Let us not squander this time
The Editor, The Glengarry SOS (Save Our Schools) Committee would like to thank our Glengarry family, friends and neighbours for banding together to save Glengarry District High School. Congratulations and well done!
The blow came in late September. Summer’s warmth was lingering, but the days were noticeably shorter and children had finally settled into their scholarly roles for another year when the Upper Canada District School Board broke the news -they were looking to close Glengarry District High School. Shock and turmoil followed; the future of the school -- the community, really -- would be decided within months.
True to form, residents of North Glengarry pulled together, put- ting their precious time and hardearned money to the problem. As Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell puts it, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”
When we took stock of what we had taken for granted we realized that the UCDSB simply did not see the value of GDHS and all that its Alexandria location has to offer.
With this, The Glengarry Solution was born. We proposed that, if the school board was looking to consolidate schools, GDHS should be the host. A hub of activity where farm boots and business suits can be found sideby-side at the bank, the dentist, the grocery store, the mill, and so on -- Alexandria uniquely boasts a plethora of amenities, coop/experiential education opportunities, and a bilingual atmosphere all within walking distance of the public high school.
It seemed unfathomable that the UCDSB would not want to offer these advantages to as many students as possible.
In mid-February, the UCDSB released their final recommendations – GDHS was no longer suggested for closure. On March 23 board trustees voted to accept the proposal, and so, GDHS is saved. Thanks to the efforts of the community, students of Glengarry may continue to enjoy the bene- fits that Alexandria has to offer. Be proud of the accomplishment – there are others who were not so successful.
Now that this exercise has helped us to appreciate the rural gem of a town that we have created here in Alexandria, it is important that we continue to develop and grow so that we are never again in danger of losing our schools.
“The North Glengarry community has presented a compelling vision that is seeking to provide innovative opportunities for students, assisted through connections with local services and supports that are readily available in the Town of Alexandria. While the alternatives offered are greatly appreciated and recognized for their potential merit, what has ultimately been clarified through this process is that more time is required to reach a solution for the Glengarry feeder group of schools.” – UCDSB Final Staff Report to Board: Building for the Future Pupil Accommodation Review, February 15, 2017.
North Glengarrians should pat themselves on the back for this hard-won battle. Our reward is time and forewarning – it must not be squandered. Erika Tomsons, Alexandria,
and the Glengarry SOS Committee