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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Differences in experiences, aspirations and life chances between east side and west side Vancouver secondary graduates at mid-century Nicol, Janet Mary


A history of growing up in Vancouver in the 1950s was constructed by interviewing eight former students of Vancouver Technical Secondary School in a working class neighborhood on the city's east side, and eight from Magee Secondary School in a middle class neighborhood on the west side. All 16 graduated from grade 12 in 1955. They responded to a general mailing obtained from reunion address lists. In their interviews, they discussed both their lives as adolescents and their life paths since graduation. The study reveals social class differences, in students' aspirations, their treatment in school and in their school-to-work transitions. Although post-war Vancouver's educational system provided composite schooling— vocational, commercial and academic training--in a l l neighborhoods, a class structure persisted. The study looks at the factors shaping these circumstances, including the social and political.landscape of the fifties, youths' perceptions of social class, part-time.employment and leisure activities. The study concludes by examining the role schools played in developing and reinforcing social class and gender roles.

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