Classification scheme: 

Title: Rockway Mennonite School fonds

Dates of Creation: 1943-2004, predominant 1945-1975

Physical Description:  2.6 m of textual records; 1 optical disc

Administrative History: The Mennonite Conference of Ontario established Rockway Mennonite School in 1945, although discussions of a Mennonite secondary school in Ontario began in the 1920s. The new school recognized the greater need for secondary education as Mennonite young entered more professions and sought to provide greater skills (such as nursing and teaching) to mission and service opportunities. At the same time the school intended to protect Mennonite students from the patriotism of post-war public secondary schools, as well as some teachings then found questionable, like evolution and physical education.

Rockway expanded its facilities multiple times in the 1950s and 1960s, but also encountered increasing financial problems. This led to consideration in the late 1960s and early 1970s of closing the school. This era included a controversial “participatory model” of education that included students in the planning for the school, but also alienated some former supporters of the school.

In 1971 the Mennonite Conference of Ontario turned operation of the school over to an association of primarily Mennonite members. The conference retained ownership of the property, but did not charge rent. The coming of Bill Kruger as principal soon after the association took over brought years of stability and growth to the school. The 1970s also saw the entry of an increasing number of international students attending Rockway in order to earn Canadian credits in preparation for university.

Rockway added grade 13 in 1980 and changed its name to Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. In 1986 it added grades 7 and 8 to the curriculum.  

Custodial History: The first records were donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario (MAO), when the Archives was still located at Rockway Mennonite School in the 1960s. The largest quantity of records were donated in the early 1990s during Sam Steiner’s research on Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in preparation for his 50th anniversary history, Lead us on: a history of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, 1945-1995. Small accruals have come from the Collegiate at various times.

Scope and content: The fonds includes primary and secondary board, administration, faculty and student committee records for the period in which Rockway Mennonite School was directly owned by the Mennonite Conference of Ontario (1945-1971).  Some records from the transition years of the early 1970s, and print records of the school after 1971 are also included. The formal administrative records from the “Association” era (1971-present) are retained at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate.

The fonds includes twelve series: 1) Pre-1945 records related to formation of RMS; 2) Constitutions and bylaws; 3) Board minutes and correspondence; 4) Education Planning Committee; 5) Building programs, including fund drive data; 6) Administrative reports and correspondence, including financial records; 7) Faculty minutes, correspondence and curriculum materials; 8) Student committees and publications; 9) Alumni; 10) Women’s Association; 11) Fiftieth Anniversary History book project; and 12) Publications, Programs and Miscellaneous.

Notes: For Rockway Mennonite School / Rockway Mennonite Collegiate student yearbooks (Lighhouse), alumni publications and official history (Steiner, Lead us on…), search the Milton Good Library.
Photographs related to Rockway Mennonite School can be found in the Mennonite Archival Image Database.
Oral interviews related to the Fiftieth Anniversary history project can be found at Hist.Mss. 22.8.
Personnel records from 1945-1971 were withdrawn and returned to Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. Duplicate materials already held in the Milton Good library or Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec fonds in the Archives were also withdrawn.
Original description created in August 2017 by Sam Steiner.

File List:

Series 1: Pre-1945 Records

  1. High School Committee minutes, 1944-1947
  2. High School Committee correspondence, 1943-1944
  3. Administration Committee, 1947
  4. Administration & Faculty minutes, 1945-1946

Note: For addition information on the creation of Rockway Mennonite School, also consult the records of the Mennonite Conference of Ontario from the late 1930s and 1940s. The High School Committee served as the oversight board of Rockway Mennonite School, 1945-June 1947.

Series 2: Constitutions and Bylaws

  1. [19--], 1951, 1963, 1968, 1971
    Note: Early undated drafts are pre-1945, as they refer to the “Ontario Mennonite Bible and High School Board.” Beginning in 1971 the bylaws are for the Rockway Mennonite School Association.

Series 3: Board minutes and correspondence, 1945-1971

  1. Minutes (Rockway Mennonite School)
    Board and Executive, 1947-1971 (incomplete)
    Note: 1967 and following include administrative reports and other documents circulated to the board.
  2. Correspondence, 1947-1971
    Inter-School Conference correspondence, 1962/63 (Includes Niagara Christian College, Eden Christian College and the United Mennonite Educational Institute)
  3. Curriculum Committee, 1966
  4. Property Committee, 1945-1948
  5. Personnel Committee
    Faculty hiring qualification questionnaire, principal's job description, [19--]
    1952, 1969-1971
  6. Finance Committee, [19--], 1948, 1954, 1966-1968
  7. Rockway School and [Rockway] Mennonite Church Committee
    1962-1969, 1979-1980
  8. Student Aid, [195-]
  9. Clayton L. Swartzentruber/John W. Snyder relationship
    Note: File consists of Rufus Jutzi's notes regarding conflict between Clayton Swartzentruber, Rockway Schools superintendent and John Snyder, Rockway Mennonite Church pastor, 1968
  10. National Association of Christian Schools (Evangelical) and National Union of Christian Schools (Christian Reformed) publications
  11. Student Recruitment Committee, 1971-1972
  12. “Plebiscite” results re: future of Rockway, 1968
    Note: Includes tabulated statistical results by congregation

Series 4: Rockway Mennonite School Association and Board

Note: Includes the Educational Planning Committee/Criteria Study Committee that preceded and planned for the Association

  1. Education Planning Committee, 1967, 1969-1971
  2. Spring and Fall Association meeting reports, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995
    Interim board documents, 1971
    Board Minutes, 1971-1972 (incomplete), 1984-1989
  3. Association Affairs Committee
    1971, 1973, 1978, 1981, 1988-1991 (incomplete)
  4. Personnel Committee, 1971-1972
  5. Program Committee, 1971-1973
  6. Administration and Finance Committee/ Business and Finance Committee, 1972, 1981
  7. Facility Management Committee, 1981, 1983, 1986 (incomplete)
    Note: This committee included representatives of Rockway Collegiate, the Rockway Church, and the Conference
  8. Site Planning Committee, 1976-1978
  9. Procedural Guidelines and related documents, 1973, 1981, 1986-1988
  10. Membership lists/Directories, [19--], 1971, 1977/78, 1985
  11. Study Documents
    • “Report of Rockway Criteria Study Committee,” 11 Dec 1969
    • “Towards determining the feasibility of an Independently Supported Secondary School in the Mennonite Community” by Laurence Martin, John W. Miller, Gerald Musselman, Carl Zehr, 10 Sept 1970
    • “Purpose and Objectives of Rockway Mennonite High School, and Independent School” by John W. Miller, Gerald Musselman, Laurence Martin, Carl Zehr, [19--]
  12. Participatory model documents, [between 1970 and 1975]
  13. Documents related to government funding of private schools in Ontario, 1984-1986
  14. Salary Committee, 1989-90

Series 5: Finance and Building Programs

  1. Correspondence, 1966-1968
  2. Cash Book, capital expenses and donations, 1945-1949
  3. Cash books, operating, 1947-1955
  4. Accounts Book, 1945-1954
  5. Building Fund Cash book, 1948-1960
  6. Building Fund Solicitor’s reports, [195-]
  7. Building Fund Pledge reports by congregation, 1953-1954
  8. Solicitation materials, 1949-1953
    Minutes, 1949
    Correspondence, promotional literature, 1953-1959
  9. Building-related correspondence with architect, etc., 1958-1960
  10. Building specifications
    1954 (classrooms)
    1967 (gym)
    1967 (kitchen)
  11. Steering Committee (Fundraising – debt and gym)
    1966-1969, including documents related to fund drive, 1968
  12. Capital Loan Application, 1967
  13. Building Committee minutes, 1978-1980
  14. Fund Drive documents, 1978-1979
  15. Building invoices, 1978-1981
  16. Long Range Planning, 1985-1988
  17. Insurance policies and correspondence, 1957-1971, predominant 1968-1971

Series 6: Administrative records, including school financial records

  1. Correspondence, 1945-1971
    Form letters to parents, 1968-1970, 1981-1983
    Form letters to pastors, 1967-1971
  2. Ontario Department of Education, 1969-1972
  3. Youth Census, 1971
    Note: A survey of youth in the Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Western Ontario Mennonite Conference
  4. Correspondence, Association era
    1970- (includes early correspondence on formation of Association)
    1971-1972 (transition to Bill Kruger)
  5. Christian Reformed recruitment, 1971-1972
  6. All-School Retreats, 1967, 1968, 1976-1978
  7. Extra-curricular activities policy, 1970
  8. Lunchroom monitors list, 1970/71
  9. Library regulations, 1973/74
  10. Summer Music school, 1969-1971
  11. Rules/regulations and student handbooks
    undated, 1947, [1961?], 1962-1967, 1982, 1990/91, 2007/2008
  12. Student lists, 1972/73, 1975/76, 1982/83
  13. School Calendar (information, course listings, etc.)
    1949/50, 1954/55-1960/61, 1961-1962, 1963/64-1965/66, 1967/68, 1973/74-1976/77, 1979-80-1981/82, 1983/84, 1987/88-1991/92, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1997/98-1998/99, 2000/01, 2003/04
  14. Self-Study documents, 1979/80
  15. Initiating Grade 7/8 planning documents and minutes, 1981-1985, 1988
  16. Student Aid Fund documents, 1982-83
  17. Grade 7 and 8 Day schedules and documents, 1981-1986
  18. Senior Choir trip to Carnegie Hall, New York City, 1988/89
  19. Discussions with Central District Ministerial of Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec, 1980-1983
  20. Rockway Tennis Club, 1980
  21. Mennonite Bicentennial activities, 1985-1987
    Note: includes choir trip to western Canada

Series 7: Faculty

  1. Faculty/Staff Minutes, 1963-1985 (incomplete)
  2. Courses – Religious Knowledge
    Correspondence and curriculum materials, 1970-1972
  3. Courses - Botany
    David L. Newlands, Topics in High School Botany, Kitchener: Rockway Mennonite School, 1963. (mimeographed text)
  4. Courses – General curriculum
    Schedules, examples from various courses, [195-]
  5. Courses – Music
    1969-1971 (includes early music festival planning)

Series 8: Student organizations, committees and publications

  1. Student Council/Student Parliament minutes and other records
    1945, 1964-1969, 1968-1973 (includes constitution, work day information), 1981-1983
  2. Literary societies (Aurora and Alathian)
    1948-1951, 1952-1956 (includes constitutions, [19--], 1948)
  3. Devotional committee, 1948-1951, 1951-1953, 1953-1959
  4. Student Play
    “Marshmellow Peppermint,” 1968/69?
  5. Senior Skip, 1978
  6. Classroom Echoes (student publication), 1945-1947
  7. Rockway Ramblings (called The Observer in 1952/53)
    1952-1960, October 1967, October 1969-1972, Feb. 1974
  8. Rockway School publication by Students in support Rockway Rocks fundraising campaign in 1970/71
  9. Valedictory addresses
    1955 (authors not identified)

Series 9: Alumni

  1. Alumni Association constitution, [19--], 1951
  2. Executive minutes, 1951-1959, 1959-1970
  3. Correspondence, 1956-1962
  4. Alumni Frontiers, 1958, 1962-1965, 1967
  5. Questionnaire sent to Alumni seeking evaluation of school, [1965?]

Series 10: Women’s Association

Note: The Women’s Committee of the Association ran a Thrift Shop on King Street East in Kitchener for many years to raise money for Rockway. There was also a catering committee, and they sponsored the Festival of the Arts. There was an earlier Women’s Auxiliary.

  1. Minutes and annual meeting, 1976-1978, 1981, Sept. 1984, 1988-1990
  2. Bake Sale and Catering Committee, 1973-1975
  3. Women’s Auxiliary correspondence, etc., 1954-1956
  4. Fine Arts Festival, 1968-1969, 1974, 1976-1981

Series 11: Fiftieth anniversary history book project

  1. Correspondence, 1988-1995
  2. Interview letters and transcripts (not done by Sam Steiner)
  3. Copies of clippings and documents
    Note: Includes “The story of Rockway Mennonite School, 1945-1970” by Salome Bauman; “The birth of Rockway Mennonite School” by Ferne Burkhardt, 1982; Forty years of Christian Secondary Education: Rockway Mennonite Collegiate 1945-1985 (list of board members and students)
  4. Questionnaires sent to past/current parents of students
  5. Questionnaires sent to members of community
  6. Questionnaires sent to past board members
  7. Questionnaires sent to past/current staff
  8. Questionnaires sent to past/current faculty
  9. Questionnaires sent to students (1940s)
  10. Questionnaires sent to students (early 1950s)
  11. Questionnaires sent to students (late 1950s)
  12. Questionnaires sent to students (early/mid 1960s)
  13. Questionnaires sent to students (late 1960s/early 1970s)
  14. Questionnaires sent to students (1970s)
  15. Questionnaires sent to students (1980s)
  16. Twenty-fifth anniversary correspondence and documents, 1970

Series 12: Publications, programs and miscellaneous

  1. Rockway Mennonite School Bulletin, April 1962
  2. Relating to Rockway, Dec 1967-Mar 1969
  3. Rockway Mennonite School Association newsletter, Oct 1971-Nov 1971
  4. Facing the Crucial Challenge (Fund drive, 1968/1969)
  5. Program and Development of Rockway Mennonite High School, 1958
  6. Publicity brochures, 1945-1975
  7. Programs, [194-]-[199-]
    Note: Includes choral performances, plays, graduation exercises, building dedications, etc.
  8. Clippings
  9. Blank Forms, [195-?]
    Student application
    Report card
  10. Photograph album by Dorothy Shantz, 1946-1947


The Archives is accessible by appointment only. Please do not visit or bring in donations unannounced.


Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238