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Impact Stories: Leaving a Legacy

Claire Kramer describes herself as a Prairie child. Her love of reading and her education in a one room school led her to establish the Glengarry Book Award in 2021. 

“I was one of those fortunate children who learned to read before I began my formal education. Many of the titles remain with me still: Beautiful Joe, Black Beauty, Little Women, Emily of New Moon, Old Fashioned Girl, and a bundle of others. 

Our home received a daily newspaper, the Regina Leader-Post, and Papa expected the children to read it. I read about the famine in Ethiopia and had no idea what a famine was. 

The school Inspector (always a man) paid a visit once a year. There was a ripple of excitement as we stood to greet the guest. Because I read above my grade level and because I was small in stature, I would be called by the teacher to read. I’m certain the inspector was amused to hear the perfect reading of this diminutive child. 

The teacher would often read to us after lunch and the class looked forward to these glimpses of a different world. Only later did it occur to me that the books shared were probably paid for from her meagre salary. Those were the days of the depression. 

My memories as a student remain vivid. There was a barn with four stalls and in the yard a well for drinking water. The earliest student to arrive would stoke the furnace in the basement and, if it was your turn, heat the milk for cocoa. In the spring we would clean windows and the older boys would dig pits for high jump. The school was a cultural hub, concerts, field days, homemaker clubs, music festivals and occasionally a church service. 

Primitive you say. But that world formed me. Education opened a gate that stretched my imagination and nurtured my curiosity. Later as I travelled, I would visit book sellers in foreign cities and search for titles by Canadian and Saskatchewan writers. 

Nothing can compare to the space of the Prairie, the vast sky stretching down to meet those fields of wheat, flax and canola.

As my children began submitting applications to University, I reflected on my time in the one room school and the number of people who shared my experiences and went on to shape our great nation. Educators, lawyers, politicians, physicians, scientists, the performing, visual and literary artists who engage, enthrall and entertain. 

Realizing a dream to contribute to recognizing and encouraging Saskatchewan authors became a reality in partnership with the Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts. My thanks to them, the juries and the creative story tellers.” 

Claire Kramer describes herself as a Prairie child. Her love of reading and her education in a one room school led her to establish the Glengarry Book Award in 2021. 

“I was one of those fortunate children who learned to read before I began my formal education. Many of the titles remain with me still: Beautiful Joe, Black Beauty, Little Women, Emily of New Moon, Old Fashioned Girl, and a bundle of others. 

Our home received a daily newspaper, the Regina Leader-Post, and Papa expected the children to read it. I read about the famine in Ethiopia and had no idea what a famine was. 

The school Inspector (always a man) paid a visit once a year. There was a ripple of excitement as we stood to greet the guest. Because I read above my grade level and because I was small in stature, I would be called by the teacher to read. I’m certain the inspector was amused to hear the perfect reading of this diminutive child. 

The teacher would often read to us after lunch and the class looked forward to these glimpses of a different world. Only later did it occur to me that the books shared were probably paid for from her meagre salary. Those were the days of the depression. 

Nothing can compare to the space of the Prairie, the vast sky stretching down to meet those fields of wheat, flax and canola.

My memories as a student remain vivid. There was a barn with four stalls and in the yard a well for drinking water. The earliest student to arrive would stoke the furnace in the basement and, if it was your turn, heat the milk for cocoa. In the spring we would clean windows and the older boys would dig pits for high jump. The school was a cultural hub, concerts, field days, homemaker clubs, music festivals and occasionally a church service. 

Primitive you say. But that world formed me. Education opened a gate that stretched my imagination and nurtured my curiosity. Later as I travelled, I would visit book sellers in foreign cities and search for titles by Canadian and Saskatchewan writers. 

As my children began submitting applications to University, I reflected on my time in the one room school and the number of people who shared my experiences and went on to shape our great nation. Educators, lawyers, politicians, physicians, scientists, the performing, visual and literary artists who engage, enthrall and entertain. 

Realizing a dream to contribute to recognizing and encouraging Saskatchewan authors became a reality in partnership with the Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts. My thanks to them, the juries and the creative story tellers.” 

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