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Originally called Saddle Mountain, Woking is named for the town of Woking in Surrey, England.  The first classes in the Saddle Mountain School District (later known as Woking) were held in the Yakimuk home from November 1934 to May 1935. There were 23 students and Ted Zaichkowsky was their teacher.

The next year, the same term was taught by Alex Zaichkowsky in the home of Sawa Shura. In 1936 they formed Saddle Mountain School District No. 4671 and received a $500 grant from the government to help build a school. It opened January 1, 1937 with Miss Jean McNaughton as the first teacher and 34 students from grades 1 to 5, many of them unable to speak English.

Other teachers at Saddle Mountain included Henry Wiebe, Miss Ethel Fildes, Miss Lorna McEwen, Miss Connie Barlow, Miss Doris Gillard, Mrs. Mabel Tracy, and Mrs. Gladys Dufresne and Miss Geraldin Knezevich as supervisors during the war years. Mrs. Lucille Thornton was the last teacher in 1948-49.

Saddle Mountain School closed in 1949 when a new school was built two miles west in Woking, a two-room school to consolidate the schools of Saddle Mountain, Chinook Valley and New World.

Although it was new, it was not modern. Heating was still by Franklin Stoves in each room, outdoor toilets were still in use, and the water was hauled in by the bucket. By 1951, the school had outgrown this facility so the barn (which had been built for horses but never used) was renovated to another classroom

Edward Pearce was the first principal and Lucille Thornton the other teacher. The old Saddle Mountain School became a community hall.

Sources:,_Alberta /

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With thanks to the South Peace Regional Archives

South Peace Regional Archives began operating in January 2000 as a project of the Grande Prairie Museum and a member of the Archives Society of Alberta. On July 30, 2007 the South Peace Regional Archives Society was formed.

All persons interested in having a voice in the preservation of archival records in the South Peace Country of Alberta are encouraged to become members.

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Saddle Hills
Junction of Hwy 49 & Secondary Hwy 725
RR1, Spirit River AB
T0H 3G0
T. 780-864-3760
Fax 780-864-3904
Toll-free 1-888-864-3760

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