Over sixty years ago, Wawa was a booming iron ore community. With a growing population and the town’s prosperity, the need for a public school in Wawa was apparent. In February of 1950, a new four room school was opened. It was named Sir James Dunn Public School. Within no time, this four room school, in conjunction with two rooms from the old municipal office, were soon bursting at the seams. In 1952, under principal Verne Stetler, five rooms were added to the existing building. Another expansion was completed in 1954 with an additional fifteen classrooms. Around 1955, the Sir James Dunn Public School was once again expanded to eighteen and then twenty rooms.
On April 5, 1974, the school burned to the ground. In co-operation with the Ministry of Education, the new Sir James Dunn Public School was completed for the beginning of classes in September 1975. In the late 70’s one portable was needed and by the early 90’s several other portables were added to house the growing population of students.
Since the closure of Algoma Steel’s iron ore operation, then Weyerhaeuser Forest Products, Wawa has seen a decline in its population which has been reflected in SJD’s enrollment.