Request made to name gym after late teacher

Heather Latter

The Rainy River District School Board is considering naming the new gymnasium at Robert Moore School in memory of Jim Oster.
Oster, who taught there for 29 years and advocated for the school’s initial gym, passed away in March and Terry Ogden, a fellow retired teacher, recently submitted a written request to the board.
“It’s just in recognition of the amount of effort he put in throughout his career for phys. ed. and Robert Moore School,” Ogden explained.
“He was a key person with the Robert Moore phys. ed. program,” he noted.
“When he started teaching, they didn’t have a gym at Robert Moore,” Ogden recalled. “He walked kids down to the Memorial Arena to use the auditorium.”
Ogden said Oster, along with several others, pushed for the building of the first Robert Moore School gym.
“He spent his whole career at Robert Moore, loved phys. ed., and was a key person in the district promoting phys. ed.,” Ogden stressed, adding he feels it’s fitting to name the new gym in his honour.
“Even when they built the new [gym], he was afraid they were going to build it smaller, [so] he got his tape measure out and he knew the size of the old one and he knew the size they were planning,” Ogden recalled.
“The planning committee of the new school increased the size and I think they are happy that they did.
“Even though he was retired, he [Oster] was still looking out for Robert Moore, and looking out for the things he loved and the things that he thought were important for kids, like a nice gymnasium,” noted Ogden, adding he played a little part in the new gym.
After receiving positive feedback from Oster’s family, the principal and vice-principal of Robert Moore School, and the school council, Ogden made the request to the board.
A naming committee was formed at the last board meeting, with Ogden as chair, to seek public consultation on the suggestion.
Education Director Heather Campbell said the committee will be following the policy to complete the process, which includes a 30-day consultation period for the public to offer feedback.
Feedback can be submitted to Campbell at the board’s Education Centre (522 Second St. E., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 1N4) or by fax at 274-5078.
Feedback forms also are available on the board’s website ( and on the Robert Moore School website (
Forms also were sent home with Robert Moore students last week.
“So far, we’ve been receiving quite a bit of feedback,” Campbell noted, which will be shared at the next committee meeting in June.
The board then will look at the feedback and make a decision in September.
“It’s a wonderful thing that they’ve done, nominating Jim for the work he’s done in Robert Moore and the support he showed for Robert Moore for all those years,” said Campbell.
“To honour him now is really quite touching,” she remarked.
Ogden also said some people have made monetary donations, so should the naming be approved, it would not be up to the board to purchase a dedication plaque.