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Delta throwback: Future enrollment in a crystal ball

The school district could barely keep up with the burgeoning population
Fred Gingell (right) receives his prize from Roy Thorstenson.

Let’s head back to January 1970 for the inaugural meeting of the Delta School Board at the Beach Grove Golf Club.

Seen here is District Superintendent Roy Thorstenson (left) paying off bet to School Board Chair Fred Gingell, who wagered on what would be the enrollment at Delta Secondary School that school year.

Thorstenson wagered the enrollment would exceed 1,250 students, but it had reached 1,244.

Gingell was given a crystal ball containing a $5 bill.

Thorstenson said Gingell obviously needed a crystal ball for what Delta’s rising school population might be in the future.

Following the opening of the George Massey Tunnel, Delta experienced tremendous growth in the 1960s and early '70s that was reflected in a burgeoning student population.

Between 1964 and 1971, enrollment had climbed from just over 4,500 to almost 13,000.

In 1971, Gingell said Delta's rapid growth had become a "big problem" for the district, noting enrollment could jump by as many as 2,100 students from one September to the next.

By September of 1975, there were 17,865 students enrolled in the district.