Nain School Fights for World Peace

by John Caddy Murphy

In the winter of 1964, our school's illustrious principal, Mr. David Bethel announced that the school would be having a snowball fight. At that time the school was divided into two teams called houses, along the lines of schools in England. One house was Haven House, the Moravian Missionary who the school was later named after, and the other house was Mikak House named after the first Christian convert. The snowball fight was to involve the whole school, and students and teachers marched across the wooden bridge over the stream toward the other side of the harbour under Mount Sophie. The houses were given one half hour to make their forts and snowballs. Large snowballs were rolled by groups of older students and lined up to create secure forts, where the younger children were making snowballs. Even the youngest children worked feverishly with their little hands to make snowballs as fast as possible.

When the half hour was up, Mr. Bethel climbed up on a mound of snow. He took a white handkerchief out of his pocket and reached out with it over the snow. All eyes were watching as it fell to the snow below, and the battle began. Younger children continued to make snowballs, as the older students made daring attacks at each other's forts. It was hard to know which side was winning. Neither side showed any sign of giving up.

While this bedlam was going on, a red Beaver plane appeared in the sky overhead and was circling around. Aboard was Reverend William Peacock who was Superintendent of the Moravian Church in Labrador and under the denominational system of the schools of Newfoundland and Labrador at the time, was also Superintendent of the Moravian schools at Nain and the other communities on the north coast. He must have looked down and seen the battle going on below him.

At a certain time, Mr. Bethel signaled for the war to stop. All the children were told to form a big circle holding hands as a symbol of world peace. It never was clear if this was a last-minute thing when the red plane with Rev. Peacock's suddenly appeared, or was it planned. In whatever case, I think Rev. Peacock would have been very pleased.

All the students of all ages joining hands to form a big circle in the snow was a beautiful sight.

Rev. Peacock had reservations about visiting Nain, as it seemed sometimes he would get held back for days at Nain by the weather. One time he came to Nain after a heavy snowstorm. The plane had skis and would normally land on the ice. This time the snow was too deep, and if the plane came to a stop there was a chance it would not be able to take off again. Rev. Peacock was told he would have to jump off the plane. The pilot went as slow as possible. Rev. Peacock's suitcase was tossed out of the plane onto the snow, and after that Rev. Peacock jumped into the soft snow unharmed. People were waiting with a kamotik and dog team to bring him up to the Moravian Mission House. A cup of hot tea was probably there waiting for him.