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In 1922, the Fenwick Public School Board set up a Continuation School Class in the old Fenwick Public school with seven high school age students attending. By 1926, the number of high school students had increased and plans were made to build the Pelham Continuation School at the corner of Canboro Road and Balfour St. By 1932, Mr. Edward Lewis Crossley became principal. Pelham Continuation School was renamed Pelham District High School in 1949 and Mr. Crossley remained Principal. In 1958, the Board felt a new high school was needed and Thorold-Fonthill High School was built at the corner of Port Robinson Road and South Pelham. This school reached capacity quickly and by the early 1960s the Board was faced with the need to build yet another High School. At the same time, the Ministry of Education was creating grants to fund vocational education. The Pelham District School Board applied for a grant to fully fund the construction of a new school designed to meet the vocational needs of students in Pelham. They determined to name the school after Edward Lewis Crossley, who was still Principal of Pelham District High School and served as Superintendent on the Board.

E.L. Crossley Secondary School opened its doors to 600 students on September 3rd, 1963. Mr. A. E. Bridgeman was appointed Principal, Mr. J.J. Krar was Technical Director and Miss Shirley Speck was Commercial Director. Under the “Robarts Plan”, secondary schools in Ontario could offer a variety of programs in three main branches. Within the Pelham High School District, the high schools at Fenwick and Fonthill provided courses in the Arts and Science branch so E.L. Crossley offered courses in the Business and Commerce, and Science, Technology and Trades branches.

After a few years, and with an addition to the building, E.L. Crossley became a fully composite school. With the eventual closure of Pelham High School and Thorold-Fonthill High School,. E.L. Crossley Secondary School became the only Public High school serving the needs of students in the Pelham and Wainfleet communities. Its population would grow in time to be just over 1000 students prior to the ending of the five year diploma. Since then the population has balanced out just under 900 students.

Over the years, E.L. Crossley has been known as a Vocational school, a Composite school, a Centre for the Arts and an International Baccalaureate School. All of these changes have been put forward by staff, as they adjust programs to meet the changing needs of their students. Throughout the years though, the school has been consistent in working with the students and the parent community to:

Embrace Excellence
Love Learning
Create Community
Strive to Serve and
Succeed Together