Written by Justin Brett
Being an educator is often a job that doesn't receive the respect it deserves. These people evaluate and inspire the next generation, but can end up being overlooked in many ways. To push back against this trend, today's blog post is about an educator who worked to mold the past generation, Gladys McNeice.
Mrs. McNeice was born and raised in the Port Stanley-St. Thomas area, and studied herself first at the Victoria College in Toronto, then the Ontario College of Education. After obtaining her teacher's credentials, McNeice would work in several positions across Ontario, including the Algoma College, before arriving at the Sault. Gladys was a teacher at Sault Collegiate, or Sault College as it's known today, from 1923 to 1969. She specialized in French, German and Modern History, and recalls teaching nearly every period of the day at the beginning of her time there.
This is not to say all Gladys did was serve as a teacher; she also made herself known in the community. In her spare time she was an art enthusiast to the point of serving as president of the Algoma Art Society, and enjoyed recreational activites including canoing and hiking. What is most relevant to this blog however may be her contributions to local history.
Gladys McNeice was a major figure in the Sault St. Marie and 49 Field Regiment RCA Historical Society, serving as its president for three years. She was responsible for many innovations, such as indexing the Museum's collection - in fact, one can find many entries in it today that are credited to her! If you have ever visited the Ermatinger Old Stone House, you also have her to thank for that: originally it was only meant to be a headquarters for the Algoma Art Society, but she decided to make it an accurate representation of how it looked back when it was built. Quite a bit of work and research was done by her to make sure everything was as it ought to be.
For her hard work Gladys was awarded the Outstanding Citizenship Award in 1969, and three years later the Sault Ste. Marie Medal of Merit for Oustanding Achievement in the Cultural Field. She would pass away in 1978, but as this blog has covered she more than made a legacy for herself with her work in the Sault. The Museum is happy to give her a further small honor.