Address: General Delivery, Bay de Verde, NL A0E 2W0
Tel: (709) 587 2550
Fax: (709) 587-2320
Samuel Codner, an Englishman who had become a St. John’s merchant, was the first to try to remedy this situation. As the story goes, when Mr. Codner was returning to England in 1821 he got caught in a terrific Atlantic storm. He was somewhat of a religious man and in the fury of the storm vowed that if he reached home safely, “he would devote his resources to the spreading of religious virtues”. Fate was good to Codner and he and his fellow passengers were safely delivered from the storm. True to his word, on June 30, 1821, in a London coffee house, Codner and others founded the Society for Educating the Poor of Newfoundland. He was successful over the next several years in procuring funds from various sources and as a result, the society set up schools in many parts of Newfoundland.
In the first official census taken in 1836 by the newly elected legislature of Newfoundland, neither a school nor a teacher is listed at Bay de Verde. However, there is evidence to indicate that children were being educated. In his Last Will and Testament dated May 30, 1832, Timothy Dineen, a native of Lismore but who had been living at Bay de Verde for 40 years clearly states that, “John Lynch is to have the Cooper’s shop during such time as it may answer him to teach school in, rent free”. This was the first mention of any type of education being carried out in Bay de Verde. John Lynch was the same man who had come from Ireland on the ill-fated ship Fanny in 1811 and had left the ship at Bay de Verde.
With the passing of the first Education Act in 1836, nine Boards of Education for Newfoundland were established. This was the first real start of formal education in most of the out ports. On April 30, 1838, the government member for the District of Conception Bay, Mr. James Prendergast, visited Bay de Verde to find out how many people would contribute to the support of school-masters. In his report Mr. Prendergast stated that, “the inhabitants appear to appreciate the intentions of the Legislature and to be desirous that a school should be established among them.” The school was indeed established in 1843, for Mr. Prendergast reported in his 1847 School Report to the Legislature that a school has been operated here for four years by teacher John Morrissey. In 1847, another school was built at Bay de Verde by the Catholic Board of Education for the Carbonear District. In a report to the Legislature on May 22, 1847 by J. P. Gleeson, money in the amount of 55 pounds is “paid for materials, etc., for a school-house about to be commenced at Bay de Verde”.
In 1853, the Newfoundland government established what they called Commercial Schools, a concept that was introduced to Bay de Verde in 1859. In a report to the Board of Education in 1865, the School Inspector stated that there was a Commercial School at Bay de Verde under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Board. This was no doubt the same school building that had been built in 1847. Mr. Patrick Fox was the teacher and the total attendance was seventy-four pupils.
Toward the end of the 19th century, the Roman Catholic Parish (under the direction of Father Joseph Donnelly) built a new combination hall-school. It was built adjacent to the old Roman Catholic Cemetery on the south side of the harbour near Walsh’s Hill. Father Donnelly had been born in St. John’s and studied in Rome and had obviously developed a keen interest in architecture. After building the church and parish house, he began construction of a new school. The building was a two-story structure with two classrooms on the top level and an amphitheatre on the lower level. The gradually sloping amphitheatre was similar to the Elizabethan theatres of England, something quite unique to a Newfoundland outport. School and community concerts were held there on a regular basis. When Father William Casey was assigned to the parish in 1940, he thought that this school building had outlived its usefulness and had it torn down. On almost the same site, he built a one story, two-room school. The building had none of the practical usefulness of the old building and none of the unique Victorian architectural style. The new St. Mary’s School was opened in September of 1942 and in 1956 two more classrooms were built across from the parish house on the hill.
By the 1920’s, according to Donald Barter in his book Surviving on the Headland, the Anglican hall-school at the top of Church Hill was in a dilapidated condition. In 1925, under the direction of Reverend Henry Gilbert a new school was built in the north end of Church Hill Cemetery. The new St. Barnabas School was officially opened on November 17, 1926. In 1961, due to an increase in enrollment a new school was built in Bear’s Cove, which was used to accommodate the high school students.
In the 1960’s, many of the School Boards of Newfoundland began to make changes to school infrastructure with the building of central high schools. In 1967, the Roman Catholic Parish of Bay de Verde in conjunction with the Roman Catholic School Board for Conception Bay North built St. Joseph’s Central High School just east of the Bay de Verde-Grates Cove highway intersection. This school opened with an enrollment of 160 students and served primarily the Catholic children of the communities of Bay de Verde, Red Head Cove, Grates Cove, Low Point and Caplin Cove. Realizing a better opportunity for education was available at this school, students slowly began withdrawing from the other Anglican school systems.
In 1972, the Roman Catholic and the Avalon North Integrated School Boards of Conception Bay North entered into a formal agreement known as a ‘shared services agreement’. Tricon Elementary was built almost directly across the highway from St. Joseph’s Central High. The system officially started in September of 1973 but due to storm damage it was not until January of 1974 that 235 primary and elementary students from the surrounding communities began attending Tricon for the first time.
In 1997, Denominational Education was abolished in Newfoundland and with this change came once again a reduction in the number of schools. St. Joseph’s Central High School was closed in June of 2002 after providing educational services to the students of the area for 35 years. In the summer of 2007, the building was removed from the site. A new school, Baccalieu Collegiate was opened in the nearby community of Old Perlican in September of 2002 to accommodate students on the north and south shores of the lower half of the Bay de Verde Peninsula. Tricon Elementary still remains open today as a K-6 system with a student enrollment of 101 students from the nearby communities of Bay de Verde, Red Head Cove, Grates Cove, Old Perlican, Sibley’s Cove, Lead Cove, Brownsdale and Caplin Cove.