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French Creek School Quilt

Many thanks to all the community members who took the time to share their memories of French Creek School for its 100th Anniversary in 2012. From the vision of a Heritage Quilt to the unveiling of this finished project this has been a rewarding experience. We received a wide variety of quilt squares along with their precious memories. This attests to the strong connection we all have with the community of Coombs and with the French Creek School in particular. Participants ranged from students to seniors, many representing local pioneer families. We are thrilled with the quilt and know you will be too.

Happy 100th Anniversary to the Little School with the Big Heart!

Colleen Lucas, Diane Duncan and Deidre Bjornson

Centre Circle.jpg


Mary Parker (Agensen)

This is our family’s first picture at French Creek School. We had moved to Coombs from Mayerthorpe, Alberta. Brother: Leo (Back 5), Sister: Julia (Front 10) & Me: Front 7


A School with a Heart

Susan Kozielecki

My quilt square represents how FCCS is a school with a heart that enables students to grow and learn while also recognizing individual learner’s needs.



Ayden Holmes

My favourite memory of French Creek School was the Grade 5 trip to Barkerville. In the spring of 2009 Mr Anders took ...


Big and Little Rooms

Maxine (Cox) Heppell

John and Jessie Cox had a small dairy farm in Coombs and all six of us children (Beryl, Maxine, Weston, Sharon, Norma and Donna) went to French Creek School. Mom and Dad were involved in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) so we knew we had to be on good behaviour at the school. The first four kids had Mrs. Armstrong (who had a dog named Bowser) to start us on the road to our education. She was the kind and loving primary teacher in the Little Room who made our first few years of school so welcoming and enjoyable. Then for our junior years we went to the Big Room with Mrs. Reddyhoff, the principal, being our teacher. She was a starchy, stern and very strict educator who was now preparing us for the real world. We were ...



Barbara Friedl

More than the Elementary School experience at French Creek School for me was the bigger experience of childhood. I started in ...


Coombs Hall

Rose Brittain

Before the French Creek School gym was built in 1975 all concerts and special events for the school were held at the ...


Different Hats

Marian (Tudge) Korman

One of my favourite memories of French Creek Elementary School was when Mrs. King would visit the school. She was a member of the community who would come to the school, usually in the afternoon, and entertain the students with her lively harmonica music. We would sit around her on the gym floor and all clap along. She wore ...


Fond Memories

Howard Tyner

I have many memories of French Creek School, some of the more notable are: the uncommon resourcefulness of so ...



Marilyn Beatty for Jason & Nicolas

Jason started Grade one in 1980 and Nicolas followed three years later. They had many memories of French Creek School but the one they agreed on was the friendships they made and still have after all these years.



Lois Clelland

During my seven years teaching at French Creek Community School I had the privilege of teaching ...


Heart of the Community

Candace Morgan - retired Superintendent of Schools

What an honour to be part of the centennial celebrations for French Creek Community School. Though not the first school in our ...


Horse Teams

Kim Brittain Basara

One of my most vivid memories of French Creek School is the house teams. I remember how fun it was lining up in our houses before school and working together ...


Joyous Event

Paul Anders

During my eleven years teaching at French Creek, one of the enduring memories has been working with my colleague Debra Stocker, on the salmonid ...


Little School ... BigHeart

Jan Graham

I remember how valiantly parents and grandparents strove to “save” their community school. A special moment was when a grandfather brought in his grandson to ...



Stella Graves

I have had the pleasure of working at French Creek Community School for the last 12 years. I was a Grade one-two teacher for five years and principal for seven years. I have ...


My Passion

Marlene Stahley

In 1992 Mr. Lenard Pera’s wife contacted French Creek School. She was looking for school pictures of her husband who moved to Coombs in 1941 and attended FCS for two years. There was one binder of old pictures (from Norma Antrim’s collection) and Lenard’s class photo was not in the binder. Along with long-time resident Sharon Cox Gustavson I began collecting Coombs historical photos. We spent the better ...


Over the Hump - Summer & Winter

Sharon Mathias

I was in elementary school in Port Alberni. My strongest memories were of driving over the ‘Hump’ to Coombs in the 1950’s. I completed 2 squares to represent the winter and summer seasons on that highway!


Pet Day

Anne Raffle

There are so many memories. My Dad, Mom, 4 daughters, 2 granddaughters and one in Kindergarten in September; many nieces, nephews and relatives have all attended the school. I also worked as a ...


Red-Ensign Flag

Cathy Thomas

The Red Ensign Flag flew over French Creek School before 1965. A big thank you to the women of the F.C. Heritage Quilt project! It was a joy and privilege to meet you and to participate in the making of one quilt square. I look forward to seeing the finished quilt! Brilliant endeavour girls!


Scotty the Sheep Dog

Pat Lewis (Fabrick)

I started school in Coombs in 1950. My sisters Virginia, Ramona and Loretta and brother Dale also attended. My favourite memory was our sheepdog Scotty ...


Singing Kids

Colleen Lucas

I always loved working with individual students and my class to present choral and musical numbers. Whether it was student led assemblies, choral presentations such as the Cremation of Sam McGee, Christmas concerts, or the end of school Grade Five graduations, the sound of children singing or speaking confidently in front of an audience always filled my heart...


Steady and Sturdy

Cynthia Stanhope

The French Creek School reminds me of the school I went to in Toronto many years ago – steady and sturdy, whatever the community needs!


Tapaniku's Vault

Colleen Lucas

I always looked forward to teaching my Inuit unit at French Creek. It was always so rewarding to watch the creativity and ingenuity of the students ...


The Brittains

Florence Neden (nee-Brittain)

My family moved from Alberta in 1934. We attended Errington School for 4 months in 1935, then moved to Coombs and attended the French Creek School until December 1939 when we moved to Hilliers and we attended the Hilliers School. Eventually we attended ...


The Little School with the Big Heart

Tina Coutier

French Creek School also as the “Little School with a big heart” has a special place in my heart. I have worked at FCCS as an Education Assistant for 5 ½ years. During ...


The River Runs Through It

Sunshine Goldsberry

French Creek plays a big part in the lives of the some of the students who attend FCCS. I call my square the River Runs Through It. Thirty Years ago my son walked, biked and even skied to school from our home on the creek. Five years ago my grandson was running to the bus to school in Coombs ...


The Witch in the Basement

Deidre Bjornson

When I taught at French Creek Community School we had an amazing collaborative group of teachers. We loved working together to create concerts and activities for the children to participate in across ...



Mary Parker (Agensen)

My Uncle Joe Dillen and brother Leo were in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the ‘40s, ‘50s & ‘60s. I am not only honouring them but all the fathers, brothers and uncles that served for ...


4 Generations of the Neden Family

Sylvia Neden

Daniel Neden’s grade 4 class – as a mother helper we built 28 gingerbread houses. The students enjoyed it so much, it was a special craft and was done for many years in Mrs. Williams’ class. French Creek Elementary School was a special environment to be creative, inspired, grow and explore. Four generations of the Neden family have gone to French Creek Elementary School and with pride. Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins all shared in Teddy Bear picnics, school camping ...


An Apple for My Teachers

Leslie Van Horne

In 1928 my grandparents, Matt and Alice Van Horne, settled in Coombs. They raised their 10 children on their homestead on Grafton ...


Beavers and Raccoons

Teresa Dutton (Korman)

In the 1981-’82 school year French Creek School had two T-ball teams. They were called the Beavers and the Raccoons. Our uniforms were t-shirts with a design of the individual animals. It was so much fun. Our coach asked us: “Do you know why I’m coaching T-ball to you guys?” “No,” we said. “It’s because you are the only ones I can beat running from third base to home!”


Canadian Flage

Mary Parker (Ageson)

In 1963 when newly elected Prime Minister Lester Pearson promised to give Canada its own distinct national flag, few would have guessed ...


Christmas for My Family

Nancy Korman

We were able to attend numerous Christmas concerts at French Creek School. There were those with “First Noel” and “Joy to the World.” There were those with Santa, reindeer and “Frosty the Snowman.” “Charlie Brown” was staged one night and there was a great production of “Polar Express.” I could go on and on. There was no favourite concert. The magic ...


Coombs Store

Linda Wray

My memory is of children from French Creek School coming to visit us at the Coombs General Store. My husband Gene and I ...


Everett's Blue Butterfly

Karen Strong

As a teacher at French Creek School my memories are many. One of my most special memories was the “Blue Butterfly Day.” Everett’s mother had a terminal...


Four Delightful Years

Mar Smith

My quilt square is a reflection of four delightful years of working at French Creek School.



Tracey Raffle

When I was in Grade 5 in Jackie Shepherd/Ward’s class we had Georgette, a female tarantula. She could still bite but had her venom removed. I don’t know how but she could still kill grasshoppers and ...


Goats on the Roof

Collen Lucas

It was great working so close to the Coombs Country Market. The folks at the Market were always friendly and helpful when I’d stop after work to pick up ...


Hen and Clock

Vicki Knight

Coombs and country are synonymous. As the kindergarten teacher at French Creek School I was often described ...



First nations Education Department

The First Nations Program has always been active at French Creek School. The Program has offered many services over the years. The program includes academic support, cultural and traditional history and teachings of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.


Joys of Childhood

Lois Woytenko

When I think of school I think of the fun and laughter on the playground as children ran and played. Hop scotch, teeter-totter, ball toss and tag were just some of the games we played. My square shows the thrill one received when, with the help of a friend, the swing quickly got higher and higher almost reaching the sky. Oh, the simple joys of childhood!


Maple Trees

Shannon Woolnough (Raffle)

When I went to French Creek School I loved the maple trees. They were so beautiful and provided shade, a place to climb, and leaves for our art projects. My girls Serena and Alena were lucky to have enjoyed them as well.


Memories of Eileen Krog (Best)

Leonard Krog

Eileen Krog (nee Best) - Sept. 20, 1916 to Nov. 8, 2009 – attended French Creek School in 1929 and then moved on to high school at Qualicum Beach. She returned to teach there from 1938 – ’41 and again from 1968 – ’70. She was probably ...


My Two Boys

Elaine Robson

The thing I looked forward to most when my two boys started school was my anticipation to get their ...


Paper Pinwheels

Jill Trelawney

In 2004-2005 I taught the kindergarten class and shared the Grade 1 / 2 class at French Creek Community School. I have many fond ...


Pig Pig

David Boley

Jackie Ward was one of my teachers at French Creek School. She always had pets in the classroom – from a tarantula in an aquarium to Pip Pig who stayed outside under the maple trees. A single strand ...


Rocket Ship

Gary Whibley

I remember Science with Mr Gibson. We built rockets, raised tadpoles, and sent hot air balloons (powered by candles) up over the trees and out of sight.


Sharp Famiily

Sharon Sharp Johannessen

Our family has been in Coombs since the 60’s. Growing up in Coombs and going to French Creek Elementary School were some of the happiest moments. Our favourite and most ...


Small School Big Heart

Pamela Cameron

My favourite memories of French Creek were the wonderful children who attended the school. There was such a sense of community and the ...


Student Teacher

Sandra McKinlay (nee Hill)

I attended the Hilliers School in 1952-’53. We moved down the road a mile and then I attended French Creek School from 1953-’58. Then I went on to Qualicum High School and on to ...


The Back Field

Jon Challoner

I will always remember the enormous space we had to run and play –


The Cox Family

Beryl (Cox) Barnes

Six Cox children: Beryl, Maxine, Weston, Sharon, Norma and Donna started our education at this school on the banks of French Creek in Coombs. The younger children enjoyed the sand box under the fir trees and swings located on the “little room” side of the school. The older girls played hopscotch and long line skipping in the front of the school and the back field was busy with the rest of the students playing softball. All students would run to line up at the big stairs when the old hand bell was clanged. Many fond memories our close-knit Cox family shares and many good classmate friendships endure for each of us. Those were ...


The Maple Trees

Sally Hemingson

There used to be three maple trees in front of the school. Recently they have been cut down. This square remembers the trees and the seasons they marked during the school year. Acer macrophylium is the largest maple – the big leaf maple. I know they turn yellow and brown in the fall but I’ve chosen colours to match our Canadian flag.


The Swings

Susan Farkas-Husbands

The swings in the back of the school were where many great long lasting friendships were made. I attended French Creek School from 1975 – 1980.


Therapy Dogs

Deanna (nee Raffle) Harknett

Vicki Knight was the Kindergarten teacher for about 18 years at FCCS. ‘Misty’ and ‘Blossum’ came to school with Vicki every day. They were the sweetest...


Words and Books

Nancy Korman

My granddaughter Shanelle Spence was in Kindergarten in 2002. The teacher asked me to come and read some stories that I had written and illustrated for my ...


A Cute Little Boy

Marian (Tudge) Korman

In September of 1976 a little girl who loved horses began Grade 1 at French Creek School. To a six-year-old it seemed like a big school with lots of kids but there ...


Angel Friends

Kim Howse

One of my proudest memories of my time teaching at French Creek School happened right after 9/11. All the students in the school ...


Big Yellow Bus

Linda Rehlinger

We moved to Coombs in 1977 after living on the mainland most of our lives. Neither Nick nor I had ever experienced going to school via ...


Cedar Tree

Gay Lynn Farkas

One of my favorite memories of French Creek School was the large cedar tree at the back of the baseball ...


Coombs Fall Fair

Aldene McFeely and daughter Heather Morris

I lived in Parksville and from about eight years old my friends and I would ride our bikes out to the Coombs Fair. I don’t think we ever missed. My grand-daughter was in Kindergarten at FCCS and loved the school. I wish there were more schools like this.


Dad's Right

Julia Paterson Meninga

It was a very cold and frosty morning and my husband Alfred, who grew up in Montreal, had warned our children never to put their ...


Following in Dad's Footsteps

Jessica and Victoria Brittain

When the Coombs Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1965, they became an active participant in the community and especially the French Creek Community School. We can remember how much fun it was when our Dads ...


Four Girls from FCCS

Kristie Spence (Korman)

I attended French Creek School in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. I have such fond memories of those years. The best thing, however, is I got to relive those days three more times because I was able to send my three daughters to this school. We’re just two generations in French Creek that has four generations in attendance. What a living history! Happy 100th.


Gerry the Dear

Julie Austin for Bert Topliffe, the oldest man in Coombs and last remining member of the Coombs Salvation Army Colony

In the mid 1920’s a fawn lived at the West’s place across the creek, where the market is today. When the fawn heard the children at the school out for recess or lunch hour he would bound across the bridge to be with the kids ...


Goodbye Trees

Sue Hiersemann

This square is in memory of the trees that were cut down and taken away from the FCCS playground. For many years they provided ...


Hornby Island Camping

Wendy de Candole

In the spring of 1994 Jan Graham took her Grade 1-2 class to Hornby Island to camp for three days. My son Derek de Candole was in Grade 2 and very excited about ...



Sue (Ward) Bosecker

One of my teachers, Flora Reddyhoff, always encouraged us to use our imagination. She would get us to draw imaginary animals and they would be displayed around the classroom. I have created my ...


Knights General Store

Doris Stpehens (nee Twidale)

I arrived in Coombs with my parents at the end of 1946. Though not early pioneers, Coombs had no electricity and only gravel roads. Even the ...



Rose Ellen Graham

Memories – so precious, so important in my life. For myself I have the memory of going to school at FCCS, working at FCCS as school secretary, retiring from FCCS and having my son Paul Graham attend ...


Multi-Generational Gathering Place

Julie Austin

French Creek School is a truly multi-generational gathering place. Students have great grandparents that went to the school! Family member – aunts, uncles, grandparents - come and go to the school with ...



Stella Graves

One of my most memorable memories of French Creek School was our celebration of the 2010 Olympics. During this time students learned about the Olympics, including the history, types of events and important Canadian athletes. The Olympics being held in Vancouver ...


Pekinese Dog

Liz Kroeker

‘Furby’, my little Pomeranian dog has been our therapy dog at FCCS for the past three years. The children love to take her for walks during recess and lunch, and often like to cuddle ...


Rathtrevor Beach Picnic

Pat Gillespie

From many years students at French Creek School were bussed to Rathtrevor Beach for the annual picnic. Many of us volunteered to accompany the children, supervise activities and ...


Salvation Army

Gertie Courtenay (nee Greenard)

As documented the Salvation Army has a huge heritage history in Coombs. This blue yellow and red square ...



Jane Lachlan

I went to school in England. Part of our school in England reminded me so much of the French Creek School building. The influence of the architecture from my country of origin was astonishing.


Spawning Salmon

Deidre Bjornson

I taught at FCCS in the mid 90’s. A significant memory for me while working in the French Creek community and at the school ...


Sunbonnet Sue

Shirley Corris

I was asked to participate in the making of a project for your centennial which I gladly do! I went to school in Liverpool, England and loved my school. It was bombed during the war but I still have fond ...


The Big Oil Drum Stove

Mary Parker

After trudging through the snow for two and half miles (when you were in grade one, three and five arriving soaking wet at school) what a joy to be able to put your coat, mitts, scarf and boots beside the big oil drum stove in your classroom at French Creek School. There was always room for our things and we came the longest distance. I must admit (and do remember those student) those ...


The First Racer

Pat Nelson

It was sunny and warm at the end of May. Everyone was excited because it was Sports Day! The whole school had been divided into 4 houses. We lined up behind the flag bearers for our houses, marched onto the field and stood at attention. Before the principal could announce the beginning of the races, a black bear, who just couldn’t wait, charged across the field ...


The Polar Express

Diane Duncan

Imagine . . .”The Polar Express” narrated by the Grade 5s (one of whom was my son Jon) with songs chosen by the classes and my school choir to complement the story of our ...


The Union Jack

Sharon Cox-Gustavson

The Union Jack Flag of Great Britain came with the early Salvation Army settlers to the Coombs colony in 1910. I grew up with four of my siblings (Beryl, Maxine, Weston and Norma) attending the Coombs Undenominational Church’s Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School and Youth Group. This church was on the old Qualicum cut-off ...


Van Horne Quilt Block

Sandra McKinley (Hill) - granddaughter of Matt and Alice Van Horne

This block represents the Van Horne family who lived on Grafton Ave. All 12 children of Alice and Matt Van Horne attended French Creek School although ...


Young Bear's Journey

Janet Boley

Several times over the years a young bear journeyed across the back of the school playing field. Each year was a different bear for sure as they all were about 2 year old size. It never seemed to matter whether there was activity outside or not, it was just their path of travel, usually in the springtime.

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