On a cold winter night in February 1921, Miss Norah Denny and Miss Rachel Geoghegan discussed their dream — to build a school.
This dream turned into an idea with tangible plans, and only two months later, it became a reality.
On April 4, 1921 Queen Margaret’s School opened its doors in Duncan to 14 boys and girls in its original location of Holmesdale House.
Now, 100 years later, the Founders of QMS would likely be in awe of how their dream has evolved.
In the spirit of the school’s intrepid founders, even a global pandemic was not going to deter the community from celebrating. It simply took a little flexibility and imagination.
“QMS’s Centennial Committee had been planning events, activities and commemorative art projects for three years leading up to 2021,” explains David Robertson, head of school. “But COVID-19 presented several barriers to those original plans. It didn’t stop us from pivoting, re-imagining things and working to ensure our students, staff and community experienced a memorable centennial event though. I mean, who doesn’t love a great birthday party?”
On April 1 QMS families arrived to a campus filled with colour, balloons, cheering, flags and yes, ponies!
A socially distant outdoor Centennial Founders’ Day ceremony further enabled the community to recognize the momentous occasion.
“This is the time to say thank you to all of the people who have toiled and sacrificed to create what we now enjoy,” stated Robertson during his centennial speech.
“We have been given a gift and we are all deeply grateful. It is time to recognize and thank Miss Denny and Miss Geoghegan, who gave their whole adult lives to build this very fine institution.”
Mary DeLury, chair of the QMS Board of Governors, echoed the need to honour the past while looking to the future.
“The QMS founders wrote their own story, and we see the dramatic effects of that story 100 years later. That’s the thing about the future, you just never know what opportunities are going to present themselves,” she smiled. “I know this for certain, here at QMS we want you to write your own story, be you — the unique person only you can be.”
The special afternoon was capped off with learning cohort birthday party activities and Alison Hounsome, QMS music teacher, debuting her original Centennial Anthem with the school choir.
“This is only the beginning of the celebrations,” says Robertson. “As COVID restrictions ease, we intend to continue the party throughout 2021 and into 2022.”
If Miss Denny and Miss Geoghegan were alive today and able to see what QMS looks like, how do you think they would react, the head of school was asked.
“I think they would chuckle and smile with pride,” shares Robertson. “From what I have learned, they were humble but passionate about shaping individuals of character who would be excellent members of society. I sincerely hope they are looking down on us with love and pride.”