Maurice Lavallée School

A Beacon of French Education in Edmonton

Sources: Erin de Zwart 2023

A Pioneer

Photo : Provincial Archives of Alberta A6523.

Maurice Lavallée was part of the French Canadian elite, as shown in the photo, taken in October 1961. Top row (from left to right): Maurice Lavallée, Alfred Rouleau ( who would become president of the Desjardins movement), Louis A. Desrocher (Edmonton lawyer, later chancellor of the University of Alberta); front row: Rodolphe Laplante, a cooperative specialist from Montreal and André Miville-Déchène, president of the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta from 1955 to 1962.

Text version of the audio

Maurice-Lavallèe School, which has the distinction of being the first publicly funded francophone school in Edmonton, is a beacon of community life in the French Quarter.  Previously, during its first ten years of existence, Maurice-Lavallée School was called École J.-H. Picard, and it merged the high school students of Collège Saint-Jean with the female students of Académie Assomption.

The first bilingual public school in Western Canada built with public funds, it was named in honour of Joseph-Henri Picard (1857-1934), a francophone political and educational pioneer in Alberta, who founded the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society in 1894 and the francophone newspaper Le Courrier de l'Ouest.

On November 27, 1984, Maurice Lavallée, accompanied by his wife Jeanne, presided over the inauguration of the school that would bear his name. Maurice Lavallée was born in 1904 in Saint-Robert, Quebec. In 1927, he began his teaching career in Edmonton at the Jesuit-run Collège Saint-François-Xavier. In 1930, he became editor of the newspaper La Survivance until 1935. For eighteen years, he was president of the Association des éducateurs bilingues de l'Alberta, guiding and supporting the work of these teachers in the writing of programs.

In 1994, Maurice-Lavallée School became one of the first five schools managed by a Francophone authority, the Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord. Over the past 25 years, the school has undergone many changes in terms of the grade levels it serves. In 2009, it became a senior high school with a reputation for excellence in all areas.

Extract of
Francophone Heritage in Edmonton

Francophone Heritage in Edmonton image circuit

Presented by : Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta (CDÉA)

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