Wood founded Sedbergh School in Montebello, Quebec. Choosing as the school ' s motto the ancient Greek aphorism, " Happiness is Freedom and Freedom is Courage, " the co-founders sought to build " not just another school " but " a home-like envi- ronment where joyous, disciplined living " would slowly but surely lead to that true liberation which great educators have always seen to be the ultimate goal of education. Boys were to be taught not
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THE STAFF 1981-82 The Headmaster D.J. Farrant, M.A. (Oxon), Dip. Ed. (St. John ' s College, Oxford) The Deputy Headmaster and Director of Admissions Derek W. Hyde-Lay, P.T.I., E.T.S. (Switzerland) The Housemasters Lake ' s House: Graham L. Anderson, B.A. (Brit. Col.) Ripley ' s House: Joseph S. Grey, Cert. Ed. (Durham) Copeman ' s House: Dr. Thomas W.S. Seeger, B.A., M.A. (Wyoming), Ph.D. (Southern Illinois U.) Lonsdale ' s House: Mark R. Hall, B.P.E. (Brit. Col.) Groves ' House: William J. McCracken, B.A. (King ' s College, Halifax), B.Ed. (St. Mary ' s) The Registrar Jens Gotthardt, B.Sc. (Carleton), M.S. (Wisconsin) The Director of Studies Rolf L. Grass, B.A. (S.F.U.), MA. (Alberta) The Chaplain The Rev. Canon W.H.H. McClelland, M.B.E., MA. (Trinity College, Dublin) Raymond Carr Nicholas I. Coghlan, B.A. (Queen ' s College, Oxford), P.G.C.E. (Nottingham) Stephen E. Cox, B.Sc. (U. Vic), Dip.Ed. (U.Vic.) Lewis G. Fraser, B.A., Dip. Ed. (Alberta) Mark A. Hobson, B.Sc. (U. Vic.) Ian A. Hyde-Lay, B.A. (U. Vic.) Stephen A.S. Lane, B.Sc. (U. Vic.) David Leary, B.Sc. (Manchester), Dip. Ed. (Durham) Mark LeRoux, G.T.C.L., L.T.C.L. (C.M.T.), L.T.C.L. (Sch. Mus) , A.R.C.M. Donald J. Robichaud, B.A., BE., B.S. (E.) (Wayne State) Donald G. Rolston, B. Ed. (Brit. Col.) Richard P. Smith, M.A., Dip. Ed. (Edinburgh) Peter D. Yates, B. Ed. (Brit. Col.) Ben Bloxham FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION D.M. Ferguson Mrs. P. A. Bennett Bursar Bursar ' s Assistant MEDICAL Dr. A. Van Hoek School Dentist Dr. W.D. McCauley, B.A., M.D. School Doctor Mrs. D.W. Hyde-Lay, R.N. Head Nurse (Resident) Mrs. M.R. Hall, R.N. Assistant Nurse (Resident) N. Magee Mrs. M. Clunas Mrs. O. Blanchette Mrs. D.R. Frowd Miss S. Reed Miss K. Filleul Miss J. Neilsen R. Hollings J. Wilbur G. Poole F. Josar Business Administrator Headmaster ' s Secretary Office Manager Academic Staff Secretary Secretary Catering Supervisor Transportation Manager Maintenance Maintenance Maintenance Head Gardener
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just facts, but to think for themselves. The ultimate aim was the total development of personality and character so that authentic action would result from true thinking. This was to be accomplis- hed by so blending the various component activities of classroom, workshop, playing field and countryside that " drudgery and repressive routine would not exist. " The inclusion of workshop activities was typically Duxburian. One of the aims of the school, he wrote, was " to teach, encourage and foster a love for and skill in some manual art. Modern education emphasizes the precept ' Learning by doing ' , and by this means will the intelligence and ingenuity of the student be develo- ped, trained, and directed. " Throughout the years of the Second World War the life of this new school took firm root in the beautiful coutryside where it had been carefully located. But shortly after the war ' s end an obscure mechanism deep within Frank ' s complex personality was trigge- red and he left his dreams at Montebello to continue his soul ' s quest at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. Here he found a new kind of challenge - a school on the downgrade after a quarter of a century of strong growth. The powers of its charismatic founder, C.W. Lonsdale, were waning, but no process seemed available to effect a sane and peaceful change of leadership. During the next seven years, Frank Duxbury, who always liked to run uphill, led the way to survival. He simply exemplified, day by day, the qualities of a selfless leader and master teacher, devoting himself wholeheartedly to the job at hand. Xs Senior Master in the dying days of the epic Lonsdale regime he made a contribution to the survival and potential for later growth of the school second to none. Only a very few, however, ever had an inkling of the inner cost he paid for this work of saving a school, for it was not without pain and suffering that on many mornings he went forth, his " daily labour to pursue. " Although it seems clear from correspondence made available to the writer that he could have succeeded to the headmastership had he so desired, he gently declined to put himself forward. Even more characteristically, after a new Headmaster had been chosen and new leadership for the school was assured, he decided to leave, coincidentally opening up the position of Senior Master for a young man for whom he had developed a deep admiration, former Shawnigan Lake Head Boy and future Headmaster, E.R. (Ned) Larsen, who at that time was returning from three blissful years in the city of dreaming spires, Oxford. Was it lack of ambition which lay behind this unexpected move? Or was it a deep instinct that told him his genius lay in teaching and in simple service to others in need, not in the complex duties of administratio n? The latter, or something like it, seems by far the most likely explanation, for back at Lakefield he was at his best, a stimulating teacher and mentor, influencing young lives for good in countless ways far beyond the ken of many " successful " men and women whose measure of " success " is based on different units of value. Chris Gordon, former Headmaster of the Crescent School in Toronto and now Headmaster of Glenlyon School in Victoria, recalls the impact which Dux made on him. " As a young thirteen year old grade nine student the sight of Mr. Duxbury was inspi- ring. Not because of size but because of the vitality and interest that exuded from him. In the class he made history live and one always felt as though he were right there at the place and time of the historical event. Dux always had a " little story " to spice up his classes, and I would like to recount a little story that is a true one. On a ' half-day ' Mr. Duxbury took five of us for a skate on Clear Lake. He had a cottage on the south-east corner of the lake near Young ' s Point. Off we went with Dux leading, up the lake a couple of miles. We stopped. Mr. Duxbury said that he was going back to set a fire and boil some water and the five of us were expected at his cottage (the point of departure) no later than 4:00 p.m. as the sun would be setting. We continued on into Stony Lake with the wind fully at our Dacks. At around three o ' clock we decided to begin the skate back. Little did we realize what was in store. We had not taken into account that the return trip would be against the wind. Arriving as the sun set, and dragging one of the five who had become so exhausted his legs wouldn ' t work, we finally arrived at the cottage. We were greeted cordially, but not warmly, by Mr. Duxbury. He took us into the warm cabin to thaw out, rest up, and outline where we had gone. Frank used our experience to teach us a lesson on self-discipline, appreciation of nature (the cold and the wind) and resoluteness. Without exception we all learned, and myself in particular remembered for years this inci- dent, not so much for the incident itself but for how it was handled and turned into a learning situation. " That simple little story illustrates beautifully the gentle but telling influence which Mr. Duxbury exerted. He brought history alive in the classroom, and outside it he turned moments of ordinary experience into moments of historial significance in the personal lives of growing boys. He had the secret of all great teachers - he could turn water into wine. As he neared the age of retirement, the Duke (of Lakefield, Shawnigan, Sedbergh, and Ridley) set off on a new adventure - matrimony. Heading west once more, and having found a haven of quiet and seclusion on Denman Island near Courtenay, he married Joan Saunders, with whom he had become engaged on the bank (so I ' m told) of Eels ' Creek near Lakefield. Thus began a marriage which over the next two-and-a-half decades grew in strength and beauty, proving a deep blessing to both partners. Within months, however, the call to teach came again, this time from Ned Larsen who had taken over as headmaster at Shawnigan after the very successful five-year period of Peter Kaye ' s leaders- hip. Frank and Joan took up residence in a cottage on the grounds of the school, and Shawnigan Lake boys once more were treated to history lessons (and other kinds of lessons) in the unique Duxbu- rian style. Joan became Matron in Groves ' House, making a fine contribution to the life of the school through her cheerful effi- ciency and care. Two years later, Duke finally retired with Joan and step-son Michael, to Denman Island, and later to Courtenay. In the evening years of his life, amongst other activities he read, built furniture for his friends, received Old Boys who sought him out, wrote letters and poems, and travelled often, back to the beloved scenes of his youth in the hills around Sedbergh and in the Lake District. Reminiscing on the life of Frank Duxbury, John Macauley recently wrote some sentences with which many Old Boys across Canada will readily agree: " Fortunate are you if you sat alertly in his mornings forms, donned pads for his afternoon squads, or composed your evening sentences for his red-inked comment. You will not have forgotten his contageous enthusiasm for the bat, the paddle, the ski. Your good fortune was to absorb by precept and example a set of standards to serve you for life. " ... " His grasp of the contemporary, ever balanced with rich historical reference, made his opinions apt, his conversations witty and provoking. " ... " Above all, he possessed the innate gifts of a master- teacher. " Amongst Frank ' s papers were found some lines of poetry with which it would seem fitting to close this brief survey of a remarka- ble life. Transcending space and time, these lines communicate a quality of spirit which was uniquely Duke ' s. " I strove with none, for none was worth my strife Nature I love and next to nature art I warmed both hands before the fire of life It sinks, and I am ready to depart. " E.L. Bullen, Housemaster of Groves ' House 1957-60 Inspector of Independent Schools, Province of B.C.
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